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What to Expect Your First Day of Detox

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The thought of getting sober can be scary for some. But while many are concerned about the lifestyle change, they are even more concerned about the physical symptoms they may experience during the detox process.

Duration and Intensity of Symptoms

TV shows such as Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and Intervention have highlighted the worst of these symptoms and shown patients in extreme discomfort or even requiring medical attention during the process. It’s extremely important that you check into a detox center that is supervised by trained medical professionals. Due to the often severe withdrawal symptoms, attempting to kick drugs on your own can be dangerous at best and deadly at worst. While it may be unpleasant, people successfully go through detox every day and a life of sobriety. If you're heading to a detox program, here's a look at the mental and physical effects you might expect during your first 24 hours without drugs.


Withdrawal symptoms can start in the first 24 hours after their last dose of the drug and last anywhere from two days to a week, depending on the individual and the depth of their drug addiction. The main cocaine detox symptom is fatigue and exhaustion because the body has gotten used to the artificial energy cocaine provides and needs time to start producing its own energy. A lack of positive emotions is also common because the body needs to learn how to produce these feelings without the drug. Other symptoms include stress, anxiety, irritability and mood swings. But while these symptoms are certainly unpleasant, none are life threatening.


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can start anywhere from eight to 12 hours after the last drink and typically come in four stages. The first stage can include tremors, headache, vomiting, sweating and anxiety. This usually subsides after the first 24 hours. About 25 percent of alcohol abusers will experience a second stage that involves hallucinations 12 to 24 hours after they have stopped drinking. The third stage can include seizures, but only affects about 10 percent of withdrawal patients. This takes place anywhere from 6 to 48 hours after the last alcohol consumption. Approximately 30 percent of patients will experience the final stage of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, known as delirium tremens, in the three to four days after their last drink. This involves symptoms such as tremors, rapid heartbeat, fever and hallucination. About 15 percent of patients in this stage who aren’t receiving medical treatment will die from symptoms such as respiratory or cardiovascular collapse.


Withdrawal symptoms will start within the first 24 hours of last using the drug. These can include hallucinations, severe depression, an increased appetite and intense feelings of fatigue. There are typically two phases of meth withdrawal; the first involves intense symptoms that can last up to two weeks, followed by less intense symptoms that can last two to three weeks. Chronic meth users may experience symptoms months after their last dose.

Prescription Pills

Withdrawal reactions can occur anywhere from 12 to 30 hours after the last dose of opiates are taken. There are typically two phases of withdrawal. Early symptoms can include muscled aches, insomnia and sweating. The second phase includes later symptoms such ad diarrhea, goose bumps, nausea and cramping. For those who have abused opioids, these symptoms will be unpleasant, but not life-threatening. Learn more about the drug and alcohol detox methods available in your area.. Photo Source: flickr