What Is The Worst Drug To Detox From?

Many people have wondered about what the worst drug to detox from is. Although this seems like a simple question, the answer is not so simple. There are many drugs out there that are very difficult to detox from. However, there are 3 main illegal drugs that can cause a detox that is life-threatening… Here are the worst drugs to detox from.

What Makes A Drug Detox Dangerous?

When you stop taking a drug after an addiction to it, your body responds with withdrawal symptoms. Although every person is different and experiences different withdrawal symptoms during drug detox, there are some drugs that make you more likely to experience life-threatening reactions. These drugs include crystal meth, crack cocaine, and heroin.

Although withdrawal symptoms are an important factor when it comes to drug detox, other things can make a detox dangerous. These include developing mental health issues, the likelihood of experiencing a relapse, and slowed reaction time, and/or having difficulty with controlling muscle movements. The last of which could make certain activities, such as driving a car, extremely dangerous.

What Withdrawal Symptoms Are Dangerous?

Any withdrawal symptom that requires medical attention could become life-threatening if not treated. Withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, coma, heart failure, and respiratory distress can kill within minutes. Therefore, if you are at risk for experiencing these types of withdrawal symptoms it is crucial to undergo your drug detox in either a medical facility such as Briarwood Detox or a qualified inpatient rehab center. However, it is important to remain vigilant during any alcohol or drug detox, because even withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting can become life-threatening in certain situations.

Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is a drug that is very hard on the body, and it can have lasting effects on memory and mental health in chronic users. Although withdrawal symptoms usually are not life-threatening when it comes to crystal meth, it has lasting damaging effects and a high amount of relapses.

How Long Does The Detox Process Last?

Typically, the crystal meth detox process begins with an initial comedown that lasts for about 1 to 2 days. During this time the drug is leaving the body slowly, and no more is replacing it. After that, there is a detox process that usually lasts anywhere between 5 days and 3 weeks. During this time withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable.

In some cases, chronic crystal meth users can experience Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms, or PAWS. These symptoms can last anywhere past the normal 3 week period for up to a year in some cases.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person, and recovering meth addicts could experience all or only some of these symptoms. Common crystal meth withdrawal symptoms include:

  • An increase in appetite
  • Depression and feelings of hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive sleeping and other changes in sleep patterns
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Uncontrollable Body movements and twitches
  • Body aches or pains
  • Slowed reaction time and movements
  • Vivid or lucid dreams (these are usually unpleasant)
  • Mood swings and emotional outbursts

As we have mentioned, some chronic crystal meth users may experience Post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Like with the normal withdrawal symptoms, those experiencing post-acute withdrawal symptoms can experience all or just a couple of these symptoms. Some symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Short term memory problems
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Lasting depression
  • A lack of self-control
  • Cravings
  • Lasting sleep pattern changes and fatigue

Why Is This Detox Dangerous?

Most of the time, the withdrawal symptoms caused by a crystal meth detox are not life-threatening. However, this does not mean that detoxing from crystal meth cannot be dangerous. The meth detox is extremely uncomfortable, especially for those experiencing post-acute withdrawal symptoms. As a result, it is not uncommon for recovering meth addicts to relapse, and occasionally even overdose. In addition to this, slowed reaction time and movements, uncontrollable muscle movements and twitches, and confusion and memory loss can make doing certain activities potentially dangerous during a meth detox.

Crack Cocaine

Crack Cocaine is a difficult and potentially life-threatening drug to detox from, and to undergo a full detox from this drug is crucial.

How Long Does the Detox Process Last?

Typically, a detox from crack cocaine lasts about 3 to 4 weeks with the first 72 hours being the most intense. Withdrawal symptoms change throughout this period.

Withdrawal Symptoms

As we have mentioned, withdrawal symptoms usually change over this drug detox course. Here we will list all of the common crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms and map out the average timeline as well. The common more long term withdrawal symptoms of crack cocaine include:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Agitation and Irritability
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Body aches and pains
  • Shaking

The typical timeline for a crack cocaine detox

24-72 Hours: The first 24-72 hours are usually the most intense during a crack cocaine detox. During this time recovering addicts can experience paranoia, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, cravings, and even hallucinations. Paranoia and hallucinations usually subside at the end of this period.

Week 1: At this point symptoms like fatigue, irritability, insomnia, and anxiety often either carry over or set in. Depression can occur during this point as well.

Week 2: Depression and anxiety usually set in at this point if it hasn’t already, and cravings worsen.

Weeks 3-4: At this point, physical drug cravings have usually subsided, but psychological cravings often remain. Depression and anxiety can continue beyond this point as well.

Why Is This Detox Dangerous?

It can seem to be extremely difficult to achieve sober living during a crack cocaine detox. This is one of the main reasons why this detox can be dangerous, as relapses and overdoses can occur.


Heroin is an extremely difficult and dangerous drug to detox from. Like meth, heroin can cause post-acute withdrawal symptoms, and the withdrawal symptoms of heroin can range from relatively mild to very severe.

How Long Does The Detox Process Last?

Typically, withdrawal symptoms set in at around 6 to 12 hours after the final dose. The entire detox process usually lasts for about a week with the peak being anywhere from 1 to 3 days after the last dose. However, post-acute withdrawal symptoms can happen, and these can last anywhere between a couple of weeks to years in some cases.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from heroin range from mild to severe, so it is recommended that everyone planning to undergo a heroin detox do so at a qualified rehab facility. Like with any other drug, recovering heroin addicts can experience many or just a few of these symptoms. Common heroin withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain/ cramps
  • Cravings
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • Runny nose
  • Body aches and pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Tremors and muscle spasms
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Hypertension
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulties with breathing

Why Is This Detox Dangerous?

Not only is there a risk of experiencing a relapse or overdose, but some of heroin’s withdrawal symptoms can be deadly as well. As a result, it is crucial that every recovering heroin addict undergo detox in a place with adequate 24-hour medical care such as at an inpatient drug rehab facility.

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