Homeless, Homeless man drug and alcohol addict sitting alone and depressed on the street leaning against a red brick building wall feeling anxious and lonely, social documentary concept

Withdrawal symptoms occur during the detox period after your last drink or use of drugs. Chronic substance use leads to these symptoms worsening and they can be vastly different in severity and type.

What Happens During Drug Withdrawal?

Consistent use of a substance will cause your body and mind to become dependent on the presence of that substance. For example, if drugs are abused regularly and then you immediately stop, your brain will panic at the sudden loss of the drug. The reason the brain becomes dependent is that different drugs trigger different neurotransmitters that are responsible for feelings of euphoria, happiness and reward.

When the brain doesn’t have to trigger these transmitters itself, it will begin to rely on the drug for it instead. Once you quit using the drug and it’s gone, the brain has to relearn how to function on its own. Depending on the drug abused, this can lead to feeling the opposite way the neurotransmitter typically works.

Which Symptoms Are the Most Common?

The withdrawal symptoms experienced change based on the person’s health, type of substance used, how long it’s been abused and the amount consumed.

Following the rule of thumb that symptoms tend to be the opposite of the drug, stimulants that increase brain activity and dopamine production can lead to psychological symptoms such as depression.

To get a better idea of the most common withdrawal symptoms, you should take a look at the specific types of substances and their respective symptoms.


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be some of the most severe out of any substance. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Clammy skin
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens


Typically being more physical based, heroin’s common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Muscle pains
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Cold sweats


As the drug sees more use, it’s important to know that there are indeed withdrawal symptoms associated with marijuana. These are:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability


A commonly abused stimulant, cocaine leads to a lack of energy with symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Delayed reactions
  • Depression

In the case of addiction to any of these substances, it’s important to seek out professional detox assistance. Severe withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening if not addressed immediately.

How Does Professional Detox Help?

It’s an unfortunate truth that withdrawal symptoms can be more dangerous than the side effects experienced from a drug. This happens because your body will develop a tolerance for commonly used drugs, meaning you need more of it for your body to react the same as before.

The longer you abuse a certain substance, the higher your tolerance will be but your brain’s dependence on the substance also grows. Even though the same level of “high” is felt by the individual, the severity of withdrawal symptoms keeps increasing.

Withdrawal symptoms can last for days or weeks on end, sometimes impacting areas of the brain for life. Even those who experience mild symptoms while attempting to detox on their own will often choose to begin drinking or using drugs again instead.

Medically-assisted detox is how medical professionals can facilitate a safe and comfortable detox. It’s done by using medication to address withdrawal symptoms as they present themselves. You can get through the hardest part of recovery with minimal discomfort.

How Can I Get Help During My Withdrawal?

Understanding how withdrawal works and what withdrawal symptoms you can expect is the first step. You’ll have a better idea on what to look out for and seek help when needed. Detox teams provide 24/7 supervision during the entire process to make the detox a success.

If you or a loved one is in need of medical detox or addiction treatment, America’s Rehab Campus is here to help. Our facility is open around the clock to provide treatment as soon as it’s needed. Take a moment to reach out to our team today with any questions or concerns you may have.