How Long Will It Take To Detox?

One of the major questions that we get asked is “how long will it take for me to detox?” This is typically asked because the prospective patient already has an idea in their head about how much time they are willing to devote to drug and alcohol detox. The amount of time it takes to medically detox looks different for everyone, as everyone has a varying number of substances they are using as well as a different history of using substances. Today, we will be talking about the process of detox, why it should be an individualized approach, and finally, answering the question of how long it will take to detox.

Drug Detox Programs Vs. Drug Rehab Programs

Many people will conflate the terms drug detox and drug rehab interchangeably, often referring to inpatient treatment for drug addiction or any long-term work toward recovery. As far as timelines are concerned, drug detox is being defined as the treatment specific to the first step in rehab. It allows the body to clear itself of the substance and get through the drug withdrawal process so that you can fully concentrate on rehab. In short, detox is one component of rehab.

Drug And Alcohol Detox Options

Regardless of whether you require specific clinical interventions for detoxification will depend on the type of addiction you are struggling with, and whether withdrawal symptoms are a major challenge in your recovery journey. In certain cases, symptoms of withdrawal can range from outright uncomfortable to very dangerous. If the symptoms are so severe, it can cause a good deal of patients to succumb to the restraints of addiction once again, even if they have a desire to remain clean. Medical detox employs a myriad of techniques to reduce the impact of these symptoms, including medicine and treatments for the symptoms themselves. The purpose of detoxification treatment is to help make you more comfortable and safer as you go through the first couple of weeks or days of rehab. Let’s further discuss your options for drug and alcohol detox.

How Long Does A Detox Program Last?

A detox program can last anywhere from three days to two weeks. There are a variety of factors at play into how long each specific detox program lasts. The main factor is which substances were being abused. Some substances are able to be removed from the system faster than others. Heroin detox, as an example, usually lasts about a week. Part of that time is spent helping to combat withdrawal symptoms and receiving therapy in your newfound life of sobriety. Sometimes, a rapid detox program can be used, but it’s important to note that it’s not possible for all drug types. Please discuss the idea with your doctor or our treatment team before deciding which method of drug and alcohol detox is right for you.

What Does A Detox Program Involve?

Think of a detox program as a template. Based on what the patient is detoxing from, the template will be tweaked accordingly. Just like how all substances come with their own set of withdrawal symptoms, all detoxes have their own specific programming, catered for each and every patient. What comes next is a thorough discussion on the broader aspects-what all detoxes and detox programs will involve, a common denominator of sorts. Detox for all substances presents withdrawal symptoms, it’s just the nature of the beast. But it’s a necessary evil. A detox program is designed to lessen the severity of these symptoms, and to provide a comfortable and medically sound environment. Some drugs, like cocaine and ecstasy, can be detoxed from the body over time. Whereas with drugs like opiates and alcohol, the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms is more severe, often requiring the intervention of safer prescription drugs that trick the body during detox. This is both a comfortable and effective method of detox. 


During the process of detoxification, you will have access to 24-hour medical care, including medicinal therapies and oversight from caring doctors and nurses. We won’t lie to you when we say that detox is an intense process and beyond the physical, patients will experience much emotional turbulence as well. As mentioned in the previous section, the emotional turmoil could easily cause someone to relapse. While under the professional care of North Jersey Rehabs, you can feel confident knowing that you or your loved ones will be treated with empathy and compassion, during this harrowing period in your life. The following is an overview of the timeline for detox from multiple substances. 

  • Prescription Opiates (Vicodin, OxyContin, etc.): Withdrawal symptoms begin around 8-12 hours after the last usage. For most prescription opiates, symptoms will peak within 12-48 hours, and last 5-10 days on average. For methadone (commonly used drug to treat recovering heroin addicts) withdrawal symptoms begin within 24-48 hours, peak after 2-3 days, and can last from 2-4 weeks.
  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin): Symptoms start within 1-4 days, peaking within two weeks. After 2-4 weeks, the side effects will begin to dissipate. In some situations, without proper treatment, benzo withdrawal can last for months, even years
  • Alcohol: Withdrawal symptoms start between 8 hours of the last drink and a few days after you had your last one. The apex of symptoms is within 24-72 hours, and will last a few weeks.
  • Cocaine: Withdrawal begins within hours of the last dose. It peaks within 1-3 days, and can linger from one week to two months.

You can read up on the specifics on detoxing here.

Help Is Around The Corner With Our Drug And Alcohol Detox Programs

If you or a loved one have taken the courageous step of doing something about your addiction, North Jersey Rehabs will proudly help you through this journey. We help many patients in Bergen County, NJ and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to discuss next steps for treatment.


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