Alcohol detox and drug detox programs differ in several key ways. In both cases, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms—which are the physical or mental reactions of your body when deprived of a given drug—depend on the duration of an addiction, the type of substance a user was addicted to, the quantity that was typically taken, and biological factors such as weight and genetic makeup.
Alcohol detox programs are considered much more dangerous than other types of detox. This is because the withdrawal symptoms are dominantly physical instead of psychological. These physical symptoms can be severe in some cases. That’s why it is imperative that recovering addicts check into a rehab facility instead of quitting cold turkey. Once the substance leaves the system, symptoms set in in as little as 8 hours. From that point, it can take up to one and a half weeks for the full cycle of withdrawals to run its course.
During that time, recovering addicts can experience minor symptoms, such as hand tremors, interrupted sleep, sweating, nausea, and heart palpitations. In more severe cases, hallucinations—visual and auditory—occur, along with severe mental confusion, the potential for seizures, and even the possibility of death.
Drug detoxification is also dangerous, but the symptoms tend to be psychological instead of physical. They can also last for up to one month. While symptoms differ from drug to drug, there are some universal reactions that most detox patients experience.
Some of the most common symptoms of drug detox include anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, mood swings, and muscle aches. As drug detoxification progresses, symptoms can include psychosis, which can entail hallucinations and delusional thinking. In some cases, anhedonia is experienced, which is the inability to feel pleasure.