How Long Does a Drug Detox Program Last?

When you take substances, whether prescribed or for recreation, there is a goal effect. After taking the same dose for a certain period of time, your body gets used to it and does not produce the same goal effect. This is when more of the substance is needed, which usually leads to abusing whatever the substance is usually resulting in dependence or addiction. Your body is now used to certain amounts of the drug for it to function, and if the body does not receive the routine amount, you will go into withdrawal.

Different drugs, depending on the type, the way they were used, and how much they were used, can create different withdrawal symptoms and have different lengths of times they occur. Usually, going through withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and, depending on the drug, dangerous to your health. This is when a detox program, most likely medical detox, is needed and should be the first step into getting out of your addiction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), medical detoxification safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. However, medical detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug use. Although detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, for some individuals, it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective drug addiction treatment.

How long does a drug detox program last

Average Length of Drug Detox

When entering into a drug detox program, there is really no definite answer as to how long you will be there. Detoxing from all drugs and alcohol is clearing the body of the chemicals and managing the withdrawal symptoms that come with it. Like mentioned before there are many factors to determine your length of stay:

  • Which drug was being used
  • If a mix of different drugs where being used
  • How often you use the drugs
  • How much of the substance the user took
  • The presence of underlying co-occurring mental health conditions
  • The user’s medical history
  • The user’s age
  • The user’s gender

Detox programs are usually 3, 5, or 7 days long, but nothing is for certain. Here is a list of different substances, their withdrawal symptoms and the length it takes to leave your body:


First 24 hours – 2 days -Withdrawal symptoms begin, such as anxiety, insomnia, and shaking.

3 – 5 days – Symptoms peak within 72 hours. Seizures, fever, and hallucinations may occur.

The first week – Physical symptoms of withdrawal start subsiding.

After the first week – cravings that can be managed with treatment

Barbiturates, Sleeping pills

First 24 hours – 2 days -Some symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, shaking, or circulation problems may begin within hours.

3 – 5 days – Depending on the strength of the dose and severity of abuse, symptoms may peak after the first few days.

The first week – for some, withdrawal symptoms may be delayed, beginning a week or more after the last dose.

After the first week – insomnia worsens and may need to be treated


The first 24 hours – 2 days -Irritability, nausea, headache, and muscle pain are early symptoms.

3 – 5 days – Depending on the strength of the dose, peak symptoms may include anxiety, irritability, shaking, restlessness, and palpitations.

The first week – insomnia  

After the first week – Severe withdrawal may last 10 to 14 days and include some weight loss, difficulty concentrating, and changes in perceptual abilities.


First 24 hours – 2 days -Staying hydrated, eating healthy foods, and exercising can ease initial symptoms of withdrawal.

3 – 5 days – Withdrawal symptoms include mood changes, reduced appetite, headaches, insomnia, and stomach problems.

The first week – Mental symptoms like irritability, loss of focus, drug cravings, and increased feelings of depression may occur.

mood until natural levels returns to normal.

After the first week – Most symptoms should abate after the body resumes normal production of its own THC.

Opioids, Heroin

First 24 hours – 2 days -Withdrawal depends on how fast-acting the opioid is. Heroin withdrawal may begin after a few hours and include muscle pain, anxiety, teary eyes, runny nose, sweating, insomnia, and frequent yawning.

3 – 5 days – Peak of symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, goosebumps, blurry vision, and rapid heart rate.

The first week – Symptoms taper off but may still experience digestive issues, loss of appetite, dehydration, or seizures.

After the first week – For severe addictions, insomnia, irritability, cravings, sweating, anxiety, and depression may persist for 6 or more months.

Stimulants (Cocaine, Meth)

First 24 hours – 2 days -Initial withdrawal “crash” may include fatigue, body aches, irritability, and altered mood.

3 – 5 days – Brain damage caused by drug abuse may lead to depressive or psychotic symptoms.

The first week – Lethargy, erratic sleep, intense drug cravings, depression, and poor concentration may continue.

After the first week – Drug cravings are the most persistent symptoms of stimulant withdrawal and may continue for months.

If you or someone you love has a substance abuse problem, the detox center at Allure is here to help. We deliver safe, compassionate, and highly individualized care on a medical basis. The fact that we detox patients on a medical basis allows us to give patients more than safety. Clients continue to live in a home-like setting with family support during medical detox at Allure. This continued participation allows clients to learn and resume their lives, even as the substance leaves their system. Call today to start your life on the road to recovery today.