Approximately 16.5 percent1 of Americans are affected annually by a substance use disorder. That works out to over 45 million people who struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol each year. Many of these individuals encounter numerous barriers to sobriety. Whether due to embarrassment from social stigmas or a reluctance to seek professional treatment, many people try to detox alone at home.

Entering a drug and alcohol detox program is the best choice for most individuals experiencing substance use disorder. Getting help at an addiction treatment center is safer and more effective than getting sober alone. Knowing how to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug withdrawal in friends and loved ones can potentially help save lives.

If you or someone you care about is ready to get sober, contact Fort Behavioral Health in Fort Worth. Our professional detox program has the resources and experienced staff members to guide you through uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms safely. Call us at 844.332.1807 to learn more about our treatments and therapies.

What Causes Drug Addiction and Withdrawal?

When someone becomes addicted to a drug or develops a dependency, the brain responds by decreasing activity in the areas affected by the substance. For example, if an individual takes cocaine, the brain’s reward center releases dopamine, resulting in the feeling of being high. Over months or years of cocaine use, the brain no longer creates or releases as much dopamine, making it harder for the individual to achieve the same high. As a result, they may take higher or more frequent doses, leading to addiction or dependency.

When a person stops using drugs, it takes time for the brain and body to catch up and adjust. Symptoms of drug withdrawal hit the hardest as toxins in substances leave the body. Individuals may experience intense cravings for the drug as they do not feel like themselves without it, often resulting in a relapse.

While different substances may cause withdrawal symptoms, that gap between stopping use and the body adjusting to the change is the primary cause of drug withdrawal. Drugs that cause withdrawal can include:

  • Prescription opioids
  • Nicotine
  • Central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol or barbiturates
  • Central nervous system stimulants, such as cocaine or methamphetamines

Withdrawal is among the most severe and life-threatening effects of drug abuse, which is why professional detox is critical.

Symptoms of Drug Withdrawal

Individuals who cease drug use may experience withdrawal symptoms that are both physical and psychological. Symptoms vary depending on the substance. The timeline also varies depending on the individual, as the effects of drug abuse may last weeks, months, or even years. However, withdrawal usually begins within 12 hours after stopping drug use.

Some of the most common drug withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nightmares
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures

There can be more severe withdrawal symptoms for certain substances, but most people will first experience the signs in the above list.

Start the Drug and Alcohol Detox Program at Fort Behavioral Health

At Fort Behavioral Health, lasting recovery is within reach for all individuals. We have medical professionals available around the clock to monitor and care for those working to overcome addiction. We carefully consider and plan every stage of each client’s treatment program based on their unique needs.

If you struggle with a substance use disorder, we’re ready to help you take control of your life. Our compassionate, knowledgeable clinicians and counselors can provide guidance and resources as you take the first steps toward recovery. Call 844.332.1807 or complete our online form to start your sobriety journey today.



SAMHSA – Highlights for the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health


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