How Long Does It Take to Detox from Drugs?

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How long does it take to detox from drugs” is one of the first questions asked by many people considering addiction recovery. Detox for drugs is a process that takes from 7 to 10 days and involves eliminating substances from the body while managing withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification is not a substitute for addiction treatment, but rather the first critical step in ongoing recovery.

There are two types of drug withdrawal: acute withdrawal, which needs medical attention for physical symptoms, and post-acute withdrawal, which involves psychological symptoms that require continuous treatment for safe management. Symptoms of PAWS (post-acute withdrawal synrdrome) may linger for months or years.

Today, you will discover:

  • How long does a drug detox take?
  • How long do detox symptoms last?
  • How long does detox fatigue last?
  • How to detox from drugs as safely and comfortably as possible.

Drug Detox Timeline

Generally, drug detox programs range from 3 to 10 days, although detoxification may take longer for certain substances or cases requiring extended medical monitoring. 

Factors influencing the length of detox include age, gender, duration, frequency, and severity of substance use, substances abused, other medications used, method of consumption, physical dependence, co-occurring mental health disorders, and medical history. 

Here is a general timeline for drug detox:

  • First 24 to 72 hours: During this initial phase, withdrawal symptoms begin to present. Common symptoms typically include anxiety, irritability, sweating, insomnia, and drug cravings.
  • Days 3 to 7: Withdrawal symptoms usually peak towards the end of the first week of detox. Symptoms can intensify and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, tremors, increased heart rate, and changes in blood pressure.
  • Days 8 to 14: Withdrawal symptoms gradually start to subside during this phase of detox. Physical symptoms may lessen, but psychological symptoms like depression, mood swings, and problems with focus can persist.
  • Days 15 and onward: By this stage, most acute withdrawal symptoms have subsided. However, some people may continue to experience lingering psychological symptoms and cravings. Engaging with ongoing treatment and support is the most effective way to address these psychological challenges.

Individual experiences of drug detox can differ, and some substances have different timelines and substance-specific withdrawal symptoms. Seeking professional medical guidance and support during detox will streamline the process.

A man sits with his head in his hands to represent detox for drugs.

Drug Detox Symptoms

Sustained drug abuse causes significant changes in brain chemistry, leading to physiological dependence on the substance. When a person with drug dependence stops using the substance, their body reacts with withdrawal symptoms as it strives to establish a new state of balance- homeostasis – without the presence of drugs or alcohol. These temporary disruptions in brain chemistry contribute to the mental and physical symptoms experienced during withdrawal.

During drug detox, the following withdrawal symptoms may manifest in varying orders and intensities:

  • Trembling and tremors
  • Muscle aches or pains
  • Excessive sweating
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shaking
  • Headaches
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vividly unpleasant dreams
  • Irregular breathing
  • Insomnia
  • Dilated pupils
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Heart palpitations

The most severe addiction withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Extreme confusion
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • High fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures or convulsions

How Long Do Detox Symptoms Last?

Detox symptoms generally last for a few days to a couple of weeks. However, in some cases, certain withdrawal symptoms –  especially psychological symptoms – can linger for longer periods. Everyone will have a unique experience with detox and seeking professional guidance and support during the process is almost always recommended.

A woman sits looking out a window to represent detox for drugs

Detox Time by Drug Type

How long does detox take varies depending on the substance, with most people being able to detox within a week. Psychological cravings may persist for months, though. While withdrawal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea may not be fatal, they can lead to rapid dehydration, which is potentially life-threatening. A medically-supervised detox will mitigate these complications.

Here is the detox timeline for different drug types:

  • Marijuana
  • Benzodiazepines (Benzos)
  • Opioids/Heroin
  • Stimulants (Meth/Cocaine)
  • Prescriptions Drugs
  • Barbiturates


  • Week 1: Initial symptoms may include mood swings, irritability, reduced appetite, insomnia, headaches, and stomach complaints.
  • Week 2 and beyond: Mental symptoms like depression, loss of focus, and intense drug cravings may persist. Symptoms start subsiding once the system resumes natural production of THC.

Benzodiazepines (Benzos)

  • Week 1: Early symptoms may include headaches, nausea, muscle pain, and irritability. Depending on the strength and dose of the benzo, peak symptoms may include anxiety, restlessness, shaking, nausea, and palpitations.
  • Week 2 and beyond: Rebound insomnia often emerge. Severe withdrawal symptoms may last 10 to 14 days. Symptoms may include weight loss and problems with focus.


  • Week 1: Withdrawal symptoms present a few hours after the last use of opioids and include anxiety, muscle pain, runny nose, teary eyes, insomnia, and sweating. The peak of symptoms typically occurs during this week and includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, abdominal cramps, and blurry vision.
  • Week 2 and beyond: Symptoms taper off, but appetite loss, digestive issues, dehydration, and seizures may still occur. For severe opioid addictions, symptoms like irritability, cravings, insomnia, depression, and anxiety may endure for six months or more.

Stimulants (Meth/Cocaine)

  • Week 1: Initial withdrawal symptoms during a stimulant crash may include body aches, extreme fatigue, irritability, and mood changes.
  • Week 2 and beyond: Brain damage caused by stimulant abuse may trigger depressive or psychotic symptoms. Lethargy, disrupted sleep, powerful drug cravings, depression, and impaired focus may continue. The most persistent symptom of stimulant withdrawal is drug cravings, which may linger for months.

Prescription Drugs 

The detox timeline for prescription drugs can vary depending on the specific medication being used. It is best to consult with a medical professional for guidance on detox duration and withdrawal symptoms specific to the prescribed drug.


The detox timeline for barbiturates can also vary depending on the individual’s usage and the specific barbiturate. Beyond this, barbiturates are now seldom prescribed. Barbiturate withdrawal symptoms may include insomnia, anxiety, shaking, and circulation issues. Depending on the strength of the dose and severity of abuse, symptoms may peak after the first few days. Some people may experience delayed withdrawal symptoms beginning a week or more after the last dose.


How long does it take to detox your body?

It takes from a few days to a few weeks to detox your body. The duration of detoxification varies depending on factors such as overall health, the specific detox method, and the substances involved.

What is the detoxification process?

The detoxification process involves eliminating or neutralizing harmful substances from the body, typically through the liver, kidneys, skin, lungs, and intestines, to promote overall health and well-being and address the issue of physical drug dependence. 

A woman sits looking out at a sunset to represent how to detox from drugs in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Get Treatment for Drug Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers

Ohio Recovery Centers provides personalized addiction treatment programs for individuals struggling with all types of drug and alcohol addictions. Research shows that mild and moderate addictions respond equally well to intensive outpatient treatment as they do to residential rehab, offering flexibility and affordability without compromising the level of care.

We offer IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) and outpatient programs at our Cincinnati rehab center, combining pharmacological, behavioral, and holistic therapies to ensure a comprehensive recovery approach. After completing a treatment program at our rehab center, you will leave equipped with relapse prevention strategies, coping techniques, and the option for ongoing therapy if needed. For immediate assistance, please contact admissions at 877-679-2132.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn