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Stages of a Drug Withdrawal Timeline

a person looks upset while putting their hands on their head as they go through the drug withdrawal timeline

For anyone seeking to recover from addiction, drug detox and rehab go hand in hand. That’s true because successful detoxification puts you in a position to enter a follow-up rehab program. The main reason for entering a detox program is to get expert support dealing with the effects of drug withdrawal. The primary goals of this support are the same regardless of the substance in your system. However, your specific drug withdrawal timeline depends on a variety of factors.

What Is Drug Withdrawal?

If you’re addicted to a drug or medication, you’re affected by a combination of significant issues. The first of these issues is a physical need for the substance in your system. Anyone affected by addiction is also emotionally reliant on that substance. In addition, they feel a compulsive urge to find more of it to use.

Withdrawal occurs when your blood levels of a given substance begin to fall. It’s basically a reaction to the lack of the now-expected amount of that substance. Some of the impacts of withdrawal are physical. The process also has a mental or emotional component. Withdrawal doesn’t last indefinitely. Instead, your brain and body will eventually adjust to the absence of a drug or medication.

Understanding the Basic Stages of Drug Withdrawal

All forms of substance withdrawal can be divided into several phases or stages. In broad terms, these phases are:

  • Initial or early-stage withdrawal
  • Peak withdrawal
  • The easing of withdrawal symptoms

For several reasons, the duration of the drug withdrawal stages isn’t the same for everyone. This means there’s no such thing as a single drug withdrawal timeline that applies in all cases. Instead, your specific timeline depends on the details of your personal situation.

How Long Can Withdrawal Symptoms Last – Differences for Specific Substances

One of the most significant factors affecting your withdrawal timeline is the substance causing your addiction. In some cases, it takes roughly the same amount of time to withdraw from all substances within a single drug category. For example, it typically takes about three to five days to withdraw from amphetamine and other stimulants.
However, the withdrawal timeline can also vary significantly between related substances. This is especially true for:

  • Opioids/opiates
  • Benzodiazepine sedatives

It usually takes about four to 10 days to withdraw from an opioid like heroin, which doesn’t stay in your system for long. However, it takes 10 to 20 days to withdraw from some longer-acting opioids. The most prolonged withdrawal timeline is for benzodiazepines. It takes two weeks to a month or more to withdraw from shorter-acting benzos. Withdrawal from longer-acting benzos can last anywhere from two weeks to two-plus months.

Other Factors Affecting Your Timeline

Other factors will influence how long withdrawal lasts. One important consideration is how long you’ve been addicted to a given drug. Your timeline also depends, in part, on the intensity and number of your addiction symptoms. There are also individual differences to consider. Two people who seem similar in all significant respects can still require different amounts of time to complete the withdrawal process.

Find Out More About Drug Withdrawal Timelines at Northpoint Colorado

Want to know more about how long withdrawal symptoms last? The addiction specialists at Northpoint Colorado are here for you. With our help, you can get a rough idea of when you’ll need to withdraw from a specific substance.
Northpoint is a premier provider of drug detox and withdrawal care. No matter the source of your addiction, we’re committed to helping you safely get drugs out of your system. To learn more, just call us today at 888.231.1281. You can also reach us through our brief online contact form.