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Addiction Withdrawal


In simple words, you can describe withdrawal as a detoxification process. It occurs when you are in the process of discontinuing or trying to cut back on the use of a particular drug, like alcohol, heroin or marijuana.  

It is a widespread occurrence for people to become psychologically and physically dependent upon a drug. When they attempt to break out of the addiction, the process can cause mild to severe symptoms. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms is dependent on several factors, including: 

  • Your method for withdrawal 
  • Your psychological characteristics 
  • Your health status 
  • Your age 
  • What drugs you were consuming 
  • How long you’ve been consuming the drug 

Withdrawal is usually an inevitable consequence of your body experiencing a sudden decline in the concentration of the drug you were used to.  

Symptoms of Addiction Withdrawal

Symptoms can vary depending on what drug type you were addicted to. However, some of the common ones we note in most withdrawal cases include: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Tremors 
  • Sweating 
  • Sleep issues 
  • Shakiness 
  • Runny nose 
  • Restlessness  
  • Nausea  
  • Muscle pain 
  • Irritability  
  • Fatigue  
  • Congestion 
  • Mood changes 
  • Appetite changes 

When symptoms worsen, an individual may also experience the following as a result: 

  • Delirium 
  • Seizures 
  • Hallucinations  

Psychological Dependence on Drugs

There are two types of drug dependence; psychological or physical. In psychological addiction, a person believes that he/she cannot function without the drug or perform certain things. For example, many addicts tend to think they need the drug to socialize at a party, unwind after a hectic day at work, or even perform their daily tasks.  

Physical Dependence on Drugs 

Physical dependence happens when a person has been using a drug for too long, and the body has become dependent on it to stay normal. In this case, a person’s body becomes accustomed to functioning with the drug in their system.  

In such cases, a person feels the withdrawal symptoms when they fail to replenish their system with the drug.  

How does Addiction Withdrawal Happen? 

To maintain homeostasis, which is a state of balance, your brain and body have to work in unison. This state of balance changes when you develop an addiction to a drug. Consequently, your body has to make changes so it can adapt to the change in balance. In the process, the body’s neurotransmitter levels fluctuate.  

When you consume these substances, they tend to impact your brain’s reward system and provoke the release of certain chemicals. When you suddenly stop taking the substance, you tend to throw your body and brain off balance again, ultimately suffering withdrawal symptoms.  

People fear the withdrawal process because of the mental and physical effects, which can worsen if the drug type was intense. The science behind the withdrawal symptoms is quite simple, actually: people tend to experience the opposite of the effects of the drug they were addicted to. 

For instance, if you were an alcohol addict, then as part of the withdrawal symptom, you may experience overstimulation, restlessness, and anxiety.  

Addiction Withdrawal- What to Expect 

When your withdrawal is in process, you can expect several events to unfold. Let’s take a look at them below: 

  1. Cravings 

You will surely experience many cravings for the drug because your brain had learned that fastest and best way of feeling good was by taking the drug. Your mind and body have grown used to addressing problems under the illusion of euphoria and false confidence from the drug.  

Hence, you are sure to experience craving during your withdrawal phase. At times, you’ll face weak cravings, but at other times, they can be intense. It is crucial that you learn to manage your cravings as early as possible because you will experience them occasionally, possibly even years after quitting.  

The best means of strengthening your resolve is to try relaxation and distraction techniques, such as yoga, meditation, exercising, watching a movie, eating healthy snacks, etc.  

  1. Symptoms 

As we mentioned above, when your body grows used to feeling false satisfaction, euphoria, and other good feelings from the drug, you suffer from withdrawal when its levels decline. For example, an absence of alcohol in your body after you develop an addiction can make you feel agitated, jumpy, and prone to tremors.  

Symptoms can be severe or mild, and in the latter, medical professionals may prescribe certain medications to help.  

Addiction Withdrawal Process by Substance 

You can experience withdrawal symptoms when you quit certain kinds of drugs. Some of them are as follows: 

  • Stimulants  
  • Opioids 
  • Inhalants 
  • Hallucinogens 
  • Depressants  
  • Cannabis  
  • Barbiturates  
  • Antidepressants  

Let’s also take a look at certain drugs that may cause withdrawal and how long the symptoms can prevail: 


Marijuana tends to have milder symptoms if you compare it to other drugs, like alcohol. But certain marijuana users still find the withdrawal symptoms unpleasant and intolerable enough.  


Heroin addicts proclaim that withdrawal symptoms of this drug are some of the worst and the most intense. Despite the severity, we can tell you that most symptoms tend to subside within 5 to 7 days. In the case of PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome), though, you can expect the symptoms to last for weeks or even months. 


Not every alcohol addict necessarily experiences withdrawal symptoms, but the majority do. In fact, most symptoms can even trigger a relapse.  


The severity of withdrawal symptoms related to prescription Opioids or OxyContin depends on how long you took the drug and the doses you were accustomed to. If you strictly follow prescription doses, then the chances are high that you may not suffer any symptoms at all or very mild ones at the most.  

Addiction Withdrawal Treatment at Avenues Recovery in Indiana

The best treatment option for withdrawal includes an abundance of care, support, and certain medications to appease the patients. These also help prevent unpleasant complications and reducing the symptoms.  Detox facilities such as Avenues Recovery Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana provide 24 hour care under medical supervision . As the client is weaned off the illegal substance, Avenues trained professionals will carefully monitor symptoms and ensure the safety of the patient as he or she undergoes the process.

Certain addictions don’t involve an arduous withdrawal process, and in such cases, many people are able to manage the symptoms on their own. You can take caffeine addiction, for example. Withdrawal from caffeine is comparatively easy, and people can cope without assistance medically and from others. Symptoms do not last for long, so the process is easy.  

However, in higher-intensity drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, abrupt withdrawal can result in potentially dangerous situations. Detox for these substances should never be attempted alone. It can be fatal. It is important to find an addiction facility specializing in detox. It ensures the safety of you or your loved one and minimizes the unpleasantness of withdrawal symptoms.

How to Cope with Addiction Withdrawal 

Besides seeking medical support, here are some other things you can do to ensure a smooth withdrawal process.  

  • Ask for social support, such as from close friends, family, and even neighbors. Even when you’re withdrawing under medical assistance, having social support goes a long way in strengthening you. Just having a neighbor, friend, or family member check on you regularly during the process keeps you safe.  
  • Hydration is key to staying healthy during withdrawal. You need to give your body sufficient hydration, most especially if you experience vomiting or nausea.  
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe OTC medications for symptoms such as diarrhea, upset stomach, and headache. Also, consume the prescribed doses only.  
  • Try to consume well-balanced and nutritious meals only. Refrain from sugary, fatty, and fried foods.  
  • Exercise a lot and try to get some stimulating physical activity daily.  
  • Withdrawal symptoms may cause sleeping issues, but it is essential to sleep well. Try to get adequate rest and try to form a good sleeping habit. 


Withdrawal is the process of quitting drug consumption. When you’re discontinuing your substance use, the withdrawal process can be mild or tough, depending on what drug you had been addicted to and for how long you were taking it.  

Withdrawal symptoms can be both mental and physical, too, but the key is to seek medical assistance, eat well, drink plenty of water and follow a few good practices to make the transition easy.  

Avenues of Indiana is acclaimed for their empathetic and personal approach to creating effective detox plans to allow for an easy transition to a drug free life. We are standing by, ready to help!

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Brooke Abner,

Motivational Coach