Repeated and extended use of most drugs can cause physical dependence to develop quickly in the body, and while many people experience symptoms of dependence differently, once it has been established there are typically a number of uncomfortable or even painful adverse effects. Many of these side-effects, specifically withdrawal symptoms, happen when trying to discontinue use of the substance. Many refer to this period of getting off of drugs as the detox stage. Detoxing from some substances can be harder on the body than others, while some can actually become life-threatening. When attempting to get off of drugs one of the most commonly asked questions is- how long does it take to detox your body from drugs?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Withdrawal symptoms can appear quicker and last longer, depending on the individual and the factors of their drug use.
How Long Does it Take to Detox Your Body from Drugs: Questions to Ask
Because not everyone is exactly the same, their body will react differently based on their own personal health and their own habits. Typically an individual will experience the most serious withdrawal symptoms in the first two weeks of detox, but there are so many things that contribute to how this experience will affect you.
Here are a few questions you may want to ask:
What is the drug?
Different drugs will have different detox periods because of how long they stay in the system.
How much do you usually take?
For those who take larger amounts, they increase the chances of the body building up more of a tolerance to the drug.
How often do you use the drug?
Someone taking a drug multiple times a day every day has a better chance of developing a stronger dependence quicker than someone who uses once every couple of days.
What is your metabolism like?
Of course something that impacts how long a drug stays in your body is your metabolism. The quicker your body burns through fat, nutrients and other resources the quicker the residual deposits of the drug in the body will dissipate.
Are you generally healthy?
Those who not only take care of themselves, but are healthier in general may have an easier detox experience than those who are already not healthy and more often ill. For each individual there are a number of personal health that impact how long a drug stays in the system, including:
- Body fat
- Health of the liver
- Kidney health
Many key organs are involved in the metabolism or elimination of many of the drugs you take, such as digestive organs, respiratory organs, liver and kidneys. Some studies have made rough estimate of how long withdrawals may last for certain substances. However one cannot guarantee a general timeline can tell how long detox will take accurately considering each individual’s own health and habits can make these timelines vary.
How Long Does it Take to Detox Your Body from Drugs: PAWS
Sometimes people don’t expect to experience withdrawals after a certain point because they think the body has already overcome its dependence, however there are other effects of drugs that can be a challenge.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (or Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome) is often referred to as PAWS. This the second stage of withdrawal. PAWS causes recovering addicts and alcoholics to feel some symptoms of withdrawal long after the initial withdrawal phase is over. So you may have fewer physical symptoms, but there are much more emotional and psychological symptoms that can continue to bother you.
PAWS occurs because your brain chemistry is gradually returning to normal. As your brain heals without constant use of potent drugs, the levels of brain chemicals fluctuate as they approach the new equilibrium.
Common Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Variable energy
- Low enthusiasm
- Variable concentration
- Disturbed sleep
PAWS can often mimic depression, and increases the risk of relapse. So while the body may start to feel more refreshed and the aches and pains of physical dependence may be getting better, the brain is still struggling.
How Long Does it Take to Detox Your Body from Drugs: Why Medical Detox Matters
Some people may ask how long does it take to detox your body from drugs because they want to try and detox at home. This may seem like a more convenient approach, but it is definitely not the safest or most effective way. Medical detox matters because it is not so simple to predict how long someone will experience withdrawals.
Because some may experience detoxing from drugs differently, having an experienced medical staff, along with addiction specialists creates a safer and more effective environment to detox. Medical detox provides a safe and secure space to get through this beginning difficult stage of recovery, while offering quality care and assistance to each individual and their needs.