Withdrawal symptoms from drugs are one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome in early recovery. And the toughest aspect of making it through withdrawals is fighting the urge to use again to make them go away. If you want to get through the detox period, though,
you’ll have to face them at some point.

You might have seen a movie or read a book that showed someone going through withdrawal symptoms. Some movies about addiction portray some truly gut-wrenching scenes of people shaking and sweating their way through the first few days. Are these truly accurate? How do withdrawal symptoms from drugs feel?

Top 10 favorite movies about addiction

Some of these scenes aren’t as far off as you might think. The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on a few different factors. Ultimately, if you struggle with substance abuse or addiction, though, you will face them at some point. Continue reading to find out more about how these withdrawal symptoms feel and what to expect during detox.

Understanding Withdrawal Symptoms from Drugs

Drugs are toxic substances that harm your body as soon as you start using them. People experience a variety of reactions and some negative side effects from the beginning. If they continue using, though, their body adapts to the regular introduction of these harmful substances.

After your body adapts to the drug or drugs you develop a dependence on that substance. This means you need to continue using in order to avoid experiencing a negative reaction, essentially the opposite of when you first started using them. The most basic way to explain withdrawal symptoms from drugs is that they’re your body’s response to suddenly quitting a drug you used regularly.

The severity of your withdrawal symptoms depend on a few different factors:

  • Types of drugs you used
  • Amount of drugs you used
  • Length of times you used drugs for

The greater the quantity, the harder the substance, and the longer you used for, the more serious your withdrawal symptoms. For example, if you use heavy drugs like opiates or cocaine you’ll have more intense symptoms. People who used for many years have more severe side effects than
those who used for a few months.

How to Help Your Client Withdraw From Drugs
How to Help Your Patient Withdraw From Drugs

Withdrawal is never easy, but it is necessary. To learn more about our detox programs, reach out to Hawaii Island Recovery. Call (866) 390-5070 today.

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So what are some of the withdrawal symptoms from drugs?

Varieties in Withdrawal Symptoms

Cravings are commonplace for every single drug, though, because your body adapted to the substances you used. Additionally, drugs produce enjoyable effects through their impact on the release of dopamine. After a while your dopamine levels react to the drugs you use rather than your body’s natural regulation.

When you quit using, your dopamine levels are at an all-time low. This regularly results in irritability, anxiety, and depression since your body is no longer used to naturally regulating your production levels.

Different substances affect different parts of your brain, though, so some cause a few various more side effects. The list below will give you an idea of the withdrawal symptoms that might occur depending on the drug or drugs you use.


Opiates have an intimidating reputation for being one of the most difficult drugs to kick. They interact directly with the receptors in your brain responsible for your sense of pain. After using them for a period of time, your sensitivity for pain skyrockets when they aren’t in your system. This leads to intense muscle cramps and aches during detox. Opiate withdrawals also include insomnia, runny nose, sweating, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.


The physical withdrawal symptoms caused by methamphetamine use aren’t as intense. There are some severe psychological side effects that result from quitting meth, though. Severe depression is common both immediately after quitting and in the following weeks and months. Hallucinations and paranoid delusions are also common effects of meth withdrawal.


Some people believe marijuana doesn’t cause any withdrawal symptoms. However, those who struggle to quit using it argue otherwise. Marijuana withdrawals result in a severely decreased appetite, difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep, and mood swings.


As alcohol adjusts you brain chemistry it leads to an eventually intense set of withdrawals. Mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms include some hand tremors, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. The most severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal cause seizures, hallucinations, and possible delirium tremens.

How to Manage Withdrawal Symptoms from Drugs

Trying to manage your withdrawal symptoms from drugs on your own could lead to a dangerous or deadly end. Not everyone needs the assistance of an addiction treatment program. This might not be the best decision to make on your own, though. If you struggle with severe substance dependence or addiction, it’s safest to consult with your doctor before quitting.

Ancillary Medical Services

Your physician can provide suggestions on how best to quit. They might determine you can taper off without an inpatient rehab program if you aren’t severely addicted. If you use opiates or drink heavily, though, they might suggest a detox program to help manage your withdrawal symptoms from drugs.

Detox programs relieve the more intense symptoms of withdrawal to make the process more tolerable. Inpatient treatment afterwards helps you learn to manage life without needing substances to cope. You spend time with people working towards the same goal as you, offering support and a community feel.

Hawaii Island Recovery offers a detox and holistic, well-rounded inpatient treatment program on the beautiful Big Island. Are you interested in taking the necessary steps to escape your addiction? Give us a call today at 877-721-3556!