When people develop a chemical dependence, they’ll go through withdrawal when they stop using. Different drugs cause discomfort depending on how they interact with the brain and body. However, some symptoms of withdrawal universally affect all former users.

The Most Prevalent Symptoms of WithdrawalMan with face in his hands showing symptoms of withdrawal

People who gradually taper off of addictive drugs might not suffer any withdrawal symptoms. However, those who don’t wean themselves off experience very uncomfortable side effects. Therefore, they need medical supervision at a detox center to avoid relapse and complications from these symptoms.

Flu-Like Symptoms

In most cases, drug withdrawal causes flu-like symptoms, but they’re most prevalent with alcohol and opiate withdrawal. For example, these include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Constantly feeling sick isn’t pleasant, and vomiting only makes it worse. Vomiting can also be a significant problem for people who don’t seek treatment. Accidentally breathing in the vomit lodges the material in the lungs, which can cause pneumonia. When people don’t get help, a serious lung infection could develop.

Diarrhea is a severe problem too. It leads to the loss of electrolytes and fluids, which also occurs when vomiting. Because of this, people can suffer severe dehydration without help.

Shaking and Sweating

Shaking is a symptom that often happens during alcohol and benzo withdrawal. It can manifest in response to extreme emotions such as anxiety.

Additionally, changes in nerve cells can also cause shaking. The changes occur because the depressants reduce brain activity. Over time, the brain adjusts to lower activity. When people stop using, activity levels rise, causing physical trembling.

Sweating can accompany shaking and usually occurs during alcohol, benzo, and opiate withdrawal. It’s also a side effect of delirium tremens, which is the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptom. This condition can even be fatal without treatment.

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are also common during alcohol, benzo, opiate, and cocaine withdrawal. Typically, they occur together as well, so experts consider them two faces of the same disorder.

In most situations, anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. Severe anxiety, on the other hand, involves constant worry and irrational fear. This becomes a problem when it interferes with everyday life. Overall anxiety levels can range from generalized to triggering panic attacks.

Furthermore, depression is another normal feeling people go through at different points in their life. However, it only lasts one or two days. This symptom becomes a problem when this sadness disrupts people’s lives for weeks. Severe cases of depression can even lead to suicidal ideation.

Stop Substance Use at Steps to Recovery

If you or someone you love wants to stop using drugs, considered rehab at Step to Recovery. We offer evidence-based addiction counseling and holistic services, including:

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