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According to the Centers For Disease Control, in 2017 more than 11% of Americans ages 12 and over used illicit substances within the month before being surveyed.1 Many abused drugs are associated with the development of significant physiological dependence—especially when consumed in large amounts and for a consistent period. When someone becomes dependent on a substance, they may be at risk of experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using their drug of choice.

What is Detox?

Detoxification treats symptoms associated with substance use. This process focuses on removing the substance from the body. It may help you return to living a life without alcohol other specific substances. Your detox timeline will depend on the severity of your substance use and other unique personal factors.

What Is Drug Withdrawal?

When someone drinks alcohol or uses certain drugs on a repeated basis, their brain adjusts to the presence of this substance. They become physiologically dependent on their substance of choice and utterly reliant on it to function and feel “normal.” In people who develop significant levels of dependence, withdrawal from drugs is often an inevitable response to the sudden absence of a drug’s declining concentration. Withdrawal symptoms may develop when a substance-dependent person quits a substance “cold turkey” or substantially reduces how much they are using. During withdrawal, the body is attempting to reach a new state of homeostasis as it dispels the user’s drug of choice. This can result in large fluctuations in brain chemicals and may accompany significant mental and physical health repercussions. Drug withdrawal may include a combination of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms — some of which can prove dangerous if left unmanaged.

How Long Does Withdrawal Last?
The precise duration of withdrawal is influenced by which particular substance someone used as well as the magnitude of their dependence on the substance. It may take days, weeks, and – in some cases – months to reach complete resolution of all withdrawal symptoms, depending on various factors and individual differences.

For certain types of substances, medical detox is commonly an early part of recovery. As part of a typical medical detox protocol, a team of doctors and nurses can help manage a patient’s withdrawal process to alleviate their discomfort and minimize any risk of dangerous symptoms or withdrawal complications.

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