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How Long Does Detox Take?

When it comes to battling addiction, understanding the detox process is a crucial first step. How long does detox take? At Detox Nashville, we recognize that Substance Use Disorder (SUD) isn’t one-size-fits-all. We provide a personalized approach to detoxification. 

Therefore, the timeline can vary depending on the substances used and whether it was combined with other substances, frequency, and duration of use. Our dedicated staff at Detox Nashville will develop a tailored detox plan complete with aftercare for sustained sobriety long after your detox.

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Understanding the Detox Process

When it comes to battling addiction, Understanding the detox process is a critical step toward recovery. Just as every person is unique, so is their SUD. As a result, the method, duration, and experience of detox can significantly vary.

Alcohol and drug detox is the initial phase of any addiction treatment. Essentially, it’s a process where your body clears out the addictive substances, thus returning your system to its original, substance-free state. This foundation is where the path to sobriety begins.

Finally, it’s imperative to remember this: addiction detox demands professional supervision. Withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, and the process can be harsh and even dangerous if attempted solo. A medically supervised detox allows for a safer, smoother transition.

How Long is Detox?

You might wonder how long detox takes. Precisely how long a drug detox takes. Or how long is alcohol detox? These are common questions. Typically, detox lasts anywhere from 7 to 10 days. But remember, this is a general estimate. The exact duration hinges on numerous factors, such as the substance abused, the frequency of use, and the duration of use.

For instance, detoxing from specific drugs like heroin, cocaine, meth, and especially opioids often requires a distinct approach. In such cases, a comprehensive assessment is first made to gauge the severity and history of addiction. This assessment helps create a tailored detox plan suitable for your unique needs when deciding how long detox takes.

Finally, it’s imperative to remember this: addiction detox demands professional supervision. Withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, and the process can be pretty uncomfortable if attempted solo. A medically supervised detox allows for a safer, smoother transition.

The detoxing process isn’t one size fits all – it varies notably from person to person. Several key factors will influence the timeline when asking, “How long does detox take?”

Firstly, substance abuse impacts several aspects of your health, from the nervous system to vital organs. Specifically, the brain, where dependency alters functionality, affecting behavior, decision-making, judgment, and self-control. 

The intensity of these changes correlates to the duration and severity of the detox process. Cutting off the supply of drugs or alcohol disrupts this equilibrium, often leading to urgent medical needs.

Now, let’s consider the age factor. Generally, the detox process might take less time for younger individuals as their body systems metabolize substances faster than their older counterparts. Older individuals are often bound to incur concurrent health conditions that necessitate a prolonged detox period.

Lastly, pre-existing mental or medical conditions can complicate the detox duration. During withdrawal, these conditions can intensify, requiring considerable care – thereby extending the detox process.

What Causes Withdrawal Symptoms?

When someone is addicted to drugs and tries to stop taking them, they have withdrawal symptoms. This is because of how drug abuse changes the way that your brain works. Drugs affect your brain’s “reward system,” which is a delicate balance of chemicals that are responsible for making you feel happy and relaxed. In a non-addicted brain, these chemicals are released when you do things like spend time with loved ones, exercise, and even when you eat.

But when you take drugs, your system is flooded with an excessive amount of these chemicals. Your brain learns to crave drugs in order to keep you feeling normal, which is what leads to drug addiction. When you stop taking drugs, your brain doesn’t know how to react, depriving you of these chemicals and making you have negative physical and emotional reactions.

How Long Does Drug Detox Take?

The duration of drug detox can vary significantly depending on several factors, such as the specific substance, the individual’s overall health, the length of drug use, and the method of detoxification. In general, drug detox can last from a few days to several weeks.

For substances like opioids, such as heroin or prescription painkillers, withdrawal symptoms often begin within 6-12 hours after the last dose and may peak within 1-3 days. Opioid detox typically lasts around 5-7 days, with some lingering symptoms that can persist for weeks. 

In contrast, detox from shorter-acting substances like cocaine or methamphetamines may have a shorter duration, typically ranging from 3 to 7 days.

It’s important to note that detox is just the initial phase of addiction treatment. While detox helps the body rid itself of harmful substances, it doesn’t address the underlying psychological and behavioral aspects of addiction. 

Successful recovery often requires ongoing therapy, counseling, and support to prevent relapse and achieve long-term sobriety. The exact length of drug detox, as well as the entire treatment process, should be tailored to the individual’s needs to ensure the best chances of lasting recovery.

Here are some summaries on detoxing from commonly abused drugs.

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Opioid Detox

An unprecedented opioid epidemic continues to plague the country, creating a strong need for detox. 

For example, detox for heroin and other opioids (morphine, hydrocodone) typically lasts about seven to ten days. Hence, symptoms of opioid withdrawal can begin within the first 24 hours and, for those who frequently use opioids, may last up to a month. 

Opioid detox is uncomfortable and often painful. However, it is rarely fatal unless opioids are mixed with other drugs. 

Methadone and buprenorphine are common medications to treat opioid addiction. Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride) was approved in 2018 to assist in treating opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Benzodiazepine Detox

In simple terms, benzos, short for benzodiazepines, are a type of medication that doctors prescribe to help people deal with problems like anxiety, stress, or sleep issues. They work by calming down the brain and the body, making you feel more relaxed and less anxious. However, benzos can be habit-forming, meaning some people might become dependent on them if they take them for a long time. 

Withdrawals from benzodiazepines can be fatal, making a professional detox vital. Attending a detox center for benzo withdrawal can last two to eight weeks, sometimes longer. 

The withdrawal symptoms associated with benzo addiction can last weeks and, in some cases, months. The initial withdrawal symptoms usually last about one to four days. 

The type of benzo used affects when symptoms kick in, with symptoms starting within the first six to 24 hours after the last dose. Acute withdrawal symptoms persist for several weeks. In a detox center, professionals employ a tapering method to gradually decrease benzodiazepine levels in the body, thereby alleviating many withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone Detox

Methadone addiction recovery typically involves a stay of ten to 20 days at a detox center. Unlike other opioids, methadone lingers in the body for an extended period, leading to more prolonged withdrawal symptoms. 

While methadone withdrawal can be just as uncomfortable as withdrawing from other opioids, it is not typically life-threatening. Nevertheless, the discomfort and pain associated with methadone withdrawal can be overwhelming and may even trigger relapse, even when someone is committed to quitting.


Detoxing from cocaine presents a different set of challenges. The duration of detox varies depending on the individual and the extent of cocaine use. Unlike methadone, cocaine doesn’t stay in the body as long, which means withdrawal symptoms are typically shorter in duration. 

Cocaine withdrawal can be emotionally taxing and may involve symptoms such as depression, fatigue, and cravings. While it’s not usually life-threatening, the intense psychological cravings and discomfort can pose significant hurdles to recovery, potentially leading to relapse for those trying to quit.

Methamphetamine (Meth)

Detoxing from methamphetamine (or meth) often is a challenging but crucial step toward recovery. The timeline for meth detox varies from person to person, with withdrawal symptoms typically peaking within the first few days and gradually improving over the next 1-2 weeks. During this time, individuals may experience intense cravings, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and mood swings.

While meth detox is not typically life-threatening, the emotional and psychological toll can be significant. That’s why it’s essential to seek professional help during this process. Detox programs and support from experienced professionals can provide the necessary medical supervision and emotional support to help individuals safely navigate the challenging journey of methamphetamine detox and begin the path to a drug-free life.

Family and specialist supporting adult man undergoing detox and adressing important questions, such as 'how long does detox take?'.

How Long is Alcohol Detox?

When it comes to alcohol detox specifically, numerous factors play a role. The frequency and duration of heavy drinking, genetics, age, gender, and the presence of co-occurring disorders can shape the question, “How long is detox?” However, the most crucial understanding is knowing that pursuing detox is the first step in the journey toward sobriety.

Alcohol withdrawal can have life-threatening consequences. The duration of alcohol detoxification varies, spanning from three days to two weeks, contingent on the severity of the alcohol addiction. If someone has been drinking heavily for five years and abruptly stops, they may encounter seizures, delirium, or even cardiac arrest, any of which can be fatal.

Typically, alcohol withdrawal symptoms manifest within six to twelve hours following the last drink. However, more severe and potentially deadly symptoms may take days or up to a week to surface. 

Ensuring a person’s safety during this critical phase is best achieved under the supervision of a detox center. Addiction professionals may prescribe medication during detox to alleviate withdrawals. Benzodiazepines like chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), or lorazepam (Ativan) are commonly used for treating alcohol withdrawal. These medications not only alleviate anxiety, improve sleep, and manage seizures but are also administered gradually under medical supervision during the withdrawal process, which can span up to 14 days.

Is it Safe to Detox at Home?

Many people who are dealing with a drug addiction wonder if they can go through detox at home. Unfortunately, this is not the best idea for many different reasons. You will still be in a place where you are used to using drugs, which can make it very hard to avoid the temptation of using again. This is especially true if you live with someone who is also using drugs, or that enables your drug use.

The biggest reason that drug detox from home is not a good idea is that withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, difficult, and sometimes life-threatening to manage with without professional help. Withdrawal of certain drugs can pose risks like seizures or hallucinations, which need monitoring in case a medical emergency arises.

Personalized Approach at Detox Nashville

Understanding the detox process is a vital stage in battling addiction. Detox Nashville works on these principles, first emphasizing an individual approach to address each person’s unique needs. 

We start by conducting a thorough assessment, gauging the severity and duration of your addiction. Your physical and mental health form the core of this evaluation, ensuring the most effective detox plan fits each person’s needs.

Additional support during this challenging phase is invaluable; the Detox Nashville team understands that. As part of our holistic approach, we provide prescription medications and consistent emotional support to help you cope with withdrawal symptoms better. 

Remember, recovery is not just a physical but emotional and mental journey.

Detox Treatments and Aftercare

Your post-detox phase is just as crucial in your path to recovery. Following detox, a comprehensive aftercare plan is structured, guiding you to the next step in your addiction treatment. This plan ensures a seamless transition from detoxification to treatment, leading to a higher chance of successful recovery.

Detox Nashville offers an array of resources aimed at reinforcing recovery. Access to various amenities such as nutrition counseling, yoga, exercise programs, and mindfulness practices, including meditation, are offered to help strengthen your path to sobriety.

In many progressive detox programs, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is commonly used. It’s an evidence-based method that combines talk therapy with FDA-approved medications. This approach, often initiated during detox, can continue throughout various recovery stages.

Many find the use of MAT especially beneficial in our opioid detox programs. It helps to minimize those nagging drug cravings, allowing you to focus more fully on therapy sessions designed to teach you how to maintain sobriety.

Remember, the primary goal isn’t about speeding up your detox process but focusing on its successful completion. Starting with detox puts you firmly on the path to recovery. It is the springboard for a comprehensive addiction treatment program – an essential first step toward lasting recovery.

Detox Protocols 

A detox program starts with a thorough evaluation. The treatment team assesses the following information to develop a plan custom-made for the person seeking detox:

  • Length of substance use
  • Last time drugs or alcohol were consumed
  • Past attempts at sobriety
  • Medical history
  • Mental health status.

The information gleaned helps develop a solid treatment plan. This plan can be modified or adjusted based on the progress and unique needs of the person.

Providing an assortment of therapeutic outlets, such as holistic therapies, individual and group counseling, and family education sessions, helps balance the detox process. We are dedicated to offering our clients the guidance and support to navigate detox and recovery, adhering to a client-centered approach to foster health, growth, and sobriety.

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Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction and wondering, “How long does detox take?” At Detox Nashville, we understand the importance of this question. We’re here to provide answers, support, and a pathway to a healthier, addiction-free life.

Detoxification varies depending on people’s circumstances, but you don’t have to face it alone. Our compassionate team at Detox Nashville is committed to guiding you through this critical first step on your journey to recovery. We offer personalized detox programs tailored to your needs, ensuring a successful detoxification process in a safe environment.

Don’t let uncertainty hold you back any longer. Take action today to break free from the grip of addiction. Contact Detox Nashville, and together, we’ll work towards a brighter, drug-free future. 

Remember, the first step starts with the question, “How long does detox take?” we’re here to help you find the answers and support you need to move forward. Your recovery begins with us. 

Contact us today.

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