How Long Does Detox From Alcohol Addiction Usually Take?

Compare Rehab UK | How Long Does Detox From Alcohol Addiction Usually Take?

Understanding Detox

Every detox process can be slightly different, but they all strive to achieve the same goal: properly detox someone from narcotics or alcohol consumption. If a loved one or someone you know is seeking detox solutions, the best thing to do is investigate for professional help to the best solution. Look for detox programmes online, and then start calling or making appointments to find the right one. When you realise you’ve arrived at the appropriate location, you’ll feel relieved. It’s important to remember that detox can be a dangerous process and shouldn’t be performed without professional advice and supervision.

Addiction is a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Get Confidential Help Now. Call our 24h admissions line to get help – 0800 999 1083.

Will I Lose All My Energy?

Depending on the individual and their circumstances, they may lack energy. Remember that drugs and alcohol poison the body, and the goal of detoxification is to remove those chemicals from the body so that the person can live life to the fullest.

Trust the procedure and continue the treatment plan if while detoxifying you feel drowsy. Allowing their bodies to begin safely recovering from the adverse effects of their addiction is the most effective way for them to regain the energy they need to be sober.

Addiction is a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Get Confidential Help Now. Call our 24h admissions line to get help – 0800 999 1083.

Will Detox Cause Pain?

When someone enters treatment, they will want to know what they are getting themselves into to cope with withdrawal. Symptoms such as nausea, tremors, headaches, sweating, and muscle aches are all possible and will be addressed by the treatment centre.

A person’s withdrawal will almost certainly cause discomfort, but they should know that this will pass. Suppose someone decides not to go to treatment because they are terrified of withdrawal. In that case, they may develop other medical disorders due to their addiction that will be more difficult to manage later on, or worse, they may die.

Medically-assisted detoxification (MAT) consists of professionally supervised detoxing that aims to reduce the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and the cravings for the substance, and it’s generally the most comfortable and successful detox approach.

What Are The Withdrawal Symptoms?

When someone starts detox treatment, they need to prepare themselves for dealing with withdrawal symptoms.

The following are examples of physical withdrawal symptoms: nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, shivering and shaking, sweating, running nose, fever, increased heart rate and blood pressure, headaches, stomach cramps, pain in the muscles and bones, exhaustion and nightmares. Psychological withdrawal symptoms may include irritability, anxiety, confusion, paranoia, insomnia, depression, agitation, concentration problems, extreme mood fluctuation and intense cravings.

The most severe withdrawal symptoms are hallucinations, delirium, and seizures.

If someone refuses to seek treatment because they are afraid of withdrawal, they may develop other medical problems due to their addiction, which will be more challenging to manage or even die. It is almost guaranteed that a person’s withdrawal will cause discomfort, but they should be mindful that this will, in time, disappear.

Medication can be used to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce cravings.

Addiction is a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Get Confidential Help Now. Call our 24h admissions line to get help – 0800 999 1083.

What Is A Medical Detox?

Medical detoxification is when you detox from alcohol or other substances with professional assistance. Doctors perform a physical examination on individuals to evaluate their medical needs. Toxicology tests are used to determine what substances are present in the body. A medical detox programme aims to assist patients in overcoming the emotional and physical stress that comes with some alcoholism withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification can cause unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms, and users typically benefit from the added support therapies provided by detox programmes.

The Detox Process

When people talk about detox, they usually mean one of two things: either the process of detoxifying from a substance or a detox treatment programme. Detoxing from drugs or alcohol entails removing the chemicals from the body and managing any withdrawal symptoms that may arise. The worst part of the detox process typically takes between 5 and 10 days. However, it could take several months to complete the whole process in some extreme cases. For example, when dealing with alcohol use disorder, while alcohol leaves the body after a few days, cravings may take considerably longer to detox from.

The length of time it takes to detox is determined by several factors, including:

  • The substance of abuse;
  • If more than one substance has been misused;
  • How frequently the substance was abused;
  • The amount of the substance consumed by the user;
  • Existence of underlying co-occurring mental health disorders;
  • The medical history of the user;
  • The age of the user;
  • The gender of the user.

How Long Do Detox Programmes Take?

Detoxification, often known as detox, is the process of ridding one’s body of harmful substances. Detox is the first and most crucial phase in the recovery process. Depending on the substance, it can be hazardous, even fatal, but only if it is not appropriately treated. It’s just as crucial to pick the right treatment centre (and detox programme) to do the detox. It would be best to verify that you are enrolling in the appropriate degree of treatment. The majority of recovery programmes last between 30 and 90 days. Detox is at the very beginning of each of them. Medical personnel will control withdrawal symptoms throughout the procedure.

Each substance, as well as each substance combination, has its own withdrawal process. Several therapies usually follow detox. These costly and time-consuming rehabilitation programmes, on the other hand, are not ideal for all addicts seeking help. A short detox programme is a considerably better alternative for people who want to become clean but have a full-time job, a family, or a busy schedule and a restricted budget.

Substance Detox and Treatment

Your treatment will be determined by your unique circumstances and the substance(s) to which you are addicted. Your specialist will collaborate with you to choose the best treatment option for you.

Detoxification (detox) is one of the treatments and approaches that may be employed in your addiction treatment plan. The detoxification process is generally part of all substance abuse treatments.

Detox is especially helpful for people who want to stop using opiates like heroin or other heavy drugs. It aids in the management of withdrawal symptoms.

Detox takes about five days on average, although it can last anywhere from three to ten days. The number of days it takes for each person to complete the detoxification process is determined by various factors. It’s influenced by the type or types of substances consumed, the length, frequency, and quantity of use, age, and gender.

The presence of underlying co-occurring mental health disorders and any medical conditions are also crucial factors to ponder. When all of these factors are addressed, a person’s chances of completing the detox and moving on to recovery improve.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

You may most likely experience withdrawal symptoms if you decide to stop drinking every day and heavily. The length of time it takes to detox is determined by many factors, including how much you drink, how long you’ve been drinking, and if you’ve previously detoxed from alcohol abuse.

Detox symptoms usually disappear four to five days after the last drink, but people might feel alcohol cravings during the process.

The following are broad indications for when you should anticipate encountering alcohol withdrawal symptoms, according to a 2013 literature review published in the Industrial Psychiatry Journal about the alcohol withdrawal syndrome:

6 hours: Around six hours after your last drink, minor withdrawal symptoms typically appear. A person who has a history of heavy drinking may experience a seizure at this period.

12 – 24 hours: At this stage of alcohol withdrawal, a tiny percentage of people experience hallucinations. They may hear or see things that aren’t there. Even though this symptom is frightening, doctors do not consider it a severe complication.

24 – 48 hours: Minor withdrawal symptoms are common during this time. Headaches, tremors, and stomach trouble are all possible symptoms. If a person is experiencing only minor withdrawal symptoms, they will peak between 18 and 24 hours and begin to fade after four to five days.

48 hours to 72 hours: Some individuals suffer from delirium tremens (DTs), often known as alcohol withdrawal delirium, which can be one of the most severe withdrawal symptoms during alcohol withdrawal. This disorder can cause a rapid heart rate, convulsions, high blood pressure or a high body temperature.

72 hours: This is when the effects of alcohol withdrawal are usually the most severe. Moderate withdrawal symptoms can persist for up to a month in rare situations. Rapid heart rate and illusions (seeing things that aren’t there) are two examples.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

Some opioids cause withdrawal symptoms sooner than others, and withdrawal from some opioids lasts longer than withdrawal from others. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the type of opioid used (heroin, short-acting prescription opioids, or long-acting prescription opioids), the severity of symptoms, the time of start and length of symptoms, the duration of opioid use, the amount consumed, and the time between doses.

Withdrawal symptoms from heroin and other short-acting opioids usually appear 8-12 hours after the last use, peak in 1-3 days, and persist up to 7 days. 11-12 Short-acting opioids, such as morphine and immediate-release versions of oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, cause withdrawal symptoms within 8-24 hours of the last use and withdrawal symptoms can last up to 10 days. Long-acting opioids, such as methadone and extended- or controlled-release versions of morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, cause withdrawal symptoms to appear 36 hours after the last dose and last up to 14 days or longer.

Hallucinogen Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

Both classical and dissociative hallucinogens are associated with a detox period after someone takes them. Someone who is “coming down” off of a hallucinogenic drug may experience discomfort, fatigue or restlessness in the hours following the “trip.” These are not symptoms of withdrawal and typically do not require professional supervision or assistance.

People who use classical hallucinogens do not experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drugs. Dissociative hallucinogens, however, may be associated with withdrawal symptoms.

In particular, phencyclidine (PCP) is associated with withdrawal symptoms. Other dissociative hallucinogens may also have withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Lose of pleasure
  • Sense of unease or dissatisfaction
  • Drug craving
  • Confusion
  • Lack of motivation

The so-called “acid flashback” is related to hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD). HPPD is a rare and poorly understood consequence of hallucinogen use, and its symptoms include perceptual disturbances that are similar to a hallucinogenic trip. This is not believed to be caused by hallucinogen use in itself. Instead, evidence suggests that HPPD is related to the presence of pre-existing mental health conditions.

Addiction is a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Get Confidential Help Now. Call our 24h admissions line to get help – 0800 999 1083.


What to Expect After Detox?

Addiction is complex and powerful, and it can easily lead to the resumption of old behaviours. Even if a person decides to go through detox and become sober, the real work begins after the detox. After detox, the next step is to create an inpatient or outpatient treatment plan to help someone stay sober.

Detoxing does not have to be a painful experience. Instead, see your assisted detox as a first step toward the remainder of your life in recovery, one day at a time. Quitting drugs or alcohol will make you feel better mentally, physically, and spiritually.

When you quit using addictive substances, your potential skyrockets because you’ll have more ambition, energy, and clarity.

Going to detox will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because you will be able to overcome the insidiousness of addiction and live life to the fullest after recovery. You won’t know how alive you can be until you completely detox from drugs and alcohol and achieve your maximum life potential.

Addiction Treatment Options

Addiction treatment is not one-size-fits-all, differing depending on your specific needs. You can find the ideal treatment for you based on the substance you are misusing, the degree of care you require, your unique mental health needs, or your financial resources.

Detoxication is one of the several addiction treatments available, and it’s generally included in the majority of addiction treatment. Here are a few of the other most frequent approaches that have helped individuals achieve long-term sobriety.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
  • Contingency Management
  • 12-Step Facilitation Programs
  • Treatment with Medication

Furthermore, it is a complicated physical and psychological procedure that should always be aided by professionals who can provide emergency medical treatment if needed.

You don’t have to fight addiction alone if you or a loved one suffers from it. There are effective treatments available to assist in overcoming the addiction. You can always speak with a medical expert through NHS or with other addiction charities.

Addiction is a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Get Confidential Help Now. Call our 24h admissions line to get help – 0800 999 1083.


Last Edited: September 14th, 2022
Clinically Reviewed: April 4, 2022
Compare Rehab UK | How Long Does Detox From Alcohol Addiction Usually Take?
Clinical Reviewer


BACP accredited psychotherapist with 16 years experience working in mental health specialising in psychodynamic person-centred therapies treating those with a range of mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, OCD and Addiction.