What Happens To Your Body During Drug Withdrawal?

Your Body During Drug Withdrawal

Drug withdrawal is a challenging phase that occurs when a person stops or reduces the intake of addictive substances. This process involves both physical and psychological symptoms as the body adjusts to the absence of the drug. Understanding what happens during drug withdrawal can offer valuable insights into this complex, often painful experience.

The Science of Withdrawal

Drugs, whether they are prescription medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol, can create dependency. When these substances are used regularly, the body adapts to their presence. The brain, in particular, becomes used to the drug’s effects, altering its chemistry and functioning. Once the drug is removed, the body needs time to readjust to its absence, leading to a range of withdrawal symptoms.

Physical Symptoms of Drug Withdrawal

Changes in Sleep Patterns: Insomnia is a common symptom during drug withdrawal. Conversely, some individuals may find themselves sleeping more than usual. The quality of sleep is often poor, with frequent awakenings and restless nights.

Gastrointestinal Disturbances: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are common in withdrawal, especially in the case of opioids and alcohol. These symptoms can lead to dehydration and nutritional deficiencies.

Flu-like Symptoms: Many experience symptoms akin to a severe flu. This includes muscle aches, headache, sweating, runny nose, and fever or chills.

Heart Rate and Blood Pressure Changes: Withdrawal can cause fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure, potentially leading to palpitations, chest pain, or feelings of lightheadedness.

Seizures and Tremors: In severe cases, particularly with alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal, individuals may experience seizures or tremors, which can be life-threatening.

Psychological Symptoms of Drug Withdrawal

Anxiety and Agitation: Many individuals report heightened feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and agitation. These feelings can range from general unease to severe panic attacks.

Depression and Mood Swings: Depression is a common withdrawal symptom, often accompanied by mood swings and irritability. In some cases, individuals may experience suicidal thoughts.

Cravings: Intense cravings for the substance are typical, driven by both physical dependency and psychological factors.

Cognitive Impairment: Withdrawal can impact cognitive functions, leading to difficulties in concentration, memory, and decision-making.

Hallucinations and Paranoia: In severe cases, such as with prolonged alcohol abuse, withdrawal can lead to hallucinations, extreme confusion, and paranoia, a condition known as delirium tremens (DTs).

The Phases of Drug Withdrawal

  1. Early Phase: The early phase typically begins within hours to a few days after the last dose, depending on the substance. Symptoms usually start mild and progressively worsen.
  2. Peak Phase: Symptoms generally peak in intensity during this phase. The duration and severity depend on the drug type, level of dependency, and individual health factors.
  3. Subsiding Phase: Gradually, symptoms begin to subside. This phase can last from days to weeks. Some symptoms, especially psychological ones, may persist longer in a period known as protracted withdrawal or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

Factors Influencing Withdrawal Experience

Several factors can influence the withdrawal experience, including:

  • Type and Duration of Drug Use: Longer use and higher doses typically result in more severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Polydrug Abuse: Using multiple substances can complicate and intensify withdrawal.
  • Individual Health and Genetics: Overall health, genetics, and individual metabolism play a role in how withdrawal symptoms manifest.
  • Psychological Factors: Pre-existing mental health conditions can exacerbate withdrawal symptoms.

Managing Withdrawal

Professional medical supervision during withdrawal is crucial, especially for substances like alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids. Treatment options include:

  • Detoxification Programs: Medically supervised detox programs provide a safe environment for managing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): MAT can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings, particularly in opioid and alcohol dependency.
  • Supportive Care: This includes hydration, nutritional support, and addressing any co-occurring health issues.

Drug withdrawal is a challenging and complex process that affects both the body and mind. Understanding the phases and symptoms of withdrawal is crucial for those undergoing detoxification. It’s important to seek professional help during this process, as withdrawal can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, dangerous. Remember, the discomfort of withdrawal is temporary and a crucial step towards recovery and a healthier life.


  1. Drug withdrawal seems very harsh on anyone. So, I think that no one should consume it or avoid it seeing its hazardous effects.

  2. When one is addicted to anything, withdrawal from it will cause unpleasant experience to the body system. If one can endure, it will be better for such a person.

  3. The symptoms gradually fade during this time. Most people who quit taking their antidepressants stop having symptoms after three weeks. Thanks for sharing this blog.

  4. Oh! This is a great eye opener. It’s more than just an article, but a full bank of knowledge. Detox to Rehab, you’re highly appreciated.

  5. Withdrawal from drug and alcohol addiction isn’t easy but if the victim can take the bold step, the better for him or her. Thanks for this piece of information.

  6. Oh! Great information. This is what I’ve been looking for. Thank you guys for sharing this. It’s so helpful.

  7. It is not always easy to leave a bad habit. Several temptations that will take one back will arise. This post will definitely help those who want to have a withdrawal from substance abuse.

  8. This causes alot of havoc to the body because after been with held from drugs it causes different harmful symptoms to the entire system.it was a nice write-up.

  9. Body system will find it difficult to adjust or acclamatise. In as much the person involved can endure it, joy will be the end result.

  10. It is not an easy task to flee from that which one has been used to in life. But one need to know that there’s better life outside drug addicts. Thank you for sharing this educative information about addiction.

  11. Withdrawing from addictions generally isn’t an easy feat. Gotta be gradual and done with patience. Great article by the way. Thanks again Detoxtorehab.

  12. The body finds it hard to adjust when trying to withdraw from drug. Hence, the withdrawal comes with great cost since the body is adapted to those drugs.

  13. All manners of things happens to the whole body. After been withdrawn from drugs it causes alot of risk to the human health.

  14. Never knew the body undergo a lot of issues when it comes to withdrawal of drugs. I think the best bet is to avoid depending totally on drugs.

  15. Indeed, I am aware of symptoms of withdrawal. This piece of information is truly educative and informative.

  16. This step will severely disable the body system. If consistency is allowed, the body will get adjusted to it

  17. During withdrawing from addictions the body will want to ask for more of the drugs you were used to. Total recovery demands your strong determination.

  18. Been withdrawn from drugs it’s a great step to take. Because the moment you step back from all kinds of drug abuse the higher the amount of symptoms you receive.

  19. Withdrawal from drugs brings a lot of discomfort and life threatening experience to addicts. The best way to avoid such experience is not to go into drugs addiction at any point in time of your life.

  20. WITHDEAWAL will always be hard. However this is good as I can or we can now be specific about this. A very good read. Very imformative even for me.

  21. Just like the way one felt during the first intake, this feeling during withdrawal will be much severe due to the fact that the body system is used to the drug and alcohol. Thanks for this piece of information.

  22. The body will become weaken and restless due to its adjust to drugs and alcohol. Thank you for these submissions.

  23. I know insomnia and instability would be among the effects of drugs withdrawal. the body tend to go through the sleepless period. one will always find it difficult to sleep.

  24. The side effects of drug withdrawal is too scary and can scare and addicts who wants to quit off. Proper and professional attention is needed so that one won’t regret it.

  25. I enjoy reading this interesting piece of writing. I have learnt more about the symptoms of withdrawal from drugs. It’s very nice.

  26. Is it not possible to stop the manufacturing of these hard drugs? Seeing people being affected by this activity, the government at various levels should take the bull by the horn.

  27. WIthdrawal from drugs comes with a lot of uncomfortable symptoms. The best way to avoid these symptoms is not to get involved in drug addiction.

  28. The body system will experience unpleasant situation which will make life unbearable for the victim. Thanks for this piece of information.

  29. The body system will experience unpleasant situation which will make life unbearable for the victim. Thanks for this piece of information, Detox To Rehab.

  30. This article is really educative, informative and well detailed. Withdrawing from drugs isbttge best option. I’m grateful if reading this

  31. I know it takes a lot from individuals who are withdrawing from drugs, but it is there ability for them to be able to endure the process. So they can recover fro their addiction.

  32. I do feel for all those for all those going through the process of withdrawal. Reading this really gives me the shivers and makes me wants to stay further away from drugs, I do pray never to fall a victim.

  33. This is a good article. It’s obvious the body will find it difficult to adjust during drug withdrawal because it has gotten use to it

  34. People Tends to Mistake symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal for something else.
    It’s Good to be well informed about this.

  35. It’s Great to Learn the symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal so as to know the proper steps to take and not panic when they are being observed.

  36. The best way to avoid these symptoms is not to get involved in drug addiction. Most people who quit taking their antidepressants stop having symptoms after three weeks. I have learnt more about the symptoms of withdrawal from drugs. It’s very nice. Thanks for sharing this blog.

  37. This article has done a great job in educating me, this a lot to digest. I’m so informed about the symptoms and side effect of drug and alcohol addiction now. Great job.

  38. which will make life unbearable for the victim. the body tend to go through the sleepless period. the victim can take the bold step, the better for him or her.

  39. As it remains, prevention is better than cure. Looking at all the various withdrawal symptoms for diverse drugs, folks need to be educated and dissuaded from engaging in drug-dependent behaviors.
    Thanks Detox to Rehab for this enlightenment.

  40. The body is not always functioning effectively when it is experiencing withdrawal from drug. Sincerely speaking, it won’t be easy but if one can put the body under control to adapt, it will enjoy it.

  41. Clearly withdrawal symptoms can be just as devastating as symptoms from usage. Definitely a good idea to be in a controlled environment, until the cravings have subsided.

  42. These symptoms is a positive sign indeed if you have stopped taking drugs and alcohol. You are going to have a great life ahead

  43. This got me thinking, even to withdraw from usage is a problem which can cause serious problem if not care properly for. Its just better to abstain totally.

  44. Because of this symptoms and problem one could face during withdrawal, that’s why detox programs and facilities are available to help smooth the process of withdrawal atleast. It worth withdrawing than keep using please.

  45. Nothing good comes easily even to withdraw from consumption of drugs and alcohol, alot needed to be faced. I think it’s very important to join a program when trying to withdraw

  46. What happens is that your body tries to breakdown the alcohol or drugs you have consumed. Seriously we need to be careful, alot of healnesses are out there due to our bad choices of intakes.

  47. Drug withdrawal can be a harrowing experience and that’s why many people relapse. The key is to find something to fill the void like a new hobby.

  48. As a former drug addict I know exactly how bad withdrawal can be. I relapsed several times before I finally got clean.

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