Josh Chandler | May 29, 2024

Drug Withdrawal Timeline and Treatment

The drug withdrawal timeline relates to the process by which a person’s system gets rid of the drug toxins from the body. The timeline varies because of many variables, such as a person’s unique chemistry and the substance they’re dependent on. Withdrawal symptoms generally accompany the withdrawal process; they may be mild or severe. After withdrawal symptoms peak, they do subside. 

At Muse Treatment, we offer a clinically supervised detox program. Our clinicians provide treatment to reduce or, ideally, eliminate unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Our Los Angeles drug rehab center offers comprehensive care. We can treat clients no matter where they are in the recovery process. Our treatment programs include inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, medical detox, and aftercare. We also provide medication-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, you can begin your recovery journey at Muse Treatment. 

Many people who have a substance dependence or addiction are apprehensive about the withdrawal process. Withdrawal symptoms can be serious — even scary because they can trigger severe health effects. At a rehab center like Muse Treatment, our experienced clinicians can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms with medications. We want clients to detox as safely and comfortably as possible. Severe symptoms can trigger health emergencies like heart irregularities or seizures. That’s one of the reasons we monitor clients closely and provide treatment to enhance their comfort and minimize withdrawal symptoms. 

If you have questions about withdrawal and substance addiction recovery, you can find the answers at Muse Treatment. We feature a welcoming rehab center that combines many different therapeutic modalities to help clients succeed in recovery. Let us help you put your drug dependence in the past. 


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Understanding Drug Withdrawal

When a person becomes physically dependent on a drug, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t use the drug within a certain period of time. A person who has a full-blown drug addiction is not only addicted physically but is also emotionally and behaviorally dependent on the substance. When a person stops using the substance of addiction, the body begins to experience withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms may start with a mild headache or other mild symptoms, but the symptoms are likely to progress until the peak of the withdrawal process.

After symptoms peak, they gradually dissipate as the body rids itself of the last substance toxins and overcomes the dependence. It’s important to note that withdrawal and detox do not cure substance addiction; they only target the physical dependence on the substance in question. Further treatment is needed to address the psychological and behavioral aspects of the condition. 

Factors Influencing the Drug Withdrawal Timeline

Various factors can impact the drug withdrawal timeline. First, the factors of the drug or drugs in question can influence the drug withdrawal process. The time the effect depends on the substance can also impact the timeline. A person’s age, health condition, and unique chemistry can also affect the timeline of the withdrawal process. 

Common Drug Withdrawal Timelines

Generally, people complete the drug withdrawal timeline in about a week. However, some may complete the process in as few as three days. Others may not complete the process for as long as ten days. Even then, some people may experience withdrawal symptoms that linger for a longer period.

However, withdrawal symptoms do dissipate as time goes on. For instance, drug cravings are likely to be quite severe as withdrawal peaks. As days go by, these cravings will naturally reduce in severity. A person who has been addicted to powerful drugs like opioids or methamphetamine may experience a longer withdrawal process that may involve extremely uncomfortable symptoms. 

The First 24 Hours: What to Expect

The first 24 hours of withdrawal can be challenging. Usually, withdrawal symptoms don’t peak until after the first 24 hours. During the initial period of withdrawal, people often experience mild symptoms that gradually or quickly, in some cases, increase in severity. Some common withdrawal symptoms that people may experience within the first 24 hours include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Shaking
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Some symptoms are flu-like. It’s not uncommon for people who are withdrawing from opioids to experience flu-like symptoms. At Muse Treatment, we offer treatments that reduce withdrawal symptoms or even eliminate them. 

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The Continuing Phases of Drug Withdrawal

As withdrawal symptoms peak between 24 and 72 hours, on average, from the person’s last drug use, clients can feel quite uncomfortable. Often, treatment can reduce symptoms but may not always eliminate them. At Muse Treatment, we know how important it is to treat and relieve symptoms of withdrawal.

Severe symptoms can trigger relief emergencies such as seizures, heart irregularities, and suicidal thoughts. Once symptoms peak, they will naturally diminish, but continued treatment can enhance clients’ comfort and support the healing process. Some withdrawal symptoms may linger even beyond the typical detox period. Again, treatment can help to manage these symptoms, helping clients to focus on their subsequent addiction therapies. 

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

There are instances when withdrawal symptoms don’t subside after a week or two. Someone who experiences longer-term withdrawal may be diagnosed with PAWS, post-acute withdrawal syndrome. This protracted form of withdrawal can last for weeks, months, and, in some cases, even longer than a year. It’s important for people who want to stop using drugs to do so with clinical care. A person who develops PAWS should seek medical treatment to help manage their long-term withdrawal symptoms. Substances that are most closely associated with PAWS include alcohol, benzodiazepines, opioids, and marijuana. 

Treatment Options for Managing Drug Withdrawal

Drug withdrawal is a serious process, which is why it’s always best to undergo this process at hospitals or drug detox centers. Because withdrawal can trigger potentially life-threatening medical emergencies like irregular heartbeat, it’s crucial to seek medical care if symptoms begin to escalate and grow in severity. Quitting cold turkey can trigger powerful withdrawal symptoms, but medical detox can manage the withdrawal process safely. Clinicians can prescribe medications that eliminate or reduce symptoms, enhancing clients’ comfort and reducing the risk of health complications developing. 

At Muse Treatment, our clinicians can prescribe medications for withdrawal as well as alternative and holistic therapies that support the recovery process. Some treatments can speed recovery so that clients can progress through detox more quickly. Once medical detox is complete and withdrawal symptoms subside, clients can begin the next phase of their recovery process. 


24/7 support availability,
start your recovery today!


Muse Treatment’s Approach to Withdrawal and Recovery

Muse Treatment Center offers comprehensive care. That means we can treat people no matter where they are in recovery. The drug withdrawal timeline is at the beginning of recovery. It’s an intense phase owing to the discomfort that withdrawal can cause. We feature a supportive medical detox center with 24-hour clinical monitoring and supervision. We also offer inpatient drug addiction treatment, outpatient programming, and aftercare. 

Contact Muse Treatment or call 800-426-1818 to learn more about our medical detox programs and how we can help you manage your drug addiction for good. Withdrawal is temporary. Recovery can last for the rest of your life. Let us help you safeguard your life and future. 

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Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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