Drug Withdrawal Symptoms - What To Expect In Detox

By Midwest Detox Staff

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If you’re reading this, you’re probably concerned that you or a loved one is going to have to go through drug withdrawal. There’s no two ways about it, this can be unpleasant. When someone is physically dependent on drugs, they can experience severe symptoms when they stop using them abruptly and without medical oversight.

Fortunately, when done safely and under the care of a trained medical professional, the discomfort of drug withdrawal is far more manageable. Drug detox can also help people transition into a treatment program that can provide them with long-term recovery support.

In This Article
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    What Are The Symptoms Of Drug Withdrawal?

    The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on several factors, including how long someone has been using drugs and how much they have been using. Common drug withdrawal symptoms can include:

    Nausea and Vomiting

    Nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps are common drug withdrawal symptoms that can occur when a person stops using drugs or alcohol. Withdrawal from certain types of drugs (like opioids) can cause sudden onset of nausea and vomiting.

    During detox, you should drink lots of fluids and keep your body hydrated to help with the nausea and vomiting. If the symptoms are severe, a detox doctor may prescribe medication to help relieve them.


    Headache is another common symptom of drug withdrawal. This can be caused by dehydration due to an increase in sweating during detox. Make sure you drink lots of fluids and stay hydrated during the process. If the headaches are severe, it may be necessary to take medication prescribed by your doctor to help ease them.


    Excessive sweating is a common symptom of drug withdrawal. This can be caused by changes in body temperature due to the sudden lack of drugs in the body. To help with the sweating, make sure to wear light and loose clothing to help your body regulate its temperature naturally.

    Shakiness, Tremors

    When someone stops taking drugs or alcohol, they may experience shakiness or tremors in their hands and arms. This is caused by the sudden lack of drugs in the body and can range from mild to severe. If it is severe, a doctor may prescribe medication to help with the tremors.

    Anxiety and Panic Attacks

    It is common for people going through drug withdrawal to experience heightened levels of anxiety and panic attacks. The symptoms can be intense and frightening. Sometimes it feels like you are losing touch with reality. If you are going to go through drug detox, you should have someone available who can provide emotional support during this time.

    Insomnia or Difficulty Sleeping

    Drug withdrawal can cause difficulty sleeping, particularly if you have been taking downers like heroin and Xanax. This can lead to fatigue and exhaustion until your body feels like it needs sleep immediately, but you just can’t drift off. Exercise can also be beneficial as it helps regulate your body’s natural circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle), though this may be impossible during the toughest part of the detox.

    Some detox centers can supply patients with medication that can help them sleep, which can be invaluable when you are in withdrawal.

    Intense Cravings for Drugs and Alcohol

    Cravings are a common symptom of drug withdrawal and can be intense. You may experience physical cravings, or the urge to return to using drugs or alcohol. Remember that cravings will pass.

    How Long Does Drug Withdrawal Last?

    The length of time drug withdrawal lasts will depend on the type of drugs being used and how severe the addiction is. For most substances, withdrawal symptoms last anywhere from a few days to several weeks or months. Follow any instructions given by your doctor during this time in order to reduce the risk of relapse.

    Typically, milder forms of drug use will result in shorter withdrawal timelines while more severe drug use can take longer to detox from. The timeline for drug withdrawal is also affected by how long the person has been using drugs and the amount of drugs they have been taking.

    For short-acting substances like cocaine or methamphetamine, the withdrawal symptoms start to arise within a few hours of stopping use and can last anywhere from 1-2 weeks. During this time, individuals may experience cravings, anxiety, depression, irritability and difficulty sleeping.

    Longer-acting substances like alcohol or opioids can take a bit longer to go through withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal may start within 24 hours of stopping use and can last up to several weeks or even months in some cases.

    Can You Die From Drug Withdrawal?

    Can drug withdrawal kill you? Yes, it is possible to die from drug withdrawal in certain cases. Depending on the type of drug being used and how severe the addiction is, some individuals may experience life-threatening symptoms during this time.

    Substances like benzodiazepines, alcohol and certain opioids can be particularly dangerous to withdraw from. For example, withdrawal from benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Phenobarbital can cause seizures which can kill you if not treated properly. Alcohol withdrawal is also potentially life-threatening and can cause delirium tremens (DTs) in severe cases.

    Other substances can also be dangerous to withdraw from and should not be done without professional medical guidance. For instance, stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine can cause extreme agitation, insomnia and headaches which may require hospitalization in some instances.

    It really is not worth risking your life if you have a severe addiction or are addicted to a substance that can cause death during withdrawal. Not only does a professional detox ensure that you are as comfortable as possible, but it also means that you will be safe during this difficult time.

    Using A Drug Detox Center To Safely Detox

    If you are planning to go through drug detox, a professional detox center is unquestionably your best choice.. Detox centers provide safe, supervised environments where individuals can go through the process of withdrawal and receive medical attention if needed.

    At a detox center, you will be monitored by medical professionals who are experienced in treating substance use disorders. Medications may be used to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and psychiatrists are available to provide counseling and support during this difficult time.

    Detox centers also offer other vital services such as relapse prevention strategies, nutrition education, family therapy and aftercare planning. The goal of detox centers is to provide you with the tools you need to move forward in your recovery journey.

    Midwest Detox For Safe And Comfortable Drug Detox

    If you’re planning to go through drug detox, your two priorities should be your safety and comfort. At Midwest Detox, you are assured both of these. While drug detox is always difficult, we do our utmost to make sure that you will be taken care of as well as possible while you are going through this difficult period. The end result is that you will come through the other side, ready to take on all the challenges that recovery has to offer. Call us now at 414-409-5200.