Drug Detox Timeline – How Long it Takes and What to Expect?

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Drugs and alcohol can cause severe addiction because of their effect in certain parts of the brain. Substances like cocaine, opioid, heroin, methadone, marijuana and alcohol can cause withdrawal symptoms which fall into two categories, psychological or physical. Therefore, the drug detox timeline is different for each person and depends on what program the client needs.

Physical symptoms are pain, sweating, nausea, fluctuation in blood pressure and seizure, psychological symptoms on the other hand are depression, anxiety, even suicidal thoughts and the patient can experience both at the same time.

Drug detox clinics in Florida assists this difficult process by creating a personalized plan, since every situation is unique. Prescriptions and adjusting medication is only one part, since monitoring and supporting each person in a safe and clinical environment is extremely important for the patients well being.

Drug Detox Timeline – How Long it Takes? 

Detoxing involves removing harmful toxins from the body. The time varies depending on a number of factors like what and how many substances where used, how often the person was under its influence, for how long and the user’s age and medical history. There are several methods to assist with this and the process is usually done in steps.

A doctor reading from a tablet.
Professional help is highly recommended.

#1 Medical Detox

Medical detox Florida offers medication-assisted treatment, also known as MAT, which allows the body to detoxify, flushing out addictive substances while using FDA-approved drugs for no risk of addiction transfer or getting a new addiction altogether.

This is the toughest part as the patient has to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It is best taken care off in a safe and controlled clinical environment for the patient to be monitored and administered medication if the need arises. This method is required for most cases and typically lasts for 1-2 weeks, but may extend to 3 weeks depending on addiction severity and which substance was used.

#2 Inpatient Programs

This usually takes place after the initial detox procedure is over. Like the inpatient alcohol detox center in Florida, this requires the patient to reside at the medical facility. These programs offer personal care in a safe environment under 24/7 supervision, while adjusting pharmacotherapy as needed. The procedure lasts typically for a month but may extend to 3 or more depending on the case of each individual.

#3 Partial Hospitalization Programs

Many factors, like addiction severity, can adjust the time detoxing takes. When the progress is slow, the patient may require some additional clinical services in order to move forward. This is when the Partial Hospitalization Programs, also known as PHPs, take place.
This part is most of the time optional and is offered as a step-down service, offering clinical care while the patient begins to slowly reintegrate into everyday life.

#4 Alumni and Aftercare Programs

This is like outpatient programs but instead offers a hotel-style campus where every patient socialize and builds communal bonds. Each patient receives a personalized discharge plan, with information to prevent relapse, aftercare resources, private therapy options and it helps people connect with others through various events and activities.

It is both the final step of rehab and a continuous process which lasts as long as the individual needs and wants.

Hand in Medical Glove Holding Pills on Petri Dish
Pharmacological treatment is usually necessary in more severe cases of addiction.

What Determines Addiction Severity And Treatment Needs?

Each drug activates the brain’s reward system, releases a number of toxins and hormones, making the body to rely on the used substance instead of producing it. Making people neglect other activities in order to take it is one of their symptoms. While the mechanisms of each one are different, the activation of rewarding system is very similar across substances, producing feelings of euphoria and while this is true, alcohol and drug detox vary between individuals.

Substance use disorders are categorized under different criteria, such as, consuming the substance in large amounts, using it for a long time, wanting to stop using it but being unable to etc.

Depending on how many of those symptoms are identified from the clinicians, they specify how severe the client’s condition is and adjust the treatment as needed.

#1 Addiction’s Impact On The Individual

Addiction severity is diagnosed based on DSM-5 criteria, and while this is done by professionals, some the symptoms will be listed bellow for informational purposes:

  • Using more of a substance than intended or using it for longer than intended.
  • Trying to cut down or stop using the substance but being unable to.
  • Experiencing intense cravings or urges to use the substance.
  • Needing more of the substance to get the desired effect .
  • Developing withdrawal symptoms when not using the substance.
  • Spending more time getting and using drugs and recovering from substance use.
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, work or school because of substance use.
  • Continuing to use even when it causes relationship problems.
  • Giving up important or desirable social and recreational activities due to substance use.
  • Using substances in risky settings that put the individual in danger.
  • Continuing to use despite the substance causing physical and mental health problems.

The number of criteria each client meets will dictate the severity of their addiction (or Substance Use Disorders – SUDs).

  • Two or three; mild SUD.
  • Four or five; moderate SUD.
  • Six or more; severe SUD.

#2 Dual Diagnosis; Co-occurrence Of Mental Health Disorders

Dual diagnosis is when a person suffers from a mental health condition alongside drug or alcohol addiction. This is very common and patients diagnosed with this require specialized treatment to address both problems at the same time. Mental health disorders typically include:

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders and borderline personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Trauma
  • Autism
  • OCD
  • ADHD
  • PTSD

There are many dual diagnosis treatment options for those patients, and while it might seem inconvenient, it is mandatory for the patient to avoid side effects and unwanted chemical interactions with other medicine.

#3 Unique Personal, Demographic and Occupational Needs

Additionally, rehab needs change according to the clients background, like pregnant women, who face unique physical and mental challenges, the elderly, who require more care or even veterans who experience trauma more often. Each case is unique, despite the symptoms and how common the substance used was, and must be treated as such.

Does Addiction Type Affect The Drug Detox Timeline?

In short yes. Different substances have different withdrawal symptoms and require different care. Usually though most types of addictions have similar duration and follow similar a journey. More specifically:


Its withdrawal usually includes agitation and restless behavior, depressed mood, fatigue, general feeling of discomfort, increased appetite, vivid and unpleasant dreams. Cocaine withdrawal treatment vary depending on how long it was used and if it was the only substance. Even though its symptoms usually disappear over time, in severe situations a live-in treatment program may be recommended.


Opioid withdrawal treatment requires pharmacological management. Long-term opioid replacement is accomplished using specific doses of methadone or buprenorphine.

Methadone is given in inpatient treatment settings in very strict and calculated doses depending on the case, and buprenorphine can precipitate withdrawal symptoms in opiate dependence patients who do not have withdrawal signs.

Glass Medicine Bottle with a pipette
Opioid withdrawal treatment requires pharmacological management.


Meth withdrawal symptoms include dysphoria, anxiety, agitation and typically begin within 24 hours of its last use. Meth detox in Florida helps the patient with several different treatment options according to each individual needs to avoid relapse.


Heroin detox florida offers a variety of effective treatments, including both behavioral and pharmacological medications. Both help restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior. Its pharmacological medication include buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone and is safe to use for months, years or even a lifetime if the clinicians deem it necessary.


The use of marijuana is taken lightly in recent years but only those who wanted to stop it for good know its no laughing matter and it should be taken seriously. Marijuana detox Florida experts suggest to not underestimate its side effects. Short term symptoms include memory loss, difficulties in thinking and processing, changes in general mood and altered perception of time, while long term use is linked to worsening symptoms of anxiety, depression and even schizophrenia.

Scrabble Pieces on Pink Surface with Marijuana Leaf
The use of cannabis is taken lightly but it is no laughing matter.

Drug Detox Timeline; What To Expect

As the patient prepares for a drug detox program, it is vital to understand that he/she will unavoidably experience some withdrawal symptoms, either physiological or physical. Detoxing is only the first step and in order to achieve a full recovery most cases require a full plan that addresses all of the patient needs.

#1 A Bout With Withdrawal Symptoms

Medical detox helps deal with withdrawal symptoms, however, keep in mind that they can be quite severe. As we mentioned earlier, the symptoms fall into two categories, physical and psychological and their affect vary depending on which substance was used, for how long and the individual. Common symptoms of withdrawal may include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Trembling and tremors
  • Muscle pain or aches
  • Hunger or loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures

#2 The Possibility Of PAWS

PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) is when a set of impairments persists after a long time of abstaining from any addictive substance. It has its own symptoms and can commonly manifest some time after withdrawal from alcohol and opioids. Almost 75% and 90% of alcohol and opioid ex-users experience some of its effects and ts symptoms fluctuate in severity and usually involve:

  • Difficulty with learning, problem solving or recalling a memory
  • Irritability
  • Depressed mood
  • Obsessive or compulsive behavioral
  • Cravings of the substance they originally abused
  • Difficulty in maintaining social relationships
  • Apathy or pessimism
  • Disturbances in sleep patterns
  • Sensitivity to stress

The symptom severity usually increases when triggered by stress and its treatment is a combination of medication and psychotherapy, or even group therapy, so the patient learns to cope with its symptoms.

It can be very challenging to deal with after going through the initial detox and trying to avoid relapse, that is why professional help is required. Dual diagnosis programs help recover from both problems altogether, making it the best choice for someone who struggles with both detox from substances and PAWS at the same time.

Man and Woman Sit Next to Each Other
Almost 75% of alcohol ex-users experience some PAWS symptoms.

#3 A Full Eventual Recovery

As long as your addiction treatment provider personalizes rehab based on your needs, follows evidence-based practices, and offers a robust aftercare program, you can expect a full eventual recovery and reclaim the life you and your loved ones deserve. However severe the situation is, all SUDs are treatable so do not be discouraged.

Three Girls Dancing Under Clear Sky
Alumni Programs help the patient socialize through various events and activities.


Rehab can be a tough path to follow, and the road is not the same for everyone, however it is the only one leading to a happy destination. Withdrawal symptoms and their severity may be different but that is why professional help is highly advised. The patient must feel safe and strong under a clinical supervised environment in order to surpass the cravings and endure the symptoms of withdrawal.

Drug detox timeline usually takes from a few days to a few weeks depending on the severity of the SUD, and may continue after the rehabilitation process if it is required. Remember, all SUDs are treatable if only you take the first step. If you now feel ready, please contact us today and let us embark on the journey to recovery together.