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How Long Does Detox Last?

You’re tired of your life being ruled by your substance use disorder, and you want out. Time and again, you say this is the day you’re not going to pick up, only to have withdrawal symptoms send you back. Detoxing from your substance of choice is a formidable hurdle that stands between you and your road to recovery, and we’re here to help ease the way forward.

At Northshore Family Practice, our team of addiction specialists understands how hard it is to break free from a substance use disorder, which is why we offer detox services.

To help you better understand the process, we outline what you can expect when you want to break your physical dependence.

Dependency and addiction

There are two sides to a substance use disorder — dependence and addiction. The dependency side of the equation occurs when your body develops a reliance on the substance and goes into withdrawal when it’s taken away.

Symptoms of withdrawal

The symptoms of withdrawal depend upon the substance you use, but here are some of the more common when it comes to alcohol and opioids.

Alcohol withdrawal 

When you stop drinking alcohol, your central nervous system becomes overactive since alcohol used to depress it. Most symptoms occur within 6-24 hours and include:

In severe cases, you may experience seizures or delirium tremens (DTs), which can include hallucinations and paranoia. While rare, withdrawing from alcohol can be fatal if you suffer a severe seizure or abnormal heart beat.

When it comes to a timeline for alcohol withdrawal, it varies depending upon how much alcohol you used to drink and for how long. Some people are able to clear their body of the substance within three days, while others may experience withdrawal symptoms that last weeks, or more.  Most alcohol detoxes are around 5 days.

Opioid withdrawal

The first opioid withdrawal symptoms typically occur within 12 hours from your last use and include:

After a day or two, you may develop gastrointestinal issues, high blood pressure, and blurry vision.

In most cases, opioids clear your system in just three days, though some may take up to a 2 weeks. While the substance may be eliminated, you can still have withdrawal symptoms caused by your central nervous system, which can last for weeks, or even months, afterward.

How detox can make all the difference

As you can see by what we’ve described above, detoxing from drugs or alcohol can be unpleasant at best, and life-threatening at worst. At our practice, we offer outpatient detox programs that are designed to relieve many of the symptoms of withdrawal and to provide critical support along the way.

In some cases, we can turn to medication-assisted therapies, such as Suboxone® and naltrexone, including Vivitrol®, to help ease the detoxification process.

As important, we’re with you every step of the way to help you make it through to the other side, where you can start to take back control of your life.

To learn more about detoxing the right way, contact our office in Bothell, Washington, to set up a consultation.

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