After months or years of drug or alcohol abuse, the drug user can anticipate it taking them a long time to recover from their addiction. That includes the time it’s going to take their body and mind to relearn how to function without interference from a substance. Experts call this the detox process.
Before we start discussing how long a drug detox takes, we want to tell you a little bit about the process. The process starts within hours of the addict’s last dose or drink. As the process takes hold, the addiction sufferer will start experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
The extent and kinds of withdrawal symptoms someone might encounter depends on several factors, including:
- The length of time the drug abuse has been taking place
- The type of substance or substances the addict is abusing
- The amount the addict is using each time
- The frequency of the user’s drug abuse
If you are wondering how bad withdrawal symptoms can get, you might be in for a surprise. Some withdrawal symptoms can be like threatening. Yes, that means going through withdrawal has the potential of being just as dangerous as abusing drugs. Unfortunately, avoiding withdrawal is a common reason why some addicts refuse to stop using.
As a point of reference, we thought it would be a good idea to list out some of the withdrawal symptoms a heroin addict might face. We are well aware that heroin addiction is at the extreme end of the spectrum. However, we want to provide this list to make a point about danger:
- Problems with high blood pressure and fast heart rate
- Difficulty with normal breathing
- Inability to control one’s thoughts or actions
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Severe muscle cramps, convulsions, and tremors in the extremities
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Nightmares that interrupt sleep
- Depression and anxiety
Now that you have some understanding about the detox process, we can move on and discuss the time a drug detox takes.
How long will a drug detox take?
As we stated above, the detox process will start within hours of the addiction sufferer’s last drug-using sessions. During the first 24 hours, the individual will start sweating and feeling out of sorts. Going into the second day of withdrawal, the individual should start feeling nauseous and queezy enough to start vomiting. Heading into the third day of withdrawal is when the real problems start. During days three to five, the individual is subject to pain, stomach cramping, body convulsions and tremors, and loss of motor control. They could also start experiencing hallucinations, many of which could be quite disturbing. While having to deal with all of these possible physical issues, mental problems like depression and anxiety could appear.
If the individual is able to survive the first five days, they should start feeling better. By the end of the first week, they could be ready for therapy. So, one week to detox is the answer to the titled question under normal circumstances.
If someone has a severe opiate or alcohol addiction, going through a normal detox process could be too dangerous. In such cases, the individual might need to go through a “tapering” detox program. As part of a tapering detox program, the individual would work with medical staffers, using tapering medications like methadone or suboxone. Using decreasing amounts of these drugs allows the individual to safely wean off their substance of choice over several weeks instead of one week.
To avoid dealing with detox symptoms on their own, addicts should seek help from a detox clinic. Here, they would be kept safe while they deal with their withdrawal symptoms. If they start to experience significant discomfort, there would be a medical professional standing by to help. The medical profession would have the option of prescribing relief medication is they felt it was necessary.
After detox, it’s time to start therapy.
If you are ready to start dealing with your addiction illness, you can start by preparing yourself to detox. There is no need for you to suffer, which is why you should submit to a formal detox program. That’s something with which we can help you. We can also provide you with therapy on your way to a lasting recovery. If you would like more information about our services and facility, you can contact one of our staff members 24/7 at 833-497-3812.