What is Drug Withdrawal

Withdrawal is the feeling a person feels after they stop using a drug. The reason this feeling is hard to deal with is that once someone is addicted to a drug, their body relies on that drug to function. When the drug disappears, the body no longer remembers how to operate and needs to relearn how to exist without it. All drugs affect the body differently, and their withdrawals are different too. Some last longer and they feel different. The good consistent thing is that all withdrawals will pass and a different type of recovery starts from there.

Different Influences on Withdrawal

These are a few different ways that may change how withdrawal affects someone:

  • How long did someone use the drug they are trying to quit?
  • What was the way they took the drug? This could include inhaling, snorting, smoking or injecting.
  • How much did the person take in one session? The higher dosage a person uses, the more extended withdrawal can take.
  • Does this person have a family history of drug abusers?
  • Has this person ever been diagnosed with mental illness before?

In the end, each is going to be affected differently, so there are many other different factors. Usually, withdrawal involves three stages. In the first stage, the drug has to leave the body. Then, there is a peak period which is when the body craves for the drug most. Finally, there is a long period afterward where cravings can still happen. Depending on the drug, this craving can last even years. To get a small sense of the timeline of withdrawal, here is the explanation of an estimated timeline for Adderall, cocaine, and heroin.


–    Detox may last up to five or seven days.

–    Adderall can take up to 72 hours before it leaves the body.

–    After leaving the body, a week without usage will be the withdrawal peak.

–    The craving usually continues for about a month.


–    A peak withdrawal feels like your body crashed. Your body has no energy to do anything.

–    It only takes a few hours before cocaine leaves the body.

–    The peak occurs just after a few days.

–    The third stage may last for ten weeks.


–    The peak withdrawal symptoms for heroin are similar to the symptoms of the flu. The body will physically act up. One may experience muscle aches, sweating sprees, and even nausea. People can also start vomiting.

–    Heroin leaves the body within 12 hours.

–    Withdrawal may peak after a day. The peak may continue for a day or two.

–    It may take months before someone stops feeling the effects of heroin withdrawal.

It is always recommended to go through detox if you want to recover from addiction. This is because addiction is a medical problem and the best way to cure addiction is with medical support. Someone going through withdrawal may suddenly become suicidal or violent. A team of experts is the best way to keep them safe.


More detailed information about withdrawal symptoms and medical detox you can find on a video below.