Drug Addiction Treatment: Examining the Timeline for Substance Abuse Recovery


If you’ve decided to enter a rehab program for your addiction, you’ll need to follow a timeline. Therefore, each step of the recovery process will take a specific amount of time. As a result, the amount of time you spend will depend on several criteria.

While some people get through detox fairly fast, others might take a good deal longer. Your detox treatment, on average, will last one to two weeks. However, this figure is not set in stone. For example, if you’re trying to detox from alcohol, it may take about a week to clear the alcohol from your system. However it will take longer if your drinking has gotten out of control or you drink quite heavily.

In some cases, you may need to taper off the drugs you’ve been regularly taking. One of the most dangerous drugs tapered from the system is the anxiety medication known as benzodiazepine.

The Timeline for Tapering for Drug Addiction Treatment

When tapering is used in detox, it can take 8 to 12 weeks or longer to go through detox in a drug addiction treatment program. In this case, a span of 8 to 12 weeks is considered a fairly fast timeline. People who are older who have taken benzodiazepine for a year or more usually follow a detox schedule of 6 months to a year.


The length of time varies due to the type of drug abused, the patient’s age, their medical history, their physical and mental tolerance, and their chance for a relapse.

Withdrawal times may also be based on whether you combined drugs, the length of the abuse, and the manner in which the drugs were taken. In addition, the amount of drug use factors into the withdrawal equation.

While detox, on average, lasts 1 to 2 weeks, expect it to last longer if you’ve over-indulged, are an older user, suffer from other health issues, or have had a history of relapse. How you use the time you have in detox is far more important than the timeline you’re expected to follow.

Your Timeline for Rehab

In most cases, your time spent in rehab will last from 1 to 3 months, depending, again, on the severity of your drug use and your medical history and health. During this time, you will undergo counseling to prevent future drug use and learn the correct responses for preventing a relapse.

Once you transition to the mainstream, it typically takes 6 months to a year of outpatient and post-rehab care. You may want to take part in an ongoing after-care program if you wish to continue with group therapy.

Keeping the Focus on Getting Better

If your withdrawal involves tapering, you may need to plan a schedule of 6 months or longer. Inhouse rehab can take as long as 3 months while living sober and taking part in outpatient services can last 6 months to a year.