Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal Symptoms:

Withdrawal symptoms are common for people who develop a dependency on alcohol, prescription drugs, or addictive substances. Many substances that are considered mood or mind-altering substances can produce withdrawal symptoms. People that develop substance use disorders are more likely to develop withdrawal symptoms when they decide to stop using an addictive substance.

Most people who experience withdrawal symptoms are not prepared for the uncomfortable symptoms that emerge once they reduce their usage or abruptly stop using an addictive substance. When you are prescribed some prescription medication there may be a warning label that alerts the individual that if increased use or higher doses of the drug is ingested then the individual could experience significant physical dependency or withdrawal symptoms when discontinued.

Withdrawal symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on many factors. Sometimes the drug itself is highly addictive and if that is the case it will not take long to become dependent on the addictive substance. Some drugs take time to build up in the body to turn into a dependency. Most addictive substances have the potential to create dependency and withdrawal symptoms when discontinued.

What is a withdrawal symptom?

Withdrawal symptoms are physical and psychological symptoms that emerge when a person reduces or stops using an addictive drug. Mild withdrawal symptoms like a headache or fever may be mistaken as another illness or medical condition. Most people are not prepared to identify, or they may have a difficult time knowing when the symptoms emerge.

The uncomfortable or uneasy feeling associated with withdrawal symptoms is not always easy to identify, however, if the person notices an intense craving or intense desire to relieve the symptoms by resuming or continuing to put more of the addictive substance into their body this is a good sign a problem has already developed.

Another sign that a drug problem is in motion is when the individual begins to obsess or ruminate about using the substance especially if you have recently stopped taking the drug into the system. This is a more obvious sign of dependency, and withdrawal symptoms are emerging. However, this is not so easy to identify at times as it’s a cognitive process that is centered in the mind of the individual.

Withdrawal is a set or group of symptoms that someone with a dependency or addiction experiences when they discontinue their use of an addictive drug. They include negative emotions, stress, anxiety, and sometimes depression. Common physical symptoms are nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, headaches, and cramping.

The more complicated or severe physical withdrawal symptoms are dangerous. They can include delirium, hallucinations, delusions, seizures, and various body temperature issues. Increased pulse rates are common along with blood pressure problems.

What To Do If You Experience Severe Medical Withdrawal Symptoms:

If you are developing severe medical withdrawal symptoms, please seek immediate assistance in an emergency room or hospital setting. This means you have missed all earlier warning signs indicating that you are in the withdrawal syndrome. Severe medical withdrawal symptoms emerge after the mild symptoms of the withdrawal process subside.

To avoid experiencing complicated and severe physical symptoms an individual should schedule to enter a medical detox center to experience the detoxification process. It is always safer to enter a medical detox program if you are planning on stopping your use of any addictive substance.

Alcohol Withdrawal:

Most alcohol withdrawal symptoms will begin within 8 hours after the last drink of alcohol, but in some cases, they can occur days later depending on the severity of the alcohol addiction. The alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually peak in 24 to 72 hours and in more severe cases can last for weeks.

Most Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

anxiety nervousness depression
fatigue irritability jumpiness
shakiness mood swings nightmares
Inability to think clearly clammy skin enlarged (dilated) pupils
headache insomnia loss of appetite
nausea vomiting rapid heart rate
sweating Tremors of hands or body parts delirium tremens
agitation fever hallucinations
seizures severe confusion pallor


Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms:

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms have been viewed as a relatively mild detox process. In some cases, severe stimulant withdrawal can occur with someone that has a history of using cocaine for a longer duration. It all depends on the damage created in the brain from repeated cocaine usage.

For some people that have developed a severe cocaine use disorder the craving or intense desire to return to cocaine is often associated with an attempt to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Most Common Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Depression Tiredness
Increased appetite Insomnia
Vivid unpleasant dreams Slowed thinking
Slowed movement Restlessness
Irritability Agitation
Excessive Sleepiness Loss of sense of smell
nosebleeds nasal damage
infection poor nutrition
weight loss from decreased appetite severe depression for some people
 Intense cravings Paranoid thoughts or angry feelings


GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) Withdrawal Symptoms:

This drug should be monitored closely when discontinued especially after a dependency has developed as the drug does create moderate to severe acute withdrawal symptoms. If alcohol is used along with the drug the risk associated with adverse reactions is elevated.

Most Common GBH Withdrawal Symptoms

Insomnia Anxiety
Tremors Sweating
Increased heart rate Blood pressure problems
Psychosis GHB with Alcohol displays Nausea
GHB with Alcohol Breathing issues GHB with Alcohol increased depressant effects


Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms:

This illicit drug has a high potential for developing dependency & addiction along with a high risk of overdose with continued use. An overdose of heroin can lead to fatal respiratory depression. An individual who uses the drug intravenous has been known to develop infection complications.

If you have become dependent on the drug or developed an addiction it’s important to seek medical detoxification services to manage the heroin withdrawal symptoms.  People who develop a Heroin Use Disorder often require a medical detox to deal with their withdrawal symptoms. For Detox Now™ call us at our 24-hour admission line at 1-888-857-8857.

Most Common Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Restlessness Muscle pains
Bone Pains Insomnia
Diarrhea Vomiting
Cold flashes Goosebumps


Inhalants Withdrawal Symptoms:

The use of inhalants is a problem across the United States and is one of the easiest types of substances for people to access to experience euphoric states. They include different kinds of solvents, aerosols, gases, spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids.

There are volatile solvents of inhalants that are normally found in household, industrial and medical products. They include chemicals like paint thinners, degreasers, dry cleaning fluids, gasoline, lighter fluids, cans of air used for blowing dust from electronic devices, and freon. The category of Inhalant substances is vast and Inhalants do cause withdrawal symptoms.

Most Common Types of Inhalant Withdrawal Symptoms

Nausea Loss of appetite
Sweating Tics
Problems sleeping Mood changes
Easily Agitated Low or high blood Pressure
Cravings Frustrated feelings
Difficulty Concentrating Disturbing Dreams
Rare “Fine Tremors” Irritability
Anxiety Insomnia
Tingling Sensations Reported Seizures & Muscle Cramps (Rarely Reported)
Weakness Weight loss
Inattentive Behavior Depression


Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms:

While Ketamine is a drug that is used in some cases for health-related purposes an individual can become addicted to the substance. The drug is misused for its dissociative properties and some people seek to use the drug to seek a hallucinogen experience.

The drug is often used in combination with other drugs, but some of the known Ketamine withdrawal symptoms are listed below. As more people are treated for Ketamine use disorders ongoing research is focusing on Ketamine withdrawal symptoms.

Most Common Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms Reported

Depression Anxiety
Cravings Hopelessness Feelings
Irritability Memory Impairment
Slowed Reaction Time Social withdrawal
Sleep disturbances Irregular heart rate or blood pressure
Rapid breathing Agitation
Insomnia Nightmares
Fatigue Mood Swings
Nausea Shakes (Rarely)
Sweating Elevated body temperature


Marijuana (Cannabis) Withdrawal Symptoms:

Many people mistakenly believe that Cannabis Use Disorders do not exhibit symptoms of withdrawal, but this is far from reality. Some people exhibit signs of withdrawal symptoms as far out as 42 days after a person has last used cannabis-related substances.

Ongoing research is identifying that people with Severe Cannabis Use Disorders exhibit the most withdrawal symptoms than less severe forms of Cannabis Use Disorders. Research has indicated that women report stronger nausea and stomach pain than men during the withdrawal process.

Most Common Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms

Irritability Trouble sleeping
Decreased appetite Anxious feelings
Anxiety Feelings of fear
Some dissociation Restlessness
Mood Swings Poor appetite
Disturbed sleep Nightmares or vivid dreams
Gastrointestinal upsets Night sweats
Tremor (Severe Cannabis Use Only) Occasional Psychiatric Disturbances
Cannabis craving Nausea
Stomach pain Nervousness
Anger Aggression
Depressed mood Chills (Less Common)
Headaches Physical tension
Sweating Inability to Concentrate


 MDMA (Ecstasy) Withdrawal Symptoms:

This is a synthetic drug that was originally known as a designer drug, but later became known as a psychoactive drug that exhibits similar qualities to stimulants or amphetamine-type of drugs. Over the years it has been used for its hallucinogen properties.

The drug does produce some withdrawal symptoms for people that have developed severe MDMA (Ecstasy) Use Disorders. More commonly referred to as a stimulant use disorder.

Common MDMA (Ecstasy) Withdrawal Symptoms

Fatigue Loss of appetite
Depression Trouble concentrating
Delayed perceptual illusions Anxiety
Irritability Impulsiveness
Aggression Sleep problems
Memory problems Decreased appetite
Difficulty Concentrating  Lack of motivation


*Note: Some of these withdrawal symptoms are more severe when MDMA is combined with drugs like marijuana or other stimulant-related drugs.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms:

This drug is an extremely powerful addictive substance related to amphetamines or stimulant-related families of drugs. While methamphetamine drugs are highly addictive and affect the central nervous system there are withdrawal symptoms associated with severe stimulant use disorders.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms begin within 24 hours of the last use of stimulants and last for 3-5 days. Depression, low energy, and overall tired feelings as well as problems with sleep can last up to two weeks after the last use.

Some people who use methamphetamines consume large amounts of the stimulants and have been known to develop psychotic symptoms or other psychiatric conditions post-medical detox and into drug and alcohol treatment services. More extreme situations could involve paranoia, disordered thoughts, and hallucinations.

Most Common Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

Depression Anxiety
Tiredness Agitation
Irritability Increased sleeping
Increased appetite Muscle aches
Paranoia Overwhelming Fears or Regret
Hallucinations Thought Disorders (Rarely)
Decreased Energy Intense Dreams or Nightmares
Distressed thoughts Sweating


Prescription Opioids & Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms:

This category of drugs makes up a large area of drugs and opioid types of substances have been known to be high-risk substances for a potential overdose if an opioid use disorder is developed. Opioid withdrawal symptoms can present similar to flu-like symptoms.

These drugs are normally prescribed for pain relief and others for analgesic purposes. The potential for developing a withdrawal symptom when discontinued is higher than for most drugs. Drugs like Fentanyl are 100 times more potent than morphine and do cause frequent overdoses.

People who are using short-acting opioids may notice opioid withdrawal symptoms 8-24 hours after their last use and this can last up to 4-10 days. Medical detox is recommended for people who are addicted to short-acting opioid substances.

If you are addicted to a long-acting opioid like methadone, then you can expect withdrawal symptoms to begin around 12-48 hours after the last use. Symptoms of withdrawal can be present for 10-20 days and medical detox is indicated for all long-acting opioid drugs.

Most Common Opioid & Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Restlessness Anxiety
Muscle pain Bone pain
Insomnia Diarrhea
Vomiting Cold flashes
Goosebumps Muscle tremors
Leg Movements Cravings
Ruminating Thought to Seek out Substance Low energy
Sleep disturbances Nightmares
Uneasy feelings Agitation
Nausea Hot flashes
Perspiration Muscle cramps
Runny nose Watery eyes
General sick feelings uneasy types of feelings Stomach cramps
Muscle spasms Muscle twitching
Heart pounding (Usually Mistaken for Anxiety) Muscular tension
Yawning Difficulty Sleeping


Prescription Sedatives (Tranquilizers, Depressants) Withdrawal Symptoms:

This is another wide area of prescription drugs that people become addicted to and experience withdrawal symptoms after they develop a dependency or sedative use disorder. The sedative drugs or medications typically slow brain activity and are commonly prescribed for treating anxiety or sleep-related problems. Some of these drugs are known to be highly addictive substances.

The most common addictive substances in this category are sedatives, benzodiazepines, tranquilizers, depressant drugs, sedative-hypnotics & anxiolytics. There are short-acting benzodiazepines like oxazepam, alprazolam, and temazepam the withdrawal process can begin 1-2-days after the last dose has been ingested. The duration of withdrawal symptoms can last 2-4 weeks or longer.

Common Sedative Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

Shakiness Overactive reflexes
Anxiety Increased heart rate
Insomnia blood pressure problems
Agitation Fevers or rise in temperature
Excessive Sweating Hallucinations
Severe cravings Seizures
Sleep disturbance Irritability
Increased tension Panic attacks
Hand tremor Difficulty in concentration
Nausea weight loss
Headache muscular pain
Muscle stiffness Seizures


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