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What Are The Side Effects Of Drug Detox?


sign about drug detox

Detoxification, also referred to as detox, is the process that rids one’s body of foreign substances. There are several contributing factors that will inform one’s detox experience. These can include: one’s personal health history, the type or types of substance abused, the potency of the substance abused, the amount abused, how long an individual abused the substance in addition to any simultaneous use of other substance will all factor into one’s detox experience. Any person that has habitually abused drugs and/ or alcohol has likely developed a tolerance to the abused substance or substances. When a drug tolerance is built, one’s body begins to rely on the substance to function. When the substance is not present in one’s system, the body will react accordingly. The side effects of drug detox develop in the form of withdrawal symptoms. 

Side Effects: Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are adverse symptoms that occur as a result of ceasing the use of a substance with which one’s body has become accustomed. Each type of substance has a somewhat unique set of withdrawal symptoms that can manifest during detox. Below are some examples of withdrawal symptoms that can develop in relation to the abuse of the following specific substances:

  • Alcohol: vomiting, sweating, headaches, nausea, anxiety, hand tremors, confusion, restlessness, insomnia, loss of appetite, rapid heart rate
  • Benzodiazepine: heart palpitations, shaking, irritability, sleep disturbances, dry heaving, nausea, anxiety, sweating, muscle pain, headache, panic attacks, elevated blood pressure, agitation, difficulty concentrating, muscle stiffness
  • Opiate: diarrhea, vomiting, watery eyes, nausea, sweating, chills, muscle pain, excessive yawning, insomnia, anxiety, depression, stomach cramping
  • Adderall: muscle aches, stomach cramping, fatigue, mood swings, nausea, depression, headache, vomiting, malaise, difficulty concentrating, suicidal ideations, memory impairment
  • Marijuana: nausea, insomnia, agitation, stomach pain, decreased appetite, nightmares, irritability, restlessness, aggression, headache, tremors, extreme nervousness

The duration, severity, and combination of withdrawal symptoms experienced during detox will differ from person to person. 

Post-Acute Withdrawal (PAWS)

After an individual completes the acute detox process, which includes the first stage of withdrawal symptoms, post-acute withdrawal syndrome may occur. The withdrawal symptoms associated with PAWS generally last much longer than those from the acute detox phase. Although the specific withdrawal symptoms will vary from teen to teen during the acute detox and withdrawal phase, many individuals experience similar withdrawal symptoms during post-acute withdrawal. Some examples of commonly reported post-acute withdrawal symptoms can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Variable energy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Exhaustion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lethargy 

This occurs as a result of the brain having to re-calibrate as it must learn to function after the young person stops using drugs and/ or alcohol. The symptoms primarily manifest as psychological and emotional withdrawal symptoms. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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