black and white photo of person resting chin against fists looking distressed while contemplating how long do withdrawals last
By BrightView
Published: September 1, 2023
Updated: September 22, 2023

Withdrawals are a challenging experience for anyone going through drug addiction treatment. Just the thought of it can be enough to deter someone from seeking help. How long do withdrawals last, and what should you expect during the process? Answering these questions can provide peace of mind and promote recovery outcomes.

At BrightView, we believe in individualized treatment methods prioritizing ease of access, a comfortable atmosphere and environment, and immediacy of care. Our outpatient treatment programs provide medication assisted treatment (MAT), counseling, and therapy for addiction recovery. We accept Medicaid at all locations and work with patients to ensure they receive the support they need.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, don’t hesitate to contact us for help. Our addiction specialists will work with you to find drug addiction treatment that meets your needs. Contact us today at 888.501.9865 to learn more about how we can help.

What Are Withdrawals?

Withdrawals occur when someone stops using a drug their body has become dependent on. When the drugs are no longer available, the body responds with various physical and emotional symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, making it difficult for an individual to function.

Early Withdrawal Symptoms

The first phase of withdrawals usually begins within a few hours after the last use and can last up to one week. Common early symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea

During this stage, individuals may feel unpleasant but can usually manage symptoms with the support of loved ones and proper self-care.

Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

Acute withdrawal symptoms typically peak within 72 hours and can last up to two weeks, depending on the substance. This phase is the most intense and uncomfortable stage of withdrawal, making it essential to have access to proper drug addiction treatment. Symptoms may include:

  • Intense cravings
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Shakiness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Changes in mood

Additional acute withdrawal symptoms include depression and anxiety.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

PAWS refers to symptoms that may persist for several months after acute withdrawal. This stage is why it is important to continue drug addiction treatment even after physically detoxing from the substance. Symptoms may include anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, memory issues, and mood swings.

How Long Do Withdrawals Last?

The duration, timeline, and severity of withdrawals depend on the drug, frequency of use, and individual’s overall health. It is important to note that withdrawals are not the same for everyone and can differ from person to person.

The following provides a rough timeline based on the most common drugs:

  • Opioids – Withdrawals typically begin within 12-30 hours after the last dose and peak within 72 hours. Symptoms can last anywhere from seven to 10 days for acute withdrawals and up to six months for post-acute withdrawals.
  • Alcohol – Withdrawals can begin within six to 24 hours after the last drink and peak between 24-72 hours. Symptoms can last five to seven days for acute withdrawals and months for post-acute withdrawals.
  • Benzodiazepines – Withdrawals begin within one to four days after the last dose and peak within two weeks. Acute withdrawals can last several weeks, while post-acute withdrawals can last anywhere from six to 12 months.
  • Stimulants – Withdrawals usually begin within a few hours to a few days after the last dose and peak within a few days. Symptoms typically last up to seven to 10 days, but some may experience post-acute withdrawals that can last several months.

Seek Drug Addiction Treatment Today at BrightView

If you or someone you love is struggling with withdrawals or addiction, contact BrightView for compassionate and professional drug addiction treatment. We are available 24/7 and have over 50 locations throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Maryland, providing easy access to quality care.

Don’t suffer alone. Start the journey to long-term recovery by calling BrightView today at 888.501.9865 or completing our online form.