Are you or someone you know struggling with addiction and wondering how long it takes to detox from drugs? The process of drug detoxification can be a daunting task, but knowing what to expect can help ease some of the anxiety that comes along with it. There are many medications and therapies that can make the process easier and safer when done under the watchful eyes of professionals.
In today’s blog post, we will explore the ins and outs of drug detox and answer the question: How long does drug detox take?
The Detox Process
Detox is actually only the first part of the total rehabilitation process.
Detox is a process of ridding the body of toxins, and in the case of drug detox, this means ridding the body of drugs and their metabolites. When done professionally, during this time, patients are closely monitored by medical staff and given medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms. The length of time it takes to detox depends on a number of factors, including:
- The type of drugs being detoxed from (e.g., alcohol vs. opiates)
- The amount of time the person has been using drugs
- The person’s physiology and health status
- Whether the person is detoxing at home or in a professional setting
On average, drug detox can take anywhere from a few days to a week or more. However, the specific timeline will vary depending on the individual’s circumstances.
But this is only the first step. The next step is rehabilitation.
The Process of Rehabilitation
Once detox is complete and the patient’s body is rid of all of the drugs, patients begin therapy and other medical means to process the addiction, learn about addiction and health, and address the underlying causes of their addiction. This is called rehabilitation and is the second step in the entire process.
Therapy typically includes:
- Individual counseling
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Nutritional and health training
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- And much more
Patients may also participate in activities such as yoga or meditation to help promote healing.
Patients also often take medication to help with co-occurring disorders like anxiety or depression, or drugs that target the addiction specifically. Medical interventions can include:
- Antianxiety drugs
- Opiate Replacement or blocking drugs
- Drugs that target alcohol use
- Antipsychotic drugs
- And more
The length of time spent in rehab varies depending on the severity of the addiction, but most programs last 30-90 days.
The Process Of Reintegration
After an individual completes detoxification, they will often begin the process of reintegration. During this time, the individual will work with a case manager or counselor to create a plan for their continued care while they live in the outside world or a sober living house.
This may include ongoing counseling, support groups, and 12-step programs. The goal of reintegration is to help the individual maintain their sobriety and avoid relapse in the larger world.
This active support can happen for months or years afterward. However, the process of managing an addiction is lifelong. If you’ve ever heard the term “sober alcoholic” this is what it means. Alcoholism or addiction is never “cured” per se, but it is effectively managed by millions of people around the world. In some cases, some people attend sobriety meetings for the rest of their lives.
Factors That Affect Detox Timeline
There are a number of factors that can affect the timeline for drug detox. The type of drug being detoxed from, the method of detoxification, the individual’s health and metabolism, and psychological factors can all play a role in how long it takes to detox from drugs.
Type of Drug: Different drugs will be metabolized differently and will therefore take different amounts of time to detox from. For example, harder drugs like heroin or cocaine will generally take longer to detox from than softer drugs like marijuana.
Method of Detoxification: The method of detoxification can also affect the timeline. If an individual is trying to detox on their own, it will generally take longer than if they are under medical supervision. Medically supervised detox programs typically last for 5-7 days, sometimes longer, while at-home detoxes can last for weeks or even months.
Individual’s Health and Metabolism: An individual’s unique health and metabolism can also play a role in how long it takes to detox from drugs. Some people may be able to detox more quickly than others due to their physiology. Additionally, certain health conditions can make the detox process more difficult and lengthier.
Psychological Factors: Finally, psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues can also impact the timeline for drug detox. These disorders can make it more difficult to stick to a treatment plan and can lengthen the overall process.
How To Make Detox More Comfortable
There is one major thing you can do to make detox more comfortable:
Do not try to do detox alone. Detox is much safer, more comfortable, and far less agonizing when done in a professional setting.
Doctors and other health help staff remove the anxiety of detox, as well as make certain you’re safe. Some drugs, including alcohol, can be life threatening when detoxing. It’s always safest to have a medical professional involved in a hospital or other treatment center.
This also makes the process much more bearable, as well. When watched over by physicians and other medical professionals, they can give you drugs to lessen the pain, help the process along, and make certain you are as comfortable as you can be.