If you’ve been using a particular drug for long enough and in sufficient quantities, you may have developed a dependency on it. If you stop using the drug, your body will need to readjust to its absence. Withdrawal is the process that occurs during this period of readjustment.

Detoxing is the first phase of recovery from drug addiction. It addresses your physical dependence, allows your body to withdraw from the substance and puts you in the best position to commence ongoing treatment and therapy.

You may feel apprehensive at the thought of withdrawing from drugs, but detox is the first step in treating your addiction. It is the process of allowing your body to remove all traces of drugs from your system which tends to induce a variety of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.


The length and intensity of detox depend on a variety of different factors; the physiology of the person addicted, the duration of the addiction, the type of drug and dosages consumed, as well as the method of consumption.

Withdrawal symptoms can begin to arise within hours of using your last drug. They tend to peak after two or three days and may plateau for several more. Symptoms typically subside within a week or two.

Detox is the period of time it takes for your body to be completely clear of the substance. It includes the withdrawal process, coping with the accompanying symptoms and taking care of your body until it has readjusted to being without the drug.

If you have been using a drug with a high potential for dependency and you stop suddenly or drastically reduce your intake, a variety of withdrawal symptoms are likely to present.

The intensity and duration of these symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the type of drug consumed and to what extent. Opiates and opioids are notorious for inducing unpleasant and frequently painful withdrawal symptoms. Some symptoms can be dangerous and in the case of certain drugs, like benzodiazepines, even fatal. While a medical detox can reduce symptoms, some are unavoidable. There are a number of common side effects to drug withdrawal.

  • Nausea
  • Poor sleep or insomnia
  • Body discomfort
  • Congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Shakiness and sweating
  • Vomiting
  • High blood pressure

  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Cravings