When you get help for addiction, you must go through several milestones on your way to recovery. One of the most challenging milestones comes near the very start of your sobriety efforts. This is the time when you enter a drug and alcohol detox program and go through substance withdrawal.

Withdrawal is a temporary collection of symptoms, also known as a syndrome. These symptoms appear when drugs or alcohol start to clear your system. Withdrawal doesn’t happen all at once. Instead, it proceeds in stages throughout the detox process. Awareness of the stages of withdrawal is essential to understanding what’s happening to you and why.

Whether you need an alcohol detox or drug detox, the experts at Arkview Recovery will help you cope with withdrawal. Our modern approach to treatment supports you throughout the detox program process. In turn, this support helps you navigate withdrawal as quickly and comfortably as possible.

Stages of Withdrawal

The First Stage: Withdrawal Begins

When you quit drinking or using drugs, any substance still in your system will be gradually eliminated. At some point, your drug or alcohol levels will fall low enough for you to start noticing the change. This is the beginning of Stage I withdrawal.

The specific things you feel at this stage will depend on the source of your addiction. This means that alcohol detox and drug detox produce different effects. It also means that each specific drug or medication class has its own typical withdrawal symptoms.

For example, if you are withdrawing from a benzodiazepine sedative or tranquilizer, you may experience:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Anxiety
  • The reappearance of any other symptoms masked by your medication

Classic symptoms of early-stage alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Stomach upset with nausea and vomiting
  • Minor tremors in your hands or other areas
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiousness

The Second Stage: Withdrawal Grows Worse

The first stage of withdrawal is often relatively mild. As your substance levels continue to fall, the detox process intensifies. Your initial symptoms may become stronger and more pronounced. At the same time, you may begin to experience additional problems. The nature of these problems mostly varies according to the substance you have been using. However, one new symptom is more or less universal: a powerful urge to return to your old pattern of consumption.

The Third Stage: Reaching the Peak and Heading Toward the End

Of all the stages of withdrawal, Stage III may be the most difficult. However, it also marks the beginning of the end. Why is this stage so difficult? Your withdrawal symptoms reach their peak of power as your system tries to readjust to its new state.

In the vast majority of cases, the Stage III peak does not last for long. Instead, you will begin to notice a gradual falloff in your symptoms. This means that most of the hard work of detox is behind you. Unfortunately, a small percentage of people develop complications and require further treatment.

How Long Does Each Stage of the Detox Process Take?

No one can say beforehand exactly how long the stages of withdrawal will last. The same is true for the overall length of the process. There are just too many variables involved to create a timeline that fits everyone. However, your doctor will be able to provide a good rough estimate. Expect full detox to take at least a few days and after that make sure to visit Parkview where they have comprehensive addiction treatment programs in Pennsylvania that can help guide you onto a lasting recovery.

Overcome the Stages of Withdrawal with Arkview Recovery

Our Arkview Recovery team is committed to helping you complete the detox process. We’re equipped to support your safe withdrawal from all types of addictive substances. That’s true even for severe, prolonged cases of drug or alcohol problems. We exclusively rely on modern, evidence-based detox methods.