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5 minutes

How to Clean Your System and Safely Detox from Substance Abuse

Medically Reviewed
Last Medically Reviewed on: June 25, 2022
A frustrated woman

Updated on

22 Jun, 2022

Substance abuse’s effects on the user can devastate the individual’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being. As such, many people that suffer in the grips of addiction try over and over to detox their system of drug abuse to live a life free from their addiction. However, if one doesn’t know how to safely detox their system from drug abuse, the withdrawal symptoms experienced by detoxing their body can do the user more harm than good.

Therefore, the first step one needs to take in the recovery process is to learn how to detox from drugs safely. Then, after learning how to do this safely and effectively, action must be taken to avoid any potentially life-threatening conditions from continuing their drug addiction. These proactive measures are vital to ensure the individual not only recovers safely but can maintain long-term recovery after the detox process has ended.

How to Safely Clean Your System from Substance Abuse

There are many ways in which someone suffering from a substance abuse disorder can detox from a drug. However, not all of them prove safe or beneficial for the user. As such, when considering detoxing off a drug, it is best to speak with a clinical professional that can help guide you through the detoxification process. Furthermore, especially in the case of a serious, life-threatening addiction, one would most benefit from attending an inpatient drug rehab center that can help safely guide the individual toward a drug-free body.

An inpatient drug rehab center is unique because they have trained medical staff on hand 24/7 so that the individual’s health and well-being are well-taken care of if any medical emergency may arise. Furthermore, inpatient rehab offers the person suffering from substance abuse a distraction and temptation-free environment in which they can most easily recover from drug abuse. This has been the most proven and effective way of sustaining long-term recovery once transitioning out of rehab.

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System When You Decide to Clean & Detox

As many variables affect the amount of time that a substance takes to detox out of one’s body, including age, weight, sex, physical health, type of drug taken, amount of the drug taken, and duration it was abused, there is no one exact time that everyone experiences a full detox from a particular drug. However, there are common threads that most people experience withdrawal and detox from substance abuse.

One way the FDA measures how long a drug stays in the system is through urine drug tests (however, remember that the drug can still impact the body even if the particular substance appears to have passed through). The typical amount of time that a drug will be able to be detected by a drug test includes:

  • MDMA: 2-4 days
  • Cocaine: 2-3 days
  • Marijuana/THC: 1-7 days
  • Meth: 2-3 days

As previously stated, this list is not all-inclusive. This is just stating what is generally seen. Each individual has different body mechanisms and rates at which drugs are metabolized. Therefore, there is no way to easily and accurately predict when each individual will experience a full detox from the drug.

Similar to how other drugs are processed and metabolized in the body at different rates, many factors also influence how long alcohol stays in a person’s body. However, alcohol is typically eliminated from the bloodstream at about 0.015 per hour. This means that alcohol can appear in a blood test for up to 12 hours. Additionally, alcohol can be detected in the urine for up to 3-5 days in advance procedures and 10-12 hours with more traditional methods. Alcohol stays in hair follicles the longest, up to 90 days.

Furthermore, each drug has a specific half-life, or the amount of time it takes to decrease a substance by half. This can impact the user and how quickly they detox from the drug.

Typical half-lives of the following drugs are:

  • Heroin: Somewhere between 2-6 minutes
  • Cocaine: Around 1 hour
  • Marijuana/THC: Between 4-6 days
  • Methamphetamine: Around 11 hours
  • MDMA: About 8 hours

Once again, there is variation in the amount of time each drug will be reduced in an individual’s body due to genetic factors and how severe the addiction is. Therefore, one must seek the help of a medical professional that can provide the safety measures needed when detoxing off a drug.

How To Best Clean Your System from an Addiction

Because addiction is multifaceted, often stemming from root causes that have nothing to do with the actual addiction, one suffering from drug addiction must approach their recovery through a holistic, well-rounded approach. As previously stated, the best way to recover from an addiction is to seek help through an inpatient drug rehab facility. Finding a facility that treats drug addiction through an all-inclusive approach, including creating a treatment plan for your unique needs, is vital in ensuring your recovery will last in the long run. As such, inpatient drug rehabs that employ counselors or therapists specializing in drug addiction are one of the best ways to guarantee that the heart of the addiction is addressed so that the desire to cope with drugs once out of rehab will not surface again. This is a key factor in sustaining sobriety once transitioning out of rehab.

Furthermore, finding a rehab that understands co-occurring disorders and how to treat them is imperative to your recovery. Because many disorders can trigger the need for drugs or vice-versa, addressing both disorders will ensure the individual will leave the treatment feeling confident that they can sustain their sobriety even when challenges come their way.

The time to seek help for drug addiction is now. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and are seeking rehab in San Antonio, Austin, or elsewhere in Texas, do not let another moment go by. Get started on your detox journey now and see how the help and support of others can completely transform your life from the inside out. Your future self will thank you that you took the time to invest in your well-being and sobriety today.


Infinite Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial guidelines and medical review policy.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heroin | CDC’s Response to the Opioid Overdose Epidemic | CDC. Published May 23, 2022. Accessed June 25, 2022.
  2. MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly): Effects, Hazards & Extent of Use. Accessed June 25, 2022.
  3. Medline Plus. Cocaine. Accessed June 25, 2022.
  4. Lee W. Crystal Meth: What You Should Know. WebMD. Published April 19, 2022. Accessed June 25, 2022.
  5. Hallare J, Gerriets V. Half Life. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed June 25, 2022.
  6. Food and Drug Administration. Drugs of Abuse Home Use Test. FDA. Published online November 3, 2018. Accessed June 25, 2022.

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Amanda Stevens, BS

Medical Content Writer

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being a mother to two beautiful children.

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