Detoxing is the process by which you rid the body of certain substances and essentially “flush it out.” You might know someone who did a juice cleanse or you, yourself, might have even tried one. That is a form of detoxing. Detoxing can be a great way to kind of hit the reset button and feel healthier. Detox is also an essential process when it comes to addiction treatment. In fact, one could argue it is the most essential process since without detoxing the treatment process can’t really begin.
You have to have all traces of illicit substances out of your body before it can truly begin to heal and recover. The question is though, how long does it take to detox? Well, that can be a tricky question to answer and one that is based on a variety of different factors. Let’s take a look at how long it takes to detox, some of the symptoms and side effects associated with detoxing, as well as how long you can expect your stay to last if you enter into a detox facility.
Can I Detox On My Own?
As we mentioned above, the detox process consists of detoxing the body of any and all harmful substances as well as managing the withdrawal symptoms that occur during the detox process. Due to the nature of detoxing and the potential severity of some of these withdrawal symptoms, it is crucial that detoxing be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals. This can be done at either a local medical facility, a treatment facility that also offers detox treatment, or a dedicated detox facility like Coastal Detox.
It is important to remember that, as much as you might want to, detoxing should not be attempted on your own. Attempting to self-detox can be incredibly dangerous and, in some cases, even life-threatening. Even if you don’t experience any significant health-related problems as a result of detoxing, attempting to do so on your own increases the risk that you start using again as a way to get rid of some of the more unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which then requires you to start the process all over again.
How Long Does It Take To Detox Your Body?
The length of time in which your body needs to fully detox can take anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on a variety of factors. While a substance like alcohol might be completely gone from the body in a manner of days, the lasting effects of the alcohol might take a lot longer to get rid of. Some of the other factors that play a role in determining just how long it will take to detox include:
- The type of substance abused
- The number of substances abused
- The person’s age
- The person’s gender
- The person’s medical history
- Whether or not they also suffer from a mental health condition as well (co-occurring disorder)
- How much of the substance or substances are in the system
- How often substances were abused
- How severe the substance abuse or addiction is
How Long Will I Have To Be In Detox For?
Since the whole point of a detox treatment program is to help make the withdrawal process more comfortable, the amount of time you spend in detox is directly related to how your body reacts to detoxing. The average detox program tends to last a week. However, some people might need more or less time based on the severity of their withdrawal symptoms and how they react to treatment. It’s also important to remember that while detox is the crucial first step in the overall recovery process, it is only a step, and detoxing does not take the place of addiction treatment.
Does the Length of Detox Vary Based on the Substance?
Since different substances stay in the body for different periods of time, one of the biggest factors when determining how long you will need to detox is what substance or substances you have abused. As we mentioned, the average detox time is five to seven days. However, based on the severity of the withdrawal symptoms and how your body reacts to them, the time frame can vary. Let’s take a look at the time frame for detoxing for some of the more common substances or abuse as well as some of the withdrawal symptoms to can expect to experience.
When detoxing from opioids, withdrawal symptoms will begin to set in in as little as 24 hours. The faster acting the opioid is, the quicker the withdrawal symptoms will begin to set in. For example, people who take heroin will begin to experience these symptoms in as little as just a few hours. Within the first one to two days, you can expect to suffer from things like muscle pain and weakness, insomnia, anxiety, sweating, and frequent yawning.
From there, symptoms start to get worse. Within the first three to five days, common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, blurred vision, and rapid heart rate. After about a week symptoms begin to fade, but you can still expect to experience things like dehydration and loss of appetite. In some extreme cases, people have even reported suffering from seizures. Some symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, and irritability have been reported as much as six months after stopping taking heroin.
For someone who is suffering from alcohol abuse or addiction, you can expect early withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and uncontrolled shaking within the first 24 to 48 hours after your last drink. From there, symptoms begin to peak at around the 72-hour mark where you might begin to experience hallucinations, a fever, and in some extreme cases even seizures.
These withdrawal symptoms typically last up to a week before they begin to taper off. While you may not experience any long-term effects, you might experience cravings well after detox has been completed, which can be addressed during addiction treatment.
Depending on the hallucinogen, your withdrawal symptoms may vary. That being said, within the first day or two, you can expect to experience things like cravings, sweating, and headaches. The good news is, withdrawal symptoms tend to dissipate quickly, with most of the severe ones being gone within the first week of detox. However, you may continue to experience mood swings for an extended period of time due to the changes in the brain’s dopamine reward system as a result of the hallucinogens.
Within the first 24-48 hours after last taking benzos, you can expect to experience things like headaches, muscle pain, nausea, and irritability. Depending on the amount of benzos taken and the strength, these symptoms can last as long as seven days. During this time you might also begin to experience things like heart palpitations, dry heaving, uncontrolled shaking, and anxiety. This more severe stage of withdrawal can last as long as two weeks and can lead to weight loss, difficulty concentrating, and even having trouble sleeping.
The initial crash that someone might experience coming off of stimulants can result in fatigue, body aches, an altered mood, and irritability. Stimulant abuse can also lead to brain damage which can result in the development of psychotic symptoms as well, typically seen during the first three to five days after detox has begun. Symptoms can intensify over the coming days resulting in things like depression, intense cravings, erratic sleep patterns, and poor concentration. While some symptoms may begin to fade after the first week, the strongest symptoms can last for months after detox has been completed.
How Long Does It Take To Detox?
As you can see, the length of time it takes for a person to detox, in addition to the withdrawal symptoms that they might experience can vary greatly based on the substance or substances that they abuse and the way their body reacts to the detox process. Once detoxing has finished, then treatment for substance abuse and addiction can begin. Without first going through the detox process, though, the body can not begin to heal, and treatment can not begin.
At Coastal Detox, we understand the importance and significance of the detox process, which is why we have dedicated ourselves and our practice solely to detoxing and the detox process. It is our goal to make the overalls detox process as comfortable as possible for every person that comes to see us and then work with them to find a treatment facility that works best for them and their needs. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction and is looking for a safe environment to detox before entering treatment, give us a call today.