Common symptoms of drug detox

Drug detox symptoms depend on the type of drugs abused, although common psymptoms can include anxiety, headache, sweating, racing heart, andor nausea. More on detox symptoms and what to expect here.

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A Quick Guide to Drug Detox Symptoms

Drug detox symptoms depend on the type of drugs abused, although there are many symptoms that commonly present in withdrawal from most drugs of abuse. Symptoms can be early (acute), or persist for days or weeks. During detox, the treatment staff is understanding and supportive of this difficult first step of recovery from drugs or alcohol. A variety of approaches, and in some cases medication, are used to help manage these drug detox symptoms.

Some common drug detox symptoms are emotional, and include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • feelings of isolation
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • restlessness
  • trouble concentrating

Some common physical drug detox symptoms are:

  • diarrhea
  • difficulty breathing
  • nausea
  • racing heart
  • sweating
  • vomiting

Drug Detox Symptoms for Some Specific Drugs of Abuse

Here is a quick guide to drug detox symptoms for heroin, prescription painkillers, methamphetamine, cocaine and prescription sedatives (sleep aids).


Drug detox symptoms for cocaine include depression, extreme fatigue, sleeping problems, vivid and unpleasant dreams, and agitation. Cravings are also common. The symptoms are not dangerous but are very uncomfortable.


Drug withdrawal from heroin can be very uncomfortable, but it is not dangerous. In addition to some of the common symptoms listed above, detox from heroin also includes cold flashes and goosebumps. Some people experience involuntary leg movements during detox from heroin. Muscle and bone pain are also common.


Intense cravings are a main drug detox symptom for meth. Anxiety, fatigue and depression are also common symptoms.


Many people feel muscle and bone pain, insomnia and most of the common symptoms listed above.


Sudden withdrawal from these types of drugs, particularly if they have been abused for an extended period of time, can cause very severe symptoms. Drug detox symptoms of concern include seizures. A tapering off of some drugs, such as barbiturates, may be recommended during medical detox.

Drug Detox Symptom Support

Q: What is the safest way to detox off any drug?
A: Under medical supervision at a specialized clinic.

Detox centers are staffed by extensively trained detox specialists. They are very familiar with drug detox symptoms for all drugs of abuse, and skilled in the physical and emotional support that is necessary during the detox process. Research shows that pain-free detox is not realistic, but the detox treatment team will make sure that the experience is as comfortable as possible. No one will go through the detox experience alone. Empathy and respect are important parts of the detox period.

Ready for detox? Or know someone who is struggling with an addiction? We’re here to provide support and answer your questions. Don’t let fear, or not knowing the right question, stop you from contacting us. We’re dedicated to helping make recovery a reality.

About the author
Jillian Jesser loves life and tries to live it to the fullest each and every day. After failing to finish two drug and alcohol detox programs in as many years, she managed to complete the program the third time and follow through with residential treatment ending her addictions for good.
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