What is Withdrawal?
Addiction is a disease of the mind. It makes changes to the way an addict’s brain processes things like emotion, mood, behavior and reactions to certain stimuli. These changes in brain chemistry are maintained with the addict’s frequent use of addictive substances like drugs or alcohol. Withdrawal occurs when this use abruptly stops.
Withdrawal Timelines: Infographics by Substance
The symptoms that an addict will face during withdrawal— and how long those symptoms last—depends on the substance, how it affects the brain, and how long it remains active in the body. The extent of the addict’s dependency on the substance also influences the withdrawal symptoms and timeline. Some of the more notable factors include:
- The addict’s substance(s) of choice
- The amount of the substance(s) the addict takes
- How long the addict has been abusing the substance
- Genetic susceptibility to substance abuse (i.e. family history)
Because it is widely available (and legal), alcohol is the most commonly abused addictive substance in the United States. In fact, research has shown that 1 in every 12 U.S. adults is struggling with some form of alcohol dependency. For those looking to quit drinking, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are usually at their worst during the first few days of the timeline. After that, the physical side effects usually taper off in the coming week. However, the emotional side effects of withdrawal and cravings for alcohol may continue beyond the first week without proper treatment.
Read more on our Alcohol Detox Program
Like alcohol, benzodiazepine (usually called “benzos”) are a legal substance prone to long-term abuse. However, since benzos are a form of medication, they may not be as easily accessible for those without a prescription. The withdrawal symptoms that benzo abusers may face can range from psychological to physical like any other substance, but the early phases of withdrawal may start anywhere from within a few hours to within a few days. Acute withdrawal, which accounts for the bulk of the timeline, typically begins after a few days of quitting and can last anywhere from a couple weeks and several months.
Read more on our Benzodiazepine Detox Program
Cocaine (and Other Stimulants)
Withdrawal symptoms of cocaine addiction are thought to be less severe than those of other drugs, but they can last a week or longer and typically start within 90 minutes of the last dose. While withdrawal from cocaine may not be intense as compared to other stimulants, cravings can last for years even after cocaine has long left the body.
Read more on our Stimulant Detox Program
Heroin (and Other Opiates)
Opiates tend to have short half-lives, meaning that their effects don’t tend to last very long. Of all the opiates, heroin has perhaps the shortest half-life of all, as it leaves the body just as quickly as it takes effect. This means that heroin addicts can experience withdrawal symptoms without making any attempt to quit the drug. Symptoms for heroin withdrawal begin once the drug has left the bloodstream. Typically, opiate withdrawal isn’t life-threatening, but it is still dangerous. That’s why medical detox is always highly recommended.
Read more on our Opiate Detox Program
Withdrawal In Rehab vs. At Home
Different substances are always going to have different withdrawal symptoms and timelines, so knowing what to expect is nearly impossible for addicts looking to get sober on their own. Additionally, there are so many potential issues—like mental health, for example— that can complicate the addiction recovery process if they aren’t taken into account when building a treatment plan. The most effective way get sober from any substance is to build and execute a tailored treatment plan with a team of medical staff and addiction treatment professionals. Comprehensive care and medical detox are an essential part of the addiction recovery process, and both are available at inpatient treatment facilities.
Inpatient Treatment at TTC Care
Withdrawal is arguably the hardest part of fighting an addiction to get sober, but with the medical detox program at TTC Care, you’ll be able to comfortably taper off the substances in your system as you move toward the end of the timeline. Our experienced medical staff ensures both the comfort and safety of all our patients, taking every step to minimize health risks or complications during the detox process. And once the withdrawal timeline has ended, we’ll work with you past detox to help you prepare for staving off cravings and relapse. If you’ve been struggling to get sober at home, call TTC Care at (844)310-9546. We’re here to help.