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What Do Drug Withdrawal Symptoms During Detox Feel Like?

Home » Blog » Substance Abuse Treatment » Alcohol Detox » What Do Drug Withdrawal Symptoms During Detox Feel Like?

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Withdrawal symptoms vary greatly depending on the substance used.
  • Physical and psychological symptoms can be intense but are manageable with the right support.
  • Professional treatment and support are crucial for effective withdrawal management.
  • Different substances like opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol have unique withdrawal periods and symptoms.
  • Medical detox is often necessary to safely navigate the withdrawal process.




Withdrawal can be a daunting experience, both physically and psychologically. Understanding what withdrawal feels like and knowing how to manage it can make the process less intimidating and more manageable. Whether you or a loved one is facing withdrawal, having the right information and support is crucial.

Understanding Withdrawal Symptoms

What is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal occurs when someone who has become dependent on a substance stops using it. This can happen with drugs, alcohol, or even some medications. The body and mind have adapted to the presence of the substance, and its absence triggers a range of symptoms as the body attempts to re-establish balance.

Physical symptoms of withdrawal might include sweating, shaking, and changes in body temperature, while psychological symptoms can encompass anxiety, depression, and mood swings.

Common Physical Symptoms

Physical withdrawal symptoms can be diverse and include:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain and cramps

These symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the substance and the duration of use.

Common Psychological Symptoms

Psychological symptoms of withdrawal can be just as challenging as the physical ones. These might include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Withdrawal by Substance

Different substances cause different withdrawal experiences. Here’s a closer look at some common substances:


Opioid withdrawal can be particularly intense. Symptoms often begin within hours of the last dose and can include severe muscle aches, restlessness, and intense cravings. The withdrawal period can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the opioid dependence.


Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be especially dangerous and may require medical supervision. Symptoms might include severe anxiety, panic attacks, and even seizures. Unlike some other substances, benzodiazepine withdrawal can last for months or even longer, a phenomenon known as protracted withdrawal.


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening. Mild symptoms might include shakiness and sweating, while severe withdrawal, known as delirium tremens, can include hallucinations, severe confusion, and seizures. Due to these risks, medical detox is often necessary.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

At-Home Strategies

While professional help is recommended, some at-home strategies can help manage withdrawal symptoms:

  • Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Use over-the-counter medications for pain relief.
  • Build a support network of friends and family.

However, these strategies should complement, not replace, professional care.

Medical Detox and Treatment

Medical detox involves a supervised withdrawal process in a medical setting. This approach can help manage severe symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Professional treatment offers structured support, including medications to ease symptoms and therapy to address the psychological aspects of addiction.

The Importance of Professional Support

Role of Addiction Specialists

Addiction specialists play a crucial role in managing withdrawal. They can offer personalized treatment plans and monitor the withdrawal process to ensure safety and comfort. Their expertise can make a significant difference in recovery outcomes.

Benefits of Rehab Centers

Rehab centers, like Virtue Recovery Killeen, provide a structured environment that is essential for successful withdrawal and recovery. These centers offer a range of services, including medical detox, individual and group therapy, and aftercare planning, all aimed at supporting long-term recovery.


Withdrawal is a challenging but manageable part of overcoming addiction. Understanding what to expect and seeking professional help can make the process smoother and safer. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, give us a call at 866-461-3339.


What are withdrawal symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms include physical and psychological effects that occur when someone stops using a substance they are dependent on. These can range from mild discomfort to severe, life-threatening conditions.

How long does withdrawal last?

The duration of withdrawal varies depending on the substance and individual factors. It can last from a few days to several weeks or even months in some cases.

Can withdrawal be dangerous?

Yes, especially for substances like alcohol and benzodiazepines, withdrawal can be dangerous and requires medical supervision.

What is the best way to manage withdrawal symptoms?

The best way to manage withdrawal symptoms is through professional treatment, which may include medical detox and ongoing therapy.

How can I support a loved one going through withdrawal?

Offer emotional support, encourage them to seek professional help, and be there for them during their recovery journey.

What are the two types of withdrawals?

Withdrawal syndrome encompasses two types: physical withdrawal, characterized by physical symptoms, and psychological withdrawal, involving emotional and mental distress.

What is the difference between withdrawal and detox?

The difference between withdrawal and detox lies in their scope: withdrawal refers to the symptoms experienced when stopping drug use, while detox is the process of removing toxins from the body, often under medical supervision.

What is it like to be in withdrawal?

Being in withdrawal can be an intensely uncomfortable experience, with symptoms ranging from physical pain and nausea to anxiety and depression.

What are the 5 stages of the addiction cycle?

The 5 stages of the addiction cycle typically include initiation, experimentation, regular use, dependence, and addiction.

How do I know I am in withdrawal?

Signs of withdrawal may include sweating, tremors, and cravings, indicating the onset of physical dependence.

What is one of the first signs of withdrawal?

An example of withdrawal is experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue, when discontinuing opioid use.

What is an example of a withdrawal?

An example of withdrawal is experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue, when discontinuing opioid use.

How long does it take for a withdrawal?

The duration of withdrawal varies depending on factors such as the type of drug used and individual physiology, with acute withdrawal typically lasting several days to a week.

What medication is best for withdrawal?

Medications like Suboxone are commonly used to treat withdrawal from opioids by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Can I die from withdrawal?

While rare, severe alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening, highlighting the importance of seeking medical attention during withdrawal.

What are withdrawal side effects?

Withdrawal side effects can range from mild to severe and may include nausea, insomnia, and anxiety.

What does Suboxone do for the body?

Suboxone works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms without producing the same high as opioids.

What causes prescription drug withdrawal symptoms?

Prescription drug withdrawal symptoms can be caused by factors such as sudden cessation of medication or a decrease in dosage, leading to physical and psychological distress.

What does caffeine withdrawal feel like?

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, and irritability, often occurring when individuals reduce or stop their caffeine intake abruptly.






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