In order to answer the question 'how long do withdrawal symptoms last?' it's important to first recognize that not everyone experiences withdrawal the same way. The actual range of drug withdrawal symptoms a person may experience will also vary depending on a number of different factors.
The type of drug being taken will determine the types of drug withdrawal symptoms that could emerge. Likewise, the length of use and dosage being taken prior to detox will also play a role in the severity of symptoms.
The recovering person's physical and mental health can also play a strong role in the severity of drug withdrawal symptoms. For example, it's common for some people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction to be malnourished or have other physical health problems that could make the detox process worse.
Likewise, people with an undiagnosed or improperly treated mental health disorder may also find that the drug detox process can trigger symptoms and make them worse.
The actual length of time symptoms can persist will vary between different people and for different drugs. Here is a brief look at some common questions and answers people ask.
Question: How long do withdrawal symptoms last when detoxing from opiate drugs?
Answer: If a person stops taking an opiate drug, such as heroin or OxyContin or Vicodin suddenly, it's likely that unpleasant symptoms associated with withdrawal will emerge within hours of taking the last dose. The worst of any physical symptoms should begin to subside within 2 to 3 days, although some of the psychological symptoms could persist for weeks or even months in some cases.
Question: How long do withdrawal symptoms last when detoxing from tranquilizer drugs?
Answer: Stopping use of benzodiazepine drugs, such as Xanax, Valium or Klonopin suddenly can cause potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms that may require emergency medical supervision. Symptoms can begin within a few hours of the last dose and persist for weeks or even months.
Question: How long do withdrawal symptoms last when detoxing from stimulant drugs?
Answer: Stopping use of stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, Adderall or Ritalin suddenly may not cause terrible physical symptoms like some other types of drugs, but can cause severe psychological symptoms that can persist for weeks or even months in some cases. Feelings of profound depression and suicidal tendencies pose a serious health risk for recovering people.
Question: How long do withdrawal symptoms last when detoxing from alcohol?
Answer: Detoxing from alcohol is perhaps one of the more dangerous substances to withdraw from. Stopping alcohol consumption suddenly after a period of heavy drinking can cause seizures that can last up to three days and may require emergency medical assistance. Other symptoms may begin to subside within a week, but some of the more severe psychological symptoms can extend for weeks or even months.
It's never recommended that anyone who has developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol tries to quit use by going 'cold turkey'. The safest way to manage drug withdrawal symptoms is under medical supervision in a specialized drug rehab facility.
Medically-assisted detox programs provide a safe, supervised way to relieve symptoms associated with withdrawal and make the process more manageable overall. Specific prescription medications may be used in treatment, especially for those seeking opiate withdrawal help.
Medications such as Suboxone or methadone may be given to those who need opiate withdrawal help. By comparison, a person recovering from alcohol addiction may need anti-seizure medications to ensure their safety. People recovering from stimulant drug addiction may need to be treated with antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications or antipsychotic drugs.
The key to reducing how severe any withdrawal symptoms might be is to seek help from a specialist drug rehab center. Addiction specialists will know the correct combination of medications, therapies and treatments needed to make the recovery process more manageable overall.