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Who Experiences Detox Symptoms?

Whether alcohol or known addictive drugs, ongoing substance abuse will likely bring on withdrawal effects. Anyone who’s tried to take a break from drinking or using drugs well knows how uncomfortable an experience this can be.

Withdrawal effects take the form of detox symptoms when a person abstains from using. While detox symptoms are typically associated with drug treatment, heavy alcohol/drug use can cause detox-like symptoms to develop whether a person stops using or not. In the case of heavy or long-term use, the body actually remains in a state of withdrawal causing detox symptoms to develop on a regular basis.

As substance abuse can take various forms, detox symptoms can also vary in intensity. In effect, anyone who uses drugs or alcohol on a consistent basis runs the risk of developing detox symptoms at some point in time.

Alcohol/Drug Withdrawal

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, detox-type symptoms result from impairments in a person’s brain and bodily functions. Both alcohol and drugs alter the body’s brain and central nervous system functions so any bodily process regulated by these areas becomes susceptible to the effects of substance abuse. People who experience episodes of withdrawal are in effect experiencing detox symptoms, whether they’re using or abstaining from alcohol or drug use.

“Dependent” Users


Those who abruptly quit using drugs will experience withdrawal symptoms.

As any experienced drug or alcohol user well knows, withdrawal effects can be quickly alleviated by taking another “hit” or having another drink. Someone who has a full work day ahead or kids to tend to may not be able to function effectively without taking this course of action.

Unfortunately, this practice “trains” the brain and body to become dependent on the drug’s effects to function normally. Casual users can develop a physical dependency from attempting to “self-medicate” detox symptoms in this manner.

Once a physical dependency sets in, dependent users start to experience mild withdrawal episodes on a regular basis. These episodes will eventually become more severe in intensity with continued substance use.

Heavy Users

The brain and body naturally develop a tolerance to the effects of alcohol and drugs. With continued use, a person starts to drink or consume increasingly larger quantities to compensate for rising tolerance levels.

As tolerance levels rise, the rate of physical dependency increases accordingly. Before long, users find themselves consuming incredibly large amounts of substances just to keep detox symptoms at bay.

For heavy users, symptoms may take the form of:

  • Headaches
  • Problems sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Impaired thinking processes
  • Fluctuations in mood

While symptoms remain the same with mild, moderate and severe substance abuse, the severity of symptoms increases considerably with heavy use.


Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol has developed a psychological dependency on top of the physical dependency. In turn, the body’s physical detox symptoms are further aggravated by an emotional/psychological dependency.

Psychological symptoms experienced include:

  • Strong and persistent drug cravings
  • Diminished decision-making abilities
  • Drug/alcohol use becomes the sole motivation in a person’s life

The combined effects of a psychological dependency all but transform a person’s lifestyle to the point where everything he or she thinks, does and plans for centers around substance abuse practices.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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