The decision to seek sobriety is not made lightly. There are a number of things to consider, but many people struggle with the withdrawal symptoms they experience when they stop abusing drugs or alcohol.
Each drug has its own side effects and withdrawal symptoms, and even more complications can occur if a person has polysubstance abuse issues (abusing more than one drug at the same time).
Some of the side effects of withdrawal can be managed as part of a medically supervised detox program. These programs allow people to detox in a safe, monitored environment.
Side Effects Of Drug Detox
Detoxing from drugs can result in a variety of side effects. Which side effects you experience and for how long may depend on different factors.
Typical side effects of detox from specific substances:
- cocaine — irritability, anxiety, lethargy, depression, hunger, aggravation
- benzodiazepines — panic attacks, fever, blood pressure spike, sweating, sleeping issues, hallucinations, seizures
- opioids — extreme flu-like symptoms, anxiety, cramping, restless legs, insomnia
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Factors That Affect Side Effects During Detoxification
Depending on the drugs being abused and the intensity of addiction, factors that may determine the side effects you experience may include:
- method of abuse (smoking, injecting, snorting, swallowing)
- length of abuse
- individual health factors
For example, a person who has abused large amounts of different drugs for several years will experience significantly intense withdrawal symptoms.
In contrast, a person who only abuses drugs on occasion will have fewer side effects when they stop.
How Long Do The Effects Of Drug Detox Last?
The length of time a person experiences withdrawal from drugs can vary.
However, on average, cocaine withdrawal can last for 10 days or more, benzo detox can last several weeks, and opioid withdrawal symptoms last an average of five days.
Are Side Effects Of Drug Detox Preventable?
Drug detox side effects are not entirely preventable, but medically supervised detox programs can lessen the severity.
These programs are individualized and provide continuous care, helping you to manage physical symptoms with medication and other interventions.
A person who is going through drug detox can help this process by:
- taking all medications as prescribed
- drinking enough water to remain hydrated
- seeking help as soon as they stop abusing substances
- following up with a substance abuse treatment program when detox is over
Attending A Drug Rehab Program That Offers Detox
With all the addiction treatment options out there, it may seem complicated to find one that is the best option for you or your loved one.
Let us help you sift through resources. Reach out to our helpline today, our staff is ready and waiting for your call.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment — Delay Discounting, Treatment Motivation and Treatment Retention Among Substance-Dependent Individuals Attending an in Inpatient Detoxification Program
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — If You Have a Problem with Drugs: For Teens and Young Adults
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — 2016 Clinical Advances in Non-Agonist Therapies