When people talk about drug detox, they’re typically referring to one of two very different things: the act of detoxing from a substance, or a detox program undertaken at a professional detox clinic. Detoxing from drugs or alcohol involves clearing the body of substances and managing any withdrawal symptoms that occur. How to detox your body from drugs the most effectively will vary based on how long, how often, and how much of the particular drug you usually take.
How Your Body Processes Drugs
Every individual’s metabolism is unique, and because of this, everyone has a different experience with detox. How long a drug remains in your system varies between individuals, different drugs, and different routes of administration. Drugs that have to be processed by the stomach will take longer to take effect and stay in your system longer than drugs that are smoked, snorted, or injected intravenously.
Most people who are thinking about drug detox want to know the fastest way to detox your body of drugs. But if you’re a regular user, it can take days or even months to get through the detoxification process for most drugs. And while there are products that claim to help speed up detoxification, the only way to detox your body from drugs is to wait for your organs to do the work.
After taking a drug, your body processes it and releases chemicals that affect your brain, causing the high. However, as your kidneys filter toxins from your blood and your liver processes chemicals found in the digestive tract, the chemicals causing a high are slowly removed from your system. They’re then excreted, typically through sweat, saliva, and urine.
The byproducts of these chemicals—what remains after the active drug has been processed by your body—can be found in your sweat, saliva, and urine for long periods of time, even after you’ve stopped using the drug. Certain drugs can even leave traces in your hair and skin and can be detected for months afterward.
How Long Will Drugs Stay in Your System?
There is no way to completely predict just how long a drug will take to be eliminated from your body. The only way to know you’ll pass a drug test is to abstain from drugs. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, some average times that drugs will continue to show up in a urine drug test include the following:
- Heroin: one to three days
- Cocaine: two to three days
- Marijuana/THC: one to seven days
- Meth: two to three days
- MDMA: two to four days
Though people often recommend drinking excessive amounts of water or taking special pills to help speed up detox and pass drug tests, these solutions don’t actually help your body process and dispose of drugs any faster. Rather, they just dilute urine to make the byproducts of drugs more difficult to spot.
These get-clean-quick strategies can cause damage to kidney function and other health problems. And in most cases, they don’t even work. They often fail to get their desired effect because most modern drug testing kits will flag urine samples that seem too diluted. If you find yourself worrying about how to detox your body from drugs quickly, it’s probably time to think about how drug use is affecting your life.
The only surefire way to detox your body from drugs is to complete a detox program designed to monitor you and keep you healthy while your body processes every last trace of the drugs in your body. But detoxing from drugs can be dangerous. And the withdrawal symptoms that can accompany this process can range from being severely uncomfortable to life-threatening.
The Dangers of Drug Detox
Quitting drugs cold turkey on your own simply isn’t safe. Some drugs can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, such as hallucinations, seizures, and heart attacks. Protracted withdrawal symptoms can also lead to mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and intense cravings that may lead to irrational behavior. That’s why withdrawal is best managed with the help of medical detox programs.
Undergoing a medical detox program under the care of medical and mental health professionals can help better manage the potentially painful withdrawal symptoms from severe addiction. Detoxing carries with it the risk of medical complications and, if they should occur, it’s best to have access to immediate treatment.
A medically supervised detox can be completely natural—meaning, without using prescribed medication—but still take place in a medical setting. In this scenario, you’ll have access to doctor supervision and, if needed, medical intervention. Medically supervised detox is a much safer way to take the first step in conquering addiction than going it alone.
What’s the Best Drug Detox Program for Me?
When figuring out how you want to detox your body from drugs, you have to take into account the unique conditions of your substance use, how long you’ve been using, your financial resources, and your personal commitment to recovery.
When it comes to how to detox your body from drugs, finding a drug detox program that accepts insurance is important. At Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, we accept many commercial insurances as well as Medicare for detox, because we want as many people as possible to get help in addiction recovery.
Drug detox programs can be offered on an inpatient or outpatient basis, meaning that programs vary between in-house residential programs or daily visits to a detox facility. Inpatient treatment will often be the most appropriate option for those at risk for complications during withdrawal.
Inpatient detox programs present the best chance possible for those struggling with kicking drug addiction, as it helps control your environment and remove influences that may convince you to relapse.
Co-occurring mental health issues may also factor into an inpatient treatment recommendation from your doctor or other treatment professional. Many factors determine the length of stay for inpatient detox. Though the average length of detox is ten days or fewer according to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), many people can expect to remain in detox for just a few days to a week.
An assessment by a substance abuse treatment provider will help determine the best way to detox your body from drugs.
Finding Professional Detox Help
If you’re ready to start the process of recovery with a treatment team that will help you avoid relapse down the line, our admissions specialists are on standby and ready to help you get started.
At Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, our detox and dual diagnosis programs include discharge planning and relapse prevention. We start working with you on your discharge plan the moment you start with treatment with us, because we understand that recovery is a lifelong process that will continue long after you leave our facility. Other key features of our inpatient programming include:
- 24/7 care, ensuring the patient remains safe and as comfortable as possible
- Group therapies
- Intensive treatment with daily therapeutic activities
- Evidence-based therapies that build long-term recovery skills
To learn more about how to start your recovery you contact us online or call our admissions staff at 937-483-4930. Whether it’s time to detox your body from drugs or pursue inpatient rehab, we’re here to help you take the next step in recovery.