When you’re ready to get off drugs or alcohol, one of the first things you’ll probably wonder is how long is this going to take? Recovery is a lifelong process requiring both dedication and hard work. Removing addictive substances from your system, however, starts with detox. This first step usually lasts for 3, 5, or 7 days.

Detox Duration Varies By Addiction

Because different types of addictive substances stay in your body for different amounts of time, the time you spend in medical detox will depend on the kind of substance(s) you use.


You may start to notice the symptoms of alcohol detox within a few hours and expect them to last for about a week, when they’ll taper off. Shaking, anxious feelings, and trouble sleeping are normal for the first couple of days. It’s imperative to have medical care on hand when getting off alcohol because withdrawals can quickly shift to fevers, dangerous seizures, and hallucinations.

While your alcohol withdrawals may last only a few days, cravings will stick around. You’ll want to transition into a supportive therapy or rehab program to learn how to stay clean.


As benzos, like Valium and Xanax, start to leave your system, you’ll likely begin to experience nausea, pain, and irritability sometime between the first few hours and a couple of days. Withdrawals will continue for at least a week but can last for longer, even up to 2 weeks.


Hallucinogen detox may start mild, with sweats, cravings, and headaches in the first couple of days. Your initial symptoms will taper off in the first week, but because of changes in your brain’s dopamine levels, your moods may be off longer.


Quitting marijuana or weed is usually a pretty mild process, especially if you are eating and drinking healthfully and taking the time to exercise regularly. After the first couple of days, you may start feeling moody and having sleep problems. Stomach issues may also keep you from feeling very hungry.

Expect cravings and mood issues, especially irritability and depression, to last longer than the first week, usually until your body resumes natural THC production.

Opioids Like Oxycontin & Heroin

How quickly you start feeling opioid detox will depend on how fast-acting the substance you used was. Heroin withdrawals, for example, can start within just a few hours and peak within a week. Appetite problems and seizures can last well beyond the first week. Cravings, anxiety, depression, and insomnia can even continue for up to six months.

Stimulants Like Cocaine & Meth

Stimulant detox usually starts pretty quickly with fatigue and body aches, a “crash.” Depression, concentration issues, intense cravings, fatigue, and sleep problems will most likely continue for the first week. Cravings for stimulants can persist for months afterward.

Start Now With Medical Detox In Utah

Take the first step to quitting drugs and alcohol with Nexstep Medical Detox, near Salt Lake City. We have designed our medical detox center in Utah to keep you as safe and comfortable as possible. Get addictive substances out of your system under the care of doctors, nurses, and a team of compassionate staff. Contact us today to start the intake process.