How Long Does Withdrawal Last?

After a period of consistent drug abuse, overcoming an addiction means completing a detox program, which often leads to symptoms of withdrawal.

Although experiencing withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be unpleasant, withdrawing from drugs is the first step in recovery. As your brain and body will have adjusted to the use of drugs or alcohol, they will need to readjust as you begin to withdraw.

The first stage of withdrawal is known as acute withdrawal, which begins within the first day or two after you stop taking drugs or alcohol. But how long does withdrawal last? Read on to find out.

Opioid Withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal can be one of the most challenging withdrawals to complete. Withdrawal symptoms can arise relatively quickly when you stop using opioids and start the detox process. However, the exact amount of time withdrawal takes depends on factors such as the opioids being used and the length of time they were used for.

For example, someone who has been taking codeine for a short period may experience relatively mild withdrawal symptoms 24 to 36 hours after cessation. At the other end of the spectrum, a person who has been taking fentanyl, which is a very potent and short-acting opioid, for a prolonged time is likely to experience withdrawal symptoms that come on quicker and are much more substantial.

The acute withdrawal period for opioids typically peaks at 48 hours, with most entirely alleviating after five days. In some instances, psychological symptoms may linger for a little longer.

Withdrawal symptoms for opioids typically include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Joint pain
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Excessive sweating
  • Inability to regulate temperature
  • Extreme cravings
  • Flu-like symptoms

When completing opioid withdrawal, there are a number of different medicines that can be used to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. Two of the most effective for withdrawal management are methadone and Subutex (buprenorphine). These work on opioid receptors in the brain and are both long-acting opioids, meaning that you do not get the same high as when using other opioids.

Methadone and Subutex are both controlled substances that can be dangerous when misused. For this reason, they must be only used under medical supervision, for example, as part of the detoxification process at a medical detox program.

Cocaine and Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

Withdrawal effects from cocaine and crack usually arise quickly after the last use. Withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings, are not as severe as those that may surface when detoxing from opioids. Still, without medical support, they can be challenging.

Cocaine and crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Slow thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Restlessness
  • Anhedonia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Drug cravings

The symptoms of withdrawal associated with cocaine and crack cocaine can last between a few days and a week.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can involve a host of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. As benzodiazepines are often used to combat anxiety, cessation of use can increase anxiety and panic attacks. Insomnia is also frequently experienced, as is high blood pressure.

Benzodiazepines are one of the few classes of drugs that, besides giving people unpleasant symptoms, can be life-threatening. This is due to the increased risk of seizures when quitting benzodiazepines. For this reason, it is best to complete benzodiazepine withdrawal within a rehab center, where support is available at all times.

The onset of withdrawal depends on how long benzodiazepines are used, but it generally begins within a day or two. Unlike other drugs, benzodiazepines tend to have a protracted withdrawal of 10 to 14 days.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal usually starts within a day of stopping drinking. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Shaky hands
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Restless leg syndrome

Alcohol withdrawal is particularly dangerous, as extreme alcohol withdrawal can cause DTs to surface.  These happen in about 5% of alcohol withdrawal cases and are usually followed by hallucinations and seizures.

When it comes to detoxing from alcohol, it is important that you detox in an environment where you are supported by trained professionals who can monitor your condition and provide you with medicines that can ease the process if needed.

Crystal Meth Withdrawal

Like other withdrawal symptoms, crystal meth withdrawal symptoms start within 24 hours and usually ease within one week. During this period, your ability to function may decrease.

Often, people spend this time sleeping and eating. While the acute withdrawal stage of crystal meth is not as challenging to get through as with opioids, it has a protracted post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) timeline that can last as long as two years in some cases.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome – More Symptoms of Withdrawal

PAWS are the withdrawal symptoms that continue after acute withdrawal ends. While you are not likely to experience symptoms as extreme as acute withdrawal symptoms, PAWS symptoms can still be unpleasant.

PAWS depends on the severity of drug abuse, the drug used, the amount used, and the length of time used. However, the withdrawal timeline for PAWS varies from a few months to two years, with symptoms including:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Low energy
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Lack of libido
  • Chronic pain

These symptoms are also dependent on the level of stress that a person is under. For example, if you experience a substantial amount of stress during the withdrawal process, symptoms may be more severe. This is why it is important to minimize stress levels during the early stages of recovery.

Reducing Withdrawal Symptoms

To help you manage any severe symptoms, it may be in your best interest to seek support and implement a strategy to help you reduce and ease symptoms. Perhaps the most important aspect of this is having emotional support. This might be from friends and family who know you and will be able to offer their advice. Sometimes, though, you may have fallen out with these people, or you may believe that they cannot relate to what you have been through.

If this is the case, attending support groups can be a great place to express yourself while receiving guidance from people who know what you are going through. Attending support groups will also provide you with emotional guidance when you are not feeling at your best.

Reducing stress also means not taking on too much in early recovery. This involves setting clear boundaries with the people around you about what you can and cannot do. If you have toxic people in your life, it might be a good time to cut them off.

If you find yourself tending to work until you feel like you are nearing burnout, you can use early recovery to look at the reasons why you do this. You may find that you are working to distract yourself from complex thoughts and emotions. Ultimately, though, this will lead to increased stress.

Conclusion

Drug withdrawal is often considered the most challenging part of getting sober. It may feel like it goes on forever, but the reality is, when you are experiencing drug withdrawal symptoms, the worst is over in a few days.

Going through the withdrawal process is challenging at the best of times, and it is made even harder when you try to do it by yourself. Yet, in a supportive environment, such as our drug rehab, you will find that you are safe and comfortable.

If you would like to find out more about withdrawal or substance abuse treatment, please contact us today.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team

RELATED ARTICLES

A person suffering from anxiety disorder because they never found out the answer to the question: "what is an anxiety disorder"
Mental Health

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

And do I have an anxiety disorder? Sweaty palms. Rapid breath. Racing heartbeat. A feeling like you can’t get enough breath? Like the walls are

Read More »

Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner

Facilitator

As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns

Clinician

Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
 
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine