What to Expect When Anticipating Withdrawal Symptoms

If you or someone you know has decided to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol, the first step to recovery is to stop using the drug or alcohol. This is also called detox or detoxification, and the aim is to remove the substance from your body. It may take a few days to a week, and it is just the beginning of the road to recovery. Depending on the substance and how long you have been taking it, the withdrawal symptoms may be mild or severe. It may be helpful to know in advance what you can expect during withdrawals so that you can better deal with it when the time comes.


Sleep disturbances are a symptom that most people experience during detoxification. For psychiatric drug withdrawal, there may be full-on insomnia, according to Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD. Some of the things to expect include difficulty falling asleep, restlessness, waking up too early or sleeping late into the morning. The exact degree of insomnia varies for different people, but it’s a good idea to be prepared for at least some degree of insomnia when you start the detoxification process.


Cravings are a part of any addiction and can be tough to get rid of. Your body will crave whatever substance you are addicted to because it senses that it is the only way to feel good again. Sometimes, the cravings are very strong and you need help to overcome them. Other times, the cravings are weak and you can resist them yourself. Psychological cravings may continue for years in a mild form, even after recovery. You can modify your habits to learn to live without the substance.

Every Situation Is Different

Just because one person has a certain withdrawal experience, that doesn’t mean that you will have the same experience. Transformations Treatment advises that whatever your addiction, the symptoms of withdrawal vary from person to person, even for the same substance. Don’t just base your symptoms or care off of what you’ve heard or seen from another person. It’s important to receive customized care to help you get through this process in a safe and manageable way.

How Long Does Withdrawal Last?

As the drug or alcohol leaves your system, you will go through several withdrawal stages. The amount of time it takes for the substance to leave your system depends on several things. Your overall health, the severity of the addiction, the type of substance and how often you used it will all affect how long it takes for you to get through withdrawal. The early stages start from six to 30 hours after you stop using the substance. You may experience anxiety and irritability. After about 72 hours, the symptoms tend to become stronger, and whatever symptoms you had in the early stages become worse. You may have chills and nausea. The first week is the worst, but some symptoms may last up to a month.

Recovering from addiction can be a difficult process, but all the effort will be worth it in the end. Withdrawal is the first step to recovery from addiction. You can get professional emotional, psychological, and medical help to make the process easier.

Here’s another article you might like: How Staying Active Helps Your Mental Health