Withdrawal Timelines for The Top 10 Addictions

Withdrawal Timelines for The Top 10 Addictions


Learn about the withdrawal timelines for the ten most commonly abused substances that lead people to seek out help in recovering from addiction.  More than 20 million Americans aged 12 and over suffer from a substance use disorder.1

The 10 Most Common Addictive Substances

These are the 10 most common substances that typically need a detox period before treatment can begin:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Barbiturates
  3. Benzodiazepines
  4. Cocaine
  5. Heroin
  6. Inhalants
  7. Marijuana
  8. Nicotine
  9. Opioids
  10. Stimulants

Americans Suffering From Substance Use Disorders

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 65.6% of Americans over the age of 12 have used, abused, or misused the top 10 addictive substances. More than 58% of that figure is due to nicotine or alcohol use. Many people aged 12 and over have become victims of addiction to these various substances in that year.2

At least 14.8 million people report having an alcohol use disorder

4.4 million are dependent on marijuana use

977,000 people suffer from cocaine use disorder

About 526,000 persons have a heroin addiction

An estimated 561,000 abused stimulants

751,000 people used barbiturates

2 million people had an addiction to opioids

An estimated 47 million people continue to use nicotine products

About 576,000 people misused inhalants

5.4 million misused prescription benzodiazepines

Addiction Recovery Often Includes Detox

A person who is recovering from a substance use disorder may have withdrawal symptoms when stopping the use of drugs or alcohol. It’s very helpful to know what to expect before undergoing the detox process.

When there is knowledge ahead of time to which symptoms to expect, how long withdrawal will take, and how the process will work, the person is likely to feel much less anxious about this important step towards recovery.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timelines

When someone with an alcohol use disorder stops drinking, they may very well experience withdrawal symptoms. Various symptoms will occur within a number of hours after a person has had their last drink.

According to a New England Journal of Medicine article, about 50% of people with an alcohol use disorder suffer some symptoms of withdrawal when they stop drinking.3

The first signs of alcohol withdrawal will begin about 6 hours after having the last drink.

The symptoms will usually be mild but noticeable at this time. Someone who’s been a heavy drinker for many years, though, may have a seizure after just 6 hours of having the last alcoholic drink.

After 6 hours without a drink, symptoms may include:

Feelings of anxiety

Trembling hands and legs