Detox and Withdrawal: How Long?

Detox and Withdrawal - Roots Through Recovery

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, individuals who participate in residential or outpatient treatment programs are most successful when that treatment lasts for 90 days or more. Determining how long to detox includes program intake, detoxification and then a variety of therapies and counseling sessions that may incorporate medical care, career development training, relapse prevention training and aftercare planning.

Detox and Withdrawal Symptoms Timelines

The detox process can take anywhere from 3 to 14 days or more. How long to detox all depends upon the substance that has been abused and the length of time the abuse has taken place. Different substances take different lengths of time to cleanse the body of toxins.

Users of stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine will experience mood swings, sleep disorders and food cravings for days and maybe weeks following detox. After the first three days of detox, patients will feel an intense lack of energy.

Withdrawal symptoms from heroin and opioids set in after 6 to 12 hours of the last use of the drug. After about 7 days, symptoms abate and the body is cleansed of the toxins.

Withdrawal and detox from benzodiazepines are usually completed after a few weeks.

Alcohol detox can take about one week to ten days, with withdrawal symptoms being most intense by the fourth day.

What Happens During The Detox Process?

People often wonder what is actually going on while someone is undergoing detox. Physically, the withdrawal of drugs or alcohol from your body is occurring as you cease taking substances.

During your time in a rehab treatment facility, you will have around-the-clock access to medical care. A physician can prescribe medications to help you with some withdrawal symptoms and speaking with a therapist can help you cope with the emotions that accompany withdrawal.

Things To Do While In Recovery

Being in detox and recovery sounds like it will be boring and fixated on just one thing. Experts, however, realize that boredom is the enemy of recovery and is listed as a relapse trigger. There are lots of options for things to do to keep yourself entertained and distracted while undergoing detox and recovery. Your counselor may give you ‘homework’ to complete to help you work on your recovery. But what will you do when you have some downtime?

If you have a hobby or had one you once enjoyed, continue with it or find a new one. Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, board games, doing crafts, sketching, performing or listening to music or
writing songs, poetry and essays are all hobbies you can participate in while in detox or in treatment.

Watch television or movies to get your mind off your troubles. Read a book or magazine, play video games alone or with others. Whatever you choose to do, it’s important that you don’t check your watch nor keep track of time; instead, immerse yourself in what you are doing.

Make sure you see the humor in everyday life. There are comedians who specialize in recovery humor and perform for recovery groups. If that can’t be arranged, watch a funny movie or try to write jokes to share.

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