Drug Detox & Withdrawal

Medically reviewed by:

Detox and Withdrawal Services

If you want to get sober and create a new life after a substance dependency, your addiction treatment process will start with a detox program. During detox, all traces of habit-forming drugs are eliminated from your system to break your physical addiction. Some drugs are physiologically dangerous to withdraw from, while others cause distressing and uncomfortable psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Going through your drug detox process in a medically supervised treatment facility is the safest way to eliminate substances from your system, as your symptoms of withdrawal can be managed as they present. Getting professional treatment provider help can help you to restore mental and physical equilibrium and put you on your path to long term recovery in a supportive and non-judgmental space.

Drug withdrawal symptoms

Drug withdrawal is your body’s response when you reduce or stop taking substances that you have developed a dependency on. When you were using these substances, your brain adjusted to their presence in your body, and considered this to be ‘normal’ or a new form of homeostasis.

When substance use disorder from opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines or other addiction medicine are no longer present due to a detox, your brain chemistry needs to readjust and your body experiences physical, emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Every substance abuse treatment is different, depending on the degree of substance addiction, the physical dependence and mental disorders that may exist.


Benzodiazepines are used to treat panic disorders, anxiety and seizures, by depressing your central nervous system (CNS). When professionally managed, benzos can be helpful but if they are misused, they result in a dependency and a range of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms may present during detox including sleep disturbances, sweating, seizures, agitation, anxiety, vomiting and nausea, hallucinations.

Opiates and opioids

Opioids cause a high level of dependency if they are misused, and even if they are used for short intervals under medical guidance. Opioid withdrawal syndrome can result in nausea, anxiety, diarrhea, body aches and muscle cramps, yawning, hot and cold flashes.


In the first two days after quitting amphetamines, withdrawal causes a depressed mood, sleeping more than usual and an increased appetite. This is followed by a second stage where cravings become more pronounced, sleep is disturbed and your mood changes. It is also common for psychotic symptoms to present, especially if they were experienced while you were using amphetamines.


Stopping cocaine can cause a significant change or “comedown” in your mood, as early as the first day you stop using it. Symptoms can persist for weeks or months after quitting. While detoxing from cocaine is not usually dangerous, it can cause distressing symptoms of withdrawal such as fatigue and lethargy, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, increased appetite, concentration problems, strong cravings.

Timeline of Withdrawal Symptoms


Week 1: Intense cravings are common and you will feel tired but can’t sleep. Mood swings and bad dreams are likely to occur. Week 2-4: Depression may set in and strong cravings occur. You may experience concentration problems and emotional disturbances. Weeks 5-10: Your body is healing well and your withdrawal symptoms start to dissipate. You can still experience cravings and feel anxious.

Timeline of Withdrawal Symptoms


1-2 days after last intake: You will experience a crash or comedown, peaking around 36-hours later. Prolonged sleeping, increased appetite, depression and craving for amphetamine will occur. 5 days after: Body aches and pains, irritability cravings, insomnia and fatigue are common and can last for weeks.


Benzo withdrawal symptoms are believed to occur in three stages: Early: A few hours or days after stopping. Acute: Panic, blurred vision, seizures, memory and concentration problems, a decreased appetite and weight loss. Protracted: Approximately 10 to 25% of patients will enter protracted withdrawal period lasting for months or even years.


Oxycodone has a half-life of three to five hours while methadone’s half-life ranges from eight to 60 hours. Extended release and long-acting opioid withdrawal symptoms may peak later. 30 to 72 hours after your last use you will feel very sick and be at the highest risk of relapse.

How to Detox Safely

Safe Detox Options

Safe Detox Options

The symptoms of withdrawal can seem overwhelming initially but they get easier to manage. Medically supervised detox is always recommended and
residential programs
lessen your likelihood of relapse, due to a support team in our detox facility and substance-free environment to avoid potential addiction relapse.

Your detox program can be done in an outpatient setting but if you have problems at work, at home or with your health, an inpatient environment is better. Eating nutritious, healthy food, getting daily exercise, staying hydrated and keeping yourself entertained will support a safe cocaine detox.

Medically assisted detox is sometimes required, however many patients do not need substitute medication, depending on the length of drug addiction.

Substitute medication for drug detox

Substitute medication

Substitute medication (medical detox) can help to alleviate uncomfortable cravings and symptoms associated with withdrawal by mimicking the effects of the abused substance, but not all detoxes need medication.

Benzodiazepines may be prescribed for cocaine and opiate withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and irritability. They are habit-forming and are prescribed with caution. Antidepressants are prescribed sometimes because drugs affect the brain’s ability to create feel-good chemicals. Clonidine can assist in relieving physical opiate withdrawal symptoms like muscle aches, cramps, sweating, seizures and tremors. Patients who have moderate and severe opiate dependencies may be prescribed Methadone to alleviate severe drug withdrawal symptoms.

Drug detox Supervisors


Our supervisory panel consists of a team of addiction specialists who support you at every step of your journey for recovery from substance abuse disorder.

Medical personnel will monitor your nutrition, hydration and vitals. Clinical staff may administer substitute or comfort medication to ease severe withdrawal symptoms from your substance abuse disorder.

The support staff will personalize your recovery journey by creating individualized treatment plan tailored to your individual requirements. They also provide psycho-emotional assistance during withdrawal.

How Long Does Drug Detox Last

How Long Does Drug Detox Last?

The detox timeframe refers to the period it takes to rid your body of a substance and the length of time it takes to go through the most severe withdrawal symptoms. In the majority of cases, detox lasts between seven and 10 days, but it can extend to two weeks and is dependent on variables such as

  • Your genetics

  • Your health and mental state

  • Your timeframe of substance use disorder

  • How the substances were ingested

  • The amount and potency of the substances used

Benzodiazepines may take ten to 14 days to fully detox. In the case of opioids, it depends on how fast-acting the substance is, and it can take weeks or months for symptoms to dissipate. With opiate dependencies, withdrawal symptoms are usually the worst in the first two days.

Why Choose United Recovery CA for Drug Detox and Withdrawal?

Our medical detox and rehabilitation center has been designed for comfort and safety to help you recover from drug abuse. We enable our patients to retreat into a luxurious and non-judgmental space where you receive 24-hour medical supervision and clinical interventions to help you forge your long term recovery path from substance abuse. Once your drug detox is complete you can enroll for in-patient or out-patient drug rehab programme in a familiar setting as you learn the tools and coping skills required to address the underlying triggers that resulted in your drug dependency. Aftercare, support groups and sober living homes provide you with extended care programs that facilitate long term sobriety in an understanding community.

Leaders in
Addiction Treatment

Recover in a
Luxury Environment

Aftercare &
Lifetime Support

Do You Need Help?

We can help you get better. Together, we can build up your confidence and you can regain control over your life!
Contact us now to ask about our Drug Detox Programs now!

Is a Detox Enough to Tackle Addiction?

Detox from drug abuse is necessary to break a physical drug dependency but what it doesn’t do is address the social, psychological and behavioral patterns that caused the drug addiction. A medical detox program doesn’t teach you the lasting behavioral changes and coping skills that are necessary for long term recovery from substance use disorder.

Follow-up therapy is required to address these underlying issues, and this is most effective through a process of evidence-based individual and group therapy interventions in a rehabilitation center. Aftercare and support groups provide you with long term support as you readjust to your new life and learn to cope with the triggers that may arise as you navigate through day-to-day challenges, to avoid any temptation and relapse from substance abuse ever again.

Learn More About Our Rehab Program

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is drug detox dangerous?

Drug detox from drug abuse can be dangerous, depending on the drug in question, the length of time you have used it for, and frequency of your use. This is why a medical detox performed in a treatment center is the safest way to move forward. Your risk is further elevated if you have attempted multiple detoxes in the past, as your withdrawal symptoms will worsen each time. Dual diagnosis and co-occurring dependencies can complicate detox, and need to be medically supervised by our treatment provider that provides mental health services.

Can I detox from any drugs at home?

It is generally not recommended to detox from drugs at home. Severe withdrawal symptoms can result in relapse if you are not medically supervised, and fatal overdoses may occur. A medically supervised detox program ensures that you follow a tapering off approach if required, and that very severe symptoms be alleviated with medication.

Also, there are several types of detox programs since it needs to be personalized to each person, and the drug detoxification process requires a clinical professional to monitor your mental health and any issues that could happen during the detox process.

Doing your substance abuse treatment inpatient will be safer than having your withdrawal process at home

How long does drug detox take?

The length of time required to detox depends on the length of your substance abuse, the frequency and potency of the substances, and your general health and mental wellbeing. It is also contingent on whether you have a dependency on more than one substance. On average, most substance use disorder patients can expect seven to 10 days of opioid detox but certain substances like benzodiazepines may require a 14-day detoxification process.

Will there be a medical person at the inpatient facility?

Yes, our team consists of medical experts and specialists who monitor you 24-hours a day. Because certain detoxes can induce severe withdrawal, it’s imperative that the clinical team supervises and treats each patient carefully.

Does my insurance cover drug detox?

Most health insurances will cover drug detox, mental health services, mental health counseling and drug rehabilitation services in part or in full, but policies vary so we recommend you check your benefits with your insurance provider first.

Do You Need Help?

You can get better with the right support. Don’t hesitate to contact us now so that we can discuss the next steps.