How Long Does It Take to Detox?

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on February 22, 2021.

Detoxification is often one of the first steps on the road to recovery from addiction. When you commit to a detox, you take time to clear abused substances from your system and manage withdrawal symptoms.

On average, the detox process takes about a week, but the length of yours can vary widely based on several factors — including the types of substances used, the duration of the abuse and substance quantities. Your personal medical history and age can also have an effect.

The Detox Process by Substance

The types of substances abused will greatly affect how long the detox process takes.


Detox from alcohol abuse begins within 24 hours. You may initially become anxious and experience insomnia and trembling. Your withdrawal symptoms may peak in three to five days, including seizures, fever, hallucinations and delirium tremens.

Physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal generally begin to diminish after the first week of detox.

Barbituates and Sleeping Pills

Withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, shaking and circulation problems begin within hours of beginning the detox process.

Depending on the extent and dosage of the abuse, symptoms could peak within a few days or may not begin until a week or more after stopping use.


Individuals detoxing from benzodiazepines may experience early symptoms like irritability, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Over the course of the first week, your symptoms could also include anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, weight loss, difficulty concentrating and heart palpitations.

Withdrawal symptoms may be severe and could last as long as 14 days for heavy users.


The duration of detox from hallucinogens varies depending on which substance you've used. Early withdrawal symptoms could include headaches, cravings and excessive sweating. Most symptoms peak and taper off within a week.

Opioids and Heroin

Detoxing from opioids produces symptoms similar to the flu, including muscle aches, a runny nose, gastrointestinal discomfort, and rapid heart rates. These symptoms peak within the first week of detox and taper off.

While the most severe withdrawal symptoms may subside after a week, extensive abusers may experience insomnia, irritability, anxiety or depression for several months.


Detox from stimulants like cocaine and meth involves an initial crash followed by withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include muscle aches and lethargy or psychological symptoms like altered moods, depression and psychosis.

After the first week of detox, most symptoms should start to subside.

Medically Assisted Detox Programs

Detoxification is important to your recovery, but stopping use suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms that are uncomfortable or even deadly without proper medical intervention. Enrollment in a medically supervised detox program is recommended to manage withdrawal symptoms safely and effectively.

Individuals in medically assisted detox programs are monitored by medical professionals. Your treatment plan may include medications to help mitigate withdrawal symptoms and make the detox process more comfortable.

Contact Diamond House Detox to Begin Your Recovery Process

At Diamond House Detox, we know that detoxification can be an intimidating process. Our team of medical professionals and addiction treatment experts are dedicated to making you as comfortable as possible while you take on this initial phase of recovery.

If you're struggling with addiction, let us help. Contact us today to start the process of detox and recovery.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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