Addiction Withdrawal Timeline

withdrawal symptoms

Addiction Withdrawal: Symptoms and Timeline

The first and most important part of the recovery process is detox.

If you have been addicted to either drugs or alcohol, then in order to be stable to receive further treatment, you must ensure that all harmful substances are out of the body’s system.

Detox is not very pleasant, but it is a small price to pay for a lifetime of sobriety.

Detox is different for everyone and depends on the substances taken, the severity of the addiction, and how long you have been dependent on drugs or alcohol.

Here, we outline the withdrawal timeline so that you can be prepared for what to expect.

1.Mild: hangover symptoms (8hrs)

During the first 0-8 hours, the first symptoms you will experience will be similar to a very bad hangover. 

However, as the hangover wears off, patients will begin to feel the true effects of alcohol withdrawal.

Many recovering addicts have notes the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Hangover symptoms
  • Lack of concentration

2. Moderate symptoms (1-3 days)

The longer patients go into their detox, the wider the variety of experiences.

For some, symptoms may already be subsiding, but for others, they may be about to get much worse.

This is the stage where most relapse if they attempt a detox at home, because drinking seems much more appealing than facing the terrible anxiety and paranoia that comes in the next stage of withdrawal.

Symptoms can vary from:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Rapid or stifled breathing
  • Paranoia
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Seizures

3. Severe symptoms (4 days – 1 week)

Again, for some, this period between day 4 and 7 can bring relief and subsiding of symptoms, for others, this might be the worst period for them.

They will experience the following:

  • Tremors
  • Delirium tremens
  • Seizures
  • Extreme hallucinations
  • Cravings 
  • Disorientation 

4. Calming of symptoms (10-14 days)

After the hard part is done, your withdrawal symptoms will not be as painful or severe.

You will still be experiencing cravings, and possibly some anxiety, however this is where your mind will feel most clear and you will be completely sober and ready to begin the therapy stages of your treatment.

5. Tackling cravings and withdrawal

Your residential treatment program will combine holistic therapies, individual and group sessions, and behavioural therapies to give you the tools you need to combat cravings and manage your withdrawal.

Aftercare plans and post-rehab support is in place so that you can maintain long-term sobriety and stay motivated!