How Long Do Drugs Stay In Your System?

By Nashville Detox

When a person abuses drugs for a long period of time their body will develop a tolerance. This creates a scenario in which larger quantities of the substance are needed in order to produce similar euphoric effects. Eventually, the person becomes so dependent on the substance that they need it to function in their daily life. Failing to get their fix brings a flood of painful withdrawal symptoms that can be extremely difficult to deal with.

Withdrawal is the body’s attempt to reestablish normalcy by flushing out the foreign substance along with its associated toxins. Withdrawal can be an intense process that ranges from uncomfortable to potentially dangerous. In extreme cases, drug detox should take place in a controlled environment and supervised by professionals.

How Long Does It Take To Detox from Drugs?

The amount of time a drug remains in your system depends on several factors, including:

– Type of drug 
– Quantity of drug
– Frequency of usage
– Levels of hydration
– The drug’s lifespan
– Rate of metabolism
– User’s weight 
– Gender

When a long-time user is detoxing from drugs, it is highly recommended that they do so under the supervision of professionals. A supervised detox process keeps patients safe while decreasing the severity of withdrawal symptoms. The duration of the detox process for each substance can vary and also depends on whether or not multiple substances are being detoxed simultaneously. If this is the case, the process will take longer and withdrawal symptoms can be more severe.

Additionally, detox times can significantly vary when prescription drugs are involved. This is because many prescription drugs are time-released. Time-released drugs typically take longer to clear the system due to their slower metabolic rates.

The following drugs can be detected using a standard urine test for the following durations:

– Alcohol: 12-24 hours
– Cocaine: 2-3 days
– Heroin: 1-3 days
– Marijuana: 7-21 days
– MDMA: 2-4 days
– Methamphetamine: 2-3 days

It is worth noting that these time frames represent traceability, not the timeline for experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can last for several weeks. In extreme cases, withdrawal symptoms can become acute and last for months or even years. Most common among recovering opioid addicts, it is possible to develop a condition called Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). Drug replacement therapies are an effective way to combat PAWS.

Drug Testing

A drug test is a specialized analysis of a biological sample to determine the absence or presence of a specific drug or its metabolites. There are various reasons for a drug test. These include:

– Probation 
– Employment
– Forensic or legal bases 
– Divorce or child custody cases
– Sports protocols 

Drugs can be detected in your system using different types of drug tests. The type of test selected depends on the intent for running the test. While some screenings test for recent drug usage, others can detect the presence of drugs used several days beforehand. Common-known drug tests include urine, hair, blood, and saliva.

Urine Test

A urine test is the most common due to its ease, affordability, and rapid results. A urine test can easily detect recent usage of a commonly known drug substance.

Hair Test

A hair test is the most accurate and effective as the ability to forge results is nearly impossible. A hair test detects drug usage over an extended period of time, usually up to ninety days. However, it’s costly, and the results take much longer compared to other drug tests.

What Is Drug Detoxification?

Drug detoxification, commonly referred to as drug detox, is the process of eliminating drugs from the body. The primary purpose of a drug detox process is to safely manage withdrawal symptoms during a sudden stoppage of drug use.

Eliminating drugs from your system often leads to withdrawal symptoms. These can include insomnia, fatigue, mood disruption, nausea, headaches, chills, excessive sweating, shaking, and tremors. 

People experience the effects of the detoxification process differently. It can take days, even months, for a drug detox to be successful. This process is contingent on what drug it is, the method of use, duration of use, genomic sequence, and pre-existing medical conditions. The drug detoxification process occurs naturally or by medication. Medication is required if the severity of the addiction is extreme.

Professionally Supervised Drug Detox Programs 

The two main drug detox programs are inpatient and outpatient. Doctors rarely recommend outpatient programs unless the addiction severity is minor or the cost is too much. Outpatient programs involve regular check-ins at the drug detox center and medication to treat the addiction.

Doctors will recommend an inpatient program if there’s a high chance of relapse. During an inpatient program, the patient will reside at the drug detox center until they can manage the addiction independently.

Nashville Detox Center

Drug detox is not a seamless process. Changes in your chemical composition are altered, which results in a variety of side effects. Before entering a drug detox center, you should first know what to anticipate. It will help significantly to prepare you both physically and mentally for the drug detoxification process.


If you or a loved one is in need of a professionally supervised drug detox, contact Nashville Detox Center today. Our team is standing by and ready to help get you started on the road to recovery.

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