How Long Does It Take to Recover From an Overdose?

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Factors That Affect the Recovery Period

There is no set time for recovery from a drug overdose. Recovery can range from a few days to weeks or months.

But in most cases, the recovery period is determined by three factors: the kind of drug taken, how much of the drug was consumed, and the person’s history of substance abuse. 

1. Type of Substance Used

The way drugs affect our bodies can vary. Part of the equation falls on the half-life of the drug used. Some drugs have higher half-lives—how long it takes for half of the substance to leave the body—so symptoms may last longer. For example, heroin has a half-life of around 30 minutes. Whereas a drug like LSD has a half-life of almost 4 hours.

However, the half-life is only one part of the issue. Some drugs can have more severe effects that can cause semi-permanent or permanent to the body, such as liver and brain damage. Patients who overdose on drugs with severe effects, might never fully recover.

For understanding the full risks associated with consuming a narcotic, please reach out to a medical professional.

2. Amount Taken

Another factor that affects recovery is the amount of drugs taken. This can be particularly difficult to determine when a patient has been using illicit drugs. For example, opioids are often contaminated with an extremely potent compound known as fentanyl. Fentanyl is active in the microgram range, meaning that an amount the size of a grain of sand can lead to an overdose. However, as a rule of thumb, the more of a compound that has been consumed, the longer the road to recovery. 

3. History of Abuse

In most accidental cases of overdose, treating an overdose can be straightforward. However, for people with a substance abuse history, they are more likely to experience other issues.

The unfortunate truth is that people with a history of substance abuse are more likely to overdose on several substances at once. In addition, their bodily systems may already be vulnerable because of the effects of past substance abuse, making treatment and recovery more difficult.

Long Term Recovery

Although physical recovery from a drug overdose may rectify in 1-2 weeks, the mental effects can linger for months to years. Overdosing on drugs is an extremely traumatic experience that can lead to conditions like PTSD. Moreover, if the underlying issues that led to drug abuse are not dealt with properly, patients can experience relapse. Relapse is particularly dangerous as patients have lost the tolerance built up from their drug abuse. Because of this, those in recovery are more likely to accidentally overdose as they overestimate their ability to tolerate certain doses. 

This is why it is so important for those who have experienced a drug overdose to reach out to a rehabilitation center. Rehab centers have trained professionals and psychologists who are able to find the root cause of drug abuse, helping patients overcome addiction and avoid relapse. 

Treatments Available for Drug Overdose

There are two stages of treatment after an overdose for those with a history of substance abuse: detoxification and rehabilitation. Detoxification involves a visit to a hospital or addiction center. Then comes rehabilitation, which helps address dependency on these addictive substances. 

Immediate Medical Attention

Call 911 if you suspect that a loved one is experiencing an overdose: They need immediate medical attention. Medical professionals know how to reverse the effects of opioids like fentanyl and other drugs.

Once the overdose is no longer a medical emergency, and the person who has overdosed is stable, only then can they enter detoxification treatment. In detoxification, the person will receive treatment that helps to flush out the drugs from their system and helps them to manage withdrawal symptoms.


A person who has experienced a drug overdose can participate in different kinds of therapy. For example, treatment can involve cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, and counseling all of which have been shown to help address the underlying causes of problematic substance use.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication- Assisted Treatment is often used along with some form of behavioral therapy. MAT takes advantage of medications like methadone and buprenorphine to treat overdose symptoms. And these medications can be used to manage withdrawal and help reduce cravings.


A drug rehabilitation center offers a controlled environment for individuals to recover from overdose symptoms and start a path to full recovery. A center also provides the most holistic services, making it the ideal option for recovery.

Why Rehab Is the Ideal Treatment Option

Holistic Treatment Is Available

Every aspect of recovery from drug overdose is covered in rehabilitation facilities like ours. From detoxification to therapy, people who enter rehab can benefit from the many treatments offered.

A holistic approach allows rehab residents to recover much more quickly and reduces the chances of relapse.

Structured Life

Living in a rehabilitation center is managed by schedules that include activities and therapy sessions. The schedule is designed to keep residents from boredom that could tempt them to leave and relapse.

The structure also helps people adapt to new schedules that they can follow once they go home.

Contact Us to Learn More

If you or a loved one is recovering from a drug overdose, enroll in one of the programs. Contact us today for more information about our center.


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According to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study published in 2023, scientists combed through genomic data of over one million people and identified genes
According to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study published in 2023, scientists combed through genomic data of over one million people and identified genes
According to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study published in 2023, scientists combed through genomic data of over one million people and identified genes

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