Drug withdrawal written on a paper. Addiction concept.

When you have a substance abuse addiction, the possibility of you becoming physically and psychologically reliant on the substance is high. As this dependence develops, it means that withdrawal symptoms occur if you cut off the substance. Your body and mind have become accustomed to a steady stream of the substance and its effects, so it responds with negative symptoms when you sober up. However, just as addiction looks different on everyone, so does withdrawal. We discuss the varying types of withdrawal and what can impact how a person experiences their detox.

Does Everyone Experience Withdrawal Symptoms?

Generally speaking, everyone can expect to experience some form of withdrawal symptoms within two to three days of their last substance consumption. In movies, withdrawal is always excruciating, and while this can happen, it’s essential to realize that there are varying levels of withdrawal.

Withdrawal Levels

Withdrawal levels can range from mild, medium, and severe. You may have experienced mild withdrawal symptoms yourself if you’ve ever been used to your morning cup of coffee and didn’t get it one day. Mild symptoms can be as minor as a headache and irritability.

Unfortunately, on the other side of the spectrum, there are severe withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are so strong that they can cause intense physical reactions such as pain, seizures, and insomnia. Or, they can be psychological, causing a person to think they need the substance to live. Heroin is one drug that often comes with intense withdrawal symptoms, which can be so bad that people don’t make it through their detox.

How Bad Will My Withdrawal Be?

How intense withdrawal symptoms are can depend on a variety of factors:

  • How long, how much, and how frequently the person was abusing drugs
  • The kind of drug being used
  • Age
  • Current health
  • If the person mixed substances
  • Any pre-existing mental health conditions

How Long Does Withdrawal Last

The bright side is that withdrawal doesn’t last forever. Your withdrawal timeline depends on which substance was used. Below are general timelines for common substances:

  • Heroin: Withdrawal symptoms can start within a few hours of last consumption, reach a peak of severity at the 36-72 hour mark, and last between 5-10 days.
  • Long-acting opioids (methadone, prescription opioids): As this is a long-acting drug, the substance remains in the body for a while. Individuals may not experience their first withdrawal onset until up to 48 hours from last consumption, have a peak of symptoms around day three, and take up to three weeks to completely finish.
  • Alcohol: Individuals can feel withdrawal symptoms within hours of their last drink, experience a peak at 36-72 hours, and finish within 10 days.
  • Stimulants (cocaine, meth, Adderall): Symptoms begin within 24 hours of the last consumption and usually last around five days.

Since the withdrawal timeline is dependent on the substance, you can safely assume that most people will fall into the above timelines based on their drug. However, what people experience differently is the actual withdrawal symptoms. Some individuals may be more physical, others psychological, and many will experience both.

It can be helpful to understand what the common symptoms are and how long they may last, so the individual remembers there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Withdrawal is challenging for many people, but it’s a necessary step to claiming back your life.

American Rehab Campuses

American Rehab Campuses offers inpatient rehab, medical detox, and intensive outpatient programs. You don’t have to go through withdrawal alone; get the professional help that will make detox safer and easier. Contact us today.