What Danger Will You Face During Detox and Withdrawal?

What Danger Will You Face During Detox and Withdrawal?

Detoxing and withdrawal can be dangerous, especially if you have struggled with substance use disorder (SUD) for a long time. The longer you have used the substances, the harder it will be, as your mind and body have adapted to that substance’s effects and stopped using the natural reward system.

What Is Withdrawal?

When you go through withdrawal, your brain does not get what it has gotten for a while, and the craving will be hard to ignore. That is why many people who try and detox and withdrawal on their own are at a higher risk of relapse and overdose.

Mental Effects of Withdrawal

Depending on what substances you use, withdrawal has different symptoms as your brain starts to adapt to the loss of the substances affected by its process. Symptoms could include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion and inability to focus
  • Irritability
  • Experiencing delusions and hallucinations

Your brain is trying to understand what is happening to the chemistry affecting your mind. A higher flood of unnatural rewards causes it to make fewer natural rewards. That can affect how you think about things during withdrawal.

Social isolation, anger, and hostilities can be brought out when your brain gets fewer reward chemicals than it had been through substance use. Without those soothing chemicals, your mind craves depression, and anxiety can develop. Depending on the substances you use, you can hallucinate and have delusions during withdrawal.

Emotional Impacts of Detoxing and Withdrawal

Emotionally, you may experience the following during the withdrawal process. It can cause:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Social withdrawal
  • Inability to enjoy things you like to do
  • Suicidal ideations

When your mind struggles in withdrawal, your mental state fluctuates between depression, anxiety, helplessness, anger, and wanting to not do anything. During withdrawal, your emotional state will spiral down as the detoxing removes the substances in the body.

Once your body has not gotten its expected fix, it will experience cravings, which could cause you to feel paranoid. The cravings make you think about the substances nonstop, and your mind will focus on the substances over anything else in your life. The substances become the most important thing in your mind, and you will ruminate on how good it was and how much you need them.

Physical Symptoms and Dangers From Detox and Withdrawal

Your body can respond to withdrawal in a lot of ways, depending on the substances you are addicted to. It can be irritating and make you sensitive to light, cold, noise, and even conversation. Your body will be trying to adapt to the new stage of your recovery.

It will crave the substances all the time until you have fully detoxed. The symptoms may be very small and more annoying than dangerous, but depending on the substances, others can be very dangerous, even deadly. Symptoms include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

When alcohol is the substance you use, it thins the blood. Because of that happening over a long time, your body makes your blood thicker to adapt to the thinning. Once you stop drinking alcohol, then your blood can be too thick and can get clots, causing strokes, seizures, or heart attacks.

Withdrawal From Psychedelics

When psychedelic substances such as MDMA and ecstasy are used, then withdrawal can cause seizures. Nausea can bring about dehydration, and that can cause strokes and seizures as well. There are so many types of effects during withdrawal and detoxing that you should have medical professionals monitoring you throughout the process.

Don’t Binge Before Detox

A lot of people will binge right before they try to enter detox and withdrawal. That binge makes it even harder to get through the process. Other medical issues you might have, like diabetes, asthma, ulcers, and mental health issues, can be affected by the withdrawal and add to the potentially dangerous side effects. Heart disease and clogging of arteries can cause detoxing and withdrawal to be deathly for you.

Seek a Safe Setting With Professionals

If you are in a safe place with medical attention and monitoring of your progress, you have the best chance of recovery. It may be a few days or a few weeks, depending on how long you have been using.

Every person is unique in how you go through this. There is no cookie-cutter kind of plan that will work the same for everyone. That’s why it is crucial to monitor as you go through withdrawal. Doing it at home, by yourself, alone puts you in a very dangerous place where you might not be able to get help if you need it.

There are so many challenges that come with detox and withdrawal; therefore, you need to have people there to support you and look out for you while you struggle through your recovery.

Detoxing and withdrawal are hard to go through, but you must challenge yourself in order to reach sobriety. If you or a loved one is currently struggling, Brazos Recovery can help. Our inpatient treatment offers 24/7 support to ensure you are safe and comfortable while going through detox. While it will be hard, we will work with you through each stage. We aim to set you on a path where you can continue to build structure, compassion, guidance, and the skills you need to maintain sobriety. Don’t do it by yourself. We can help you overcome substance use disorder, no matter what kind of substances you use. Together, we can win this fight. Learn more by calling us at (254) 232-1550.

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.