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How Long Do Withdrawals Last?

How Long Do Withdrawals Last?

Here we are going to take a look at withdrawal symptoms. We will look at what they are, what determines how you will experience them and talk about how long they last. Then, what is the best way to overcome withdrawals.

How Long Do Withdrawals Last: What is Drug Withdrawal?

Drug withdrawal refers to the group of symptoms that occur upon the sudden discontinuation or even the decrease in consumption of prescription medications, illegal recreational drugs or even some other everyday substances like caffeine.

In order to experience withdrawal an individual must have first developed a dependence on the substance. This dependence can be physical, psychological, or both. Using a substance for an extended period of time will cause the body to gradually adapt in one way or another until it has become used to having it. Once the substance is removed or decreased, there becomes an imbalance in the body or mind as the individual is used to functioning with the substance.

There are many elements that symptoms of drug withdrawal, and the length of that withdrawal, vary depending on the drug of abuse and the length of the addiction.

How Long Do Withdrawals Last: Period of Use

The period of time one uses a drug can contribute to the length and intensity of the withdrawals. For someone who has been using drugs for a few months, the residual impact of those drugs may not be as strong or last as long as someone who has been using drugs for several years.

Because the body takes time to become dependent, the longer you are using a drug the more tolerance you build to it. Also, the functions of the body and mind can be altered by prolonged drug use to the point where they may take a long time to full heal. In some instances research has suggest there is damage that cannot be undone.

How Long Do Withdrawals Last: Different Substances

Of course one of the primary factors to answering this question is to identify the specific substance. Different substances will create different withdrawals, which will last different lengths of time and impact an individual in different ways. Some examples of specific withdrawals and how long they last include:

  • Heroin and prescription painkillers: Many people experience flu-like symptoms that last for at least 24-48 hours
  • Benzodiazepines (Benzos): People using benzos often experience withdrawals like anxiety and/or seizures, which can last weeks or even months
  • Cocaine: For someone withdrawal from cocaine addiction, depression and restlessness lasting at least 7-10 days can occur
  • Alcohol: Withdrawals from alcohol abuse can cause tremors and/or seizures, which can last from three days up to several weeks

So prolonged use of anti-depressants like the benzo drug Xanax will cause a much different reaction that withdrawals from an opioid like heroin. Some may be the same.

Don’t forget, these symptoms can be made even worse depending on other factors, such as length of time the substance has been used, at what dosage and how the drug was consumed.

How Long Do Withdrawals Last: General Withdrawal Timeline

Many sources have gathered data that could be used to make a rough estimate of how long withdrawals may last for certain substances. However, this general timeline cannot be guaranteed to be accurate considering each individual’s own health and habits can make these timelines vary.

Prescription Opioids

  • 8-12 hours after last dose, for drugs like OxyContin and morphine, the withdrawals can start around this point
  • 12-48 hours after the last dose the intensity of withdrawals can peak
  • 5-10 days even up to a month or more after last dose opioid withdrawals can persist


  • 24-48 hours after last dose the withdrawals can begin
  • Methadone withdrawals will peak in first few days
  • Withdrawals will typically last 2 weeks or more


  • 1-4 days the withdrawals from drugs like Xanax, Valium and Ativan will begin
  • Benzo withdrawals will be peaking within the first 2 weeks
  • Protracted withdrawals can last months or even years without treatment


  • 8 hours- a few days is usually all it takes for alcohol withdrawals to kick in
  • Within 24-72 hours alcohol withdrawals will peak
  • Alcohol withdrawals can last several weeks


  • Withdrawal from cocaine starts within hours of the last dose
  • After a few days cocaine withdrawal peaks
  • Cocaine withdrawals can last anywhere from a week to 10 weeks

The data for these numbers can be found through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and various other sources.

Withdrawal symptoms will still depend on the many factors we have already mentioned, including the individual’s general health in the first place. Some drugs cause very real damage to the vital organs that can creature further complications with withdrawals.

How Long Do Withdrawals Last: Medical Detox

To avoid the pain, discomfort and health risks of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol do not detox at home. A safe medical detox is the best way to get the effective and comprehensive help you need to stay healthy while receiving quality care. Medical detox provides a safe and secure space to get through this beginning difficult stage of recovery.

The Palm Healthcare Company detox facility has a 24-hour medical and addiction professional staff to continuously evaluate individual progress, administer the appropriate medications, if needed, and provide unlimited support during this process.

Our highly qualified specialists genuinely strive to make recovery possible for everyone who needs help. If your or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

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