April 12, 2021

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

Managing withdrawal symptoms is on the top of the list when it comes to concerns that come up when you're trying to stop using drugs or alcohol.


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Contributors & Editors

Estil Wallace

Recovery Advocate
& Cornerstone Founder

Last Update on January 18, 2024

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Managing withdrawal symptoms is on the top of the list when it comes to concerns that come up when you’re trying to stop using drugs or alcohol. If you’re approaching detox or are already making your way through it knowledge is your most valuable asset. You’ll want to be as informed as possible so that you can make sure to get the correct form of care.
Searching for help with drug and/or alcohol addiction? Call us now at (888) 201-4610.

What Should I Expect During Withdrawal?

While withdrawal is unique for each person, specific symptoms are more common. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abrupt weight loss or gain
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia and restlessness
  • Nightmares
  • Constant fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Hopelessness or altered self-perception
  • High blood pressure and elevated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Paranoia and delusion
  • Hallucinations

Depending on the intensity of your addiction, some of these symptoms may progress to dangerous and even life-threatening levels. Even if you think of yourself as a healthy, robust person, don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of the chemical changes that substance use can cause.

Withdrawal symptoms can first appear as soon as hours after last use and may linger for hours, days, or weeks throughout and after the process of detox.

Certain substances tend to have a second stage of withdrawal symptoms known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

Without treatment, PAWS can linger for months or longer, making it even more important to have access to consistent professional care as you navigate recovery.

What are The Benefits of Detox? 

One of the most significant benefits of undergoing detox in the care of a medical facility is that they can supply medication and services designed to mitigate the effects of withdrawal.
You’ll be in the hands of expert staff who are prepared to treat you during acute withdrawal and help you make it through any prolonged post-acute withdrawal symptoms you may face.

Between medical care and constant supervision, a specialized detox facility is likely the safest and most helpful option for a successful transition into the rest of your recovery.

Still, medication may not be enough to bring you through detox and withdrawal unscathed on its own; evidence shows that medical detox works best when paired with psychosocial treatment

No amount of inner fortitude can replace the human benefits that a medical detox facility can offer. Because of how substance use can alter your mind, an external source of guidance can provide the certainty that you’re making progress even during the worst moments of withdrawal.

Having the emotional support and assurance of a compassionate staff can make a significant difference in your ability to make it through with confidence and approach the next chapter of your life.

After you make it through detox and acute withdrawal, you may go on to experience lingering post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Part of a comprehensive detox and treatment program will include continuing care to manage these symptoms as you return to your regular life. 

Ongoing check-ins and treatment on an as-needed comprise a vital part of the later stages of recovery. When you begin your course of recovery at a medical detox center, you’ll form relationships with professionals who will be there for you throughout your ongoing process of overcoming addiction.

Rapid Detox

“Rapid detox” is a form of treatment offered by some practitioners who claim to be able to accelerate the unpleasant process of detox through anesthesia, allowing you to rid your body of toxins as you sleep effectively. 

While this may sound tempting, the process has a welldocumented history of severe risk, unreliability, and unproven accuracy. Regarding your long-term health, it’s best to be thorough and face your problems head-on. 

Rapid detox tends to prey on the escapist mentality that can haunt anyone struggling with such serious challenges. Remember: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Should I Detox From Home? 

Whatever your circumstances, don’t turn a blind eye to the potential dangers of withdrawal. Some drugs can cause highly intense withdrawal symptoms even after small amounts of use, and some can lead to prolonged periods of discomfort and illness even if you’ve gone sober in the past. 

While staying home and toughing it out may sound appealing, no complication or interruption to your daily life is worth the serious risks you face when attempting to detox alone. 

Contact professional recovery resources for accurate guidance on your specific circumstances. Recovery is an individual undertaking, and most facilities want to work with you to find a path to wellness that meets your needs.

Because of the long list of unpleasant and potentially dangerous physical and mental symptoms, detox and withdrawal pose some of the largest deterrents for people looking to overcome an addiction.

To maximize your safety and comfort throughout this crucial first phase of your recovery, the most sound decision you can make is to avoid going through detox and withdrawal alone.

At Cornerstone Healing Center, we provide a wide range of treatments designed to support you at every step of your healing process. From inpatient to post-treatment continuing care, you’ll have access to our complete continuum of recovery services at our safe treatment facility in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Withdrawal can be a prolonged process that gives rise to complications in other areas of your life. Professional, sympathetic supervision can ease your journey through addiction and get you back to lasting wellness and fulfillment. Call (800) 643-2108 to learn more.


[2] Pharmacological strategies for detoxification

[3] Deaths and Severe Adverse Events

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Author & Reviewers

Estil has 12 years of experience in recovery, and serves as Executive Director, Board Member and President for 5A.org. He has also worked directly with alcoholics and drug addicts in Maricopa County jails. He has over 14 years of sales, management, networking and digital marketing experience. Estil believes anyone willing to change can heal.
lionel estrada lisac clinical director
Lionel, a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC) with over 4 years at Cornerstone. Passionate about helping those with addiction, he has trained as an EMDR therapist  adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues of addiction, providing an empathetic approach to addiction.

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