Addiction is not just a strong preference but also a compulsion to use or continue using drugs despite negative consequences. When an addict goes through detox, the goal is to restore the brain and body to their natural state. Detoxification doesn’t actually “cure” addiction—it only relieves withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings so that treatment can be more effective.
What determines the length of detox? The problem is that there are no two people with the same physiology, so it’s highly individualized question. In this article, we will discuss the factors that determine the length of detox.
Factors That Determine The Length of Detox
The Type of Drug
While all drugs are different, most street drugs tend to work on similar neurotransmitter pathways. They also all produce withdrawal symptoms that are also similar. The main difference between drugs is their half-life. For example, while cocaine and heroin last around 1-2 hours in the brain and body, alcohol can stay in the body for several hours or days, depending upon the person.
The Quantity of Drugs Consumed
While some drugs can be lethal in extremely small quantities, the number of doses consumed also affects the length of detox. For example, someone who ingests 100 milligrams (mg) of club drug GHB would require a shorter detox than someone who consumes 1 gram as this is a 5x stronger dose. Heroin is more deadly than alcohol and requires a longer detox based on their respective withdrawal symptoms.
The Age of the Drug User
This is one of the most important factors. Younger users may be more likely to abuse multiple drugs, while older people opt for a more holistic approach to drug use. A user’s age can also determine how quickly they will leave their addiction.
The Nature of the Drug
The nature of the drug determines how quickly it leaves the body and brain. Heroin is more difficult to detox from and requires a longer period of time off than oral opiates. Ketamine, which is a dissociative anesthetic, has no ceiling on how long it can stay in the body; therefore, it can put someone at great risk for addiction.
The Source of Drugs
The source of drugs can also greatly affect the length of detox. Someone who ingests their drugs through injection may need a longer detox to get rid of all traces of the drug. However, someone who uses a pill or smoked marijuana would need a shorter length of time to detox.
The Physical Health of the User
This is another important factor that affects duration. If someone is significantly underweight and has other health complications that could put them at risk for death, their detox length and the overall length of their recovery will be greatly increased. Many addicts become hypothyroid, leading to fatigue, weight loss, and low energy levels to regulate their bodies’ natural chemistry.
The Mental Health of the User
Those with a history of mental illness or addiction are at greater risk for relapse. Those who have been using drugs for a long time often consider drug use as part of their lifestyle, so it’s difficult for them to adjust to abstinence. Therefore, it is important to detox under supervision and gets into treatment before the drug completely leaves their system.
Their Living Conditions
Where they live also determines the length of detox. Homeless people will require a longer detox than someone with a stable living situation, because they may have trouble accessing healthcare and healthcare workers during their withdrawal period. They also may find it harder to remain abstinent, as they can easily access drugs on the street.
The Drug History of the User
Types of drug use can also affect the length of detox. Someone who has a history or other issues with alcohol and drug abuse may require a longer detox than someone whose main addiction is opiates.
In conclusion, the length of detox is determined by a few different factors. While it varies from person to person, there are some general rules for determining the length of detox. The drug type you were taking will determine how short or long the detox period will be, and your individual physiology may also play a role. If you need any help with your detox, please contact us today at 833.970.2054.