There will always be a withdrawal period when we consume a substance in large quantities. Caffeine, sugar, and processed foods are examples of substances that cause our bodies to become dependent on them. Upon cessation, our bodies return to normal; drugs have the same effect. 

Your body acclimates to a lack of foreign chemicals when drug use ceases, as drugs change the brain’s chemistry. There is the withdrawal process, which occurs when a set of typical signs and symptoms follow either an abrupt decrease in a drug’s regular dosage or sudden removal. Withdrawal signs and symptoms will vary greatly from one drug to another.

The withdrawal period usually results in overstimulated symptoms when someone has been under the influence of depressant drugs or medications. On the other hand, someone who has taken stimulants or excitatory drugs will experience rebound depression of physiologic function when they cease taking them. 

Because cocaine and benzodiazepines affect different brain regions, it is evident that cocaine withdrawal will differ from benzodiazepine withdrawal. Among the other factors that go into withdrawal periods are how long someone has used drugs, their age, and how much they use.

In some cases, acute withdrawal from drugs can be dangerous in addition to being extremely unpleasant. Those with the desire to stop using may believe they do not need help and can go through the process independently using a method commonly called “cold turkey.” However, this can lead to less-than-desirable results. 

Opioid Withdrawal Period

longest withdrawal

It is believed heroin and prescription pain medication belong to the opioid class. Narcotic analgesics are pain relievers made from the seeds of the poppy plant. Even if used as prescribed, opioids can still lead to addiction because they are some of the most addictive substances on the planet. Even though opioid withdrawal is not dangerous, it is among the most uncomfortable withdrawal periods of any drug. Common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

It is likely you will experience another part of the withdrawal process after the drug leaves your system and the acute withdrawal symptoms have subsided after about a week. The post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is a withdrawal phase that lasts weeks, months, and even years in some cases. 

As long as the drug has left the body, PAWS persists as a constellation of brutally uncomfortable symptoms. In addition to energy loss, concentration, attention span loss, memory loss, sleep loss, appetite loss, and mood impairment, PAWS is characterized by increased depression, anxiety, and anger after long-term opioid use.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Period

Withdrawal can occur in as little as eight to 12 hours following the last use of OxyContin and Percocet because the active ingredient is a powerful synthetic opioid. In addition to peaking around 72 hours, the physical withdrawal symptoms of oxycodone can last up to a full week. On a case-by-case basis, withdrawal duration is determined by the amount, the length of time someone has been using the drug, and how they administered it. 

Heroin Withdrawal Period

Withdrawal from heroin can be especially brutal, as it is one of the most powerful substances available. Heroin is a short-acting opioid, and it begins to work almost immediately, depending on how it is administered. It takes one to two hours for heroin effects to peak and then wear off after three to five hours. 

Withdrawal symptoms can occur as soon as five hours after the drug is taken, and they can last up to 10 days. Heroin withdrawal symptoms may differ from person to person depending on the severity, duration, and symptoms of drug use. 

The Withdrawal Period for Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are depressants of the central nervous system (CNS), decreasing brain activity. They are often called sedatives or tranquilizers, and their withdrawal symptoms can be deadly. To mitigate the dangers of this type of detox, someone serious about quitting benzos must attend a treatment center. The withdrawals can be dangerous and include:

  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis

It is common for benzo withdrawal to result in post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which can last several months while the body adjusts to producing gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). As symptoms subside over time, PAWS requires ongoing therapy to cope with symptoms that can last weeks to years.

Withdrawal Period for Xanax

As soon as the last Xanax dose is taken, withdrawal symptoms can start and peak within one to four days. Medical detox teams can supervise a tapering schedule for Xanax withdrawal due to the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Acute withdrawal symptoms will peak during the second week and begin to subside. General withdrawal symptoms last one to four days.

Valium Withdrawal Period

It is possible to go through valium withdrawal in three to four days, but sometimes people can experience a longer withdrawal phase lasting 10 to 14 days, followed by rebound anxiety. 

Alcohol Withdrawal

Like benzodiazepines and barbiturates, alcohol depresses the central nervous system. It has some of the same withdrawal symptoms as other depressants, and it works in the brain similarly. During withdrawal, alcohol can cause seizures, heart palpitations, cardiac arrest, and delirium. It is among the most dangerous substances. 

Stimulant Withdrawal Period

The drugs stimulate receptors in the brain that produce alertness, increased attention, and energy. Certain neurotransmitters are increased by these drugs. Users may experience uncomfortable symptoms during stimulant withdrawal, but it is not dangerous. Therapists often prescribe depression medications during detox to alleviate depression. Other withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Appetite loss
  • Cravings

Cocaine Withdrawal Period

Cocaine withdrawal has three phases. The first is a crash that occurs after stopping cocaine use, lasting for a few days. This phase is marked by intense feelings of depression and anxiety. Phase two is the withdrawal period, which lasts up to 10 weeks. It is marked by increased cravings, irritability, and fatigue during this period. 

A person still experiences cravings when they are exposed to triggers that remind them of their cocaine use during the extinction phase.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Period

Withdrawal from methamphetamine can begin anywhere from one to five days and last up to eight days, and the half-life ranges between six and 34 hours. Withdrawal from methamphetamine can be very uncomfortable, and those experiencing withdrawal may suffer from aches and pains, depression, impaired social functioning, and persistent withdrawal symptoms. In the same way that cocaine withdrawal symptoms can last up to several years, methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms can last for several years.

Drug Withdrawal Factors

If you enter drug rehab, you may wonder how long withdrawal will last. It is important to know that withdrawal can be impacted by several factors, including the drug you take and the degree of chemical dependence you have. How long withdrawal lasts can be influenced by a number of factors.  

Drug Type

The type of drug you’re taking has a significant impact on your withdrawal timeline. One of the biggest factors is the ability of a drug to create chemical dependence. It has been shown that marijuana can cause psychological dependence that can lead to irritability or discomfort after a long period of use, but it has not been shown to cause powerful chemical dependence that can cause more intense symptoms for longer periods of time. 

In contrast, heroin can cause intense withdrawal symptoms for days due to its chemical dependence.


The term “half-life” is commonly used in chemistry and when discussing radiation—though the two uses mean different things. When it comes to chemistry, it refers to the duration it takes for a chemical to be diminished to half of its original concentration in your blood. A drug’s active time in your system is often determined by this metric. It’s also a good indicator of how long it will be active in your system once it has been processed by your body. 

It may also take longer for your body to adapt to life without drugs with long half-lives since it takes longer for the body to remove the drug. One popular benzo, Xanax, has a half-life of between 12 and 15 hours. Benzodiazepines of the same class can have very different half-lives.


A number of chemicals, including benzodiazepines and alcohol, are harder for your body to process as you age. For common use, depressant medications are usually prescribed over 65 unless there are no alternatives. The older you are, the more likely you are to experience uncomfortable side effects and next-day drowsiness. As you get older, your body may need more time to adjust to life without the drug, resulting in a longer withdrawal period. 

Your Typical Dose

If you are used to a high dose, you will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms more quickly when you quit. If you are used to a high dose, you will experience withdrawal symptoms more quickly. If, however, your body has adapted to using high doses or frequently, it may take longer for you to recover from withdrawal symptoms.

How Long You’ve Been Taking It

To experience the same effects as you felt when you first started using, you may need to increase your dose. Addiction is a progressive disease, and chemical dependence can get worse over time. The body will take longer to recover from chemical dependence if you’ve been using the drug for weeks or months.

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