Alcohol and Drug Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

Becoming addicted to anything can certainly cause some emotional distress. Whether one is addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, and so on, the results or consequences of the addiction will catch up with the person sooner or later.

Addiction is a disease of the brain, and it can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, social status, economic status and so on. There are highly affluent people who are struggling with addiction, as well as those who are not so affluent. Teenagers struggle with addiction, as well as all ages up to senior citizens. Addiction has no boundaries.

Addiction can also cause the families of addict’s negative feelings, including grief. For the more serious addictions, such as alcohol or drugs, loved ones can feel as if they’ve lost the essence of the true person before the addiction took hold. For example, a person before a heroin addiction may not succumb to behavior such as lying or stealing, but once they are knee-deep in the disease of addiction, it’s as if the brain is hijacked and that person is no longer there. It’s as if the disease takes over and that person begins to engage in behaviors he or she would never do before.

Addiction treatment is available

Good news is that the disease of addiction can be overcome and there is treatment available. The very first step of treatment will be recognizing that you have a problem with addiction, and then reaching out for help to get free. Some people can get free on their own, but many people end up having to reach out for help.

Those who decide to get free will usually go through a period of withdrawal. If you ask most people who’ve been through the withdrawal process, they probably say that some withdrawal symptoms were horrible. Granted, withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the particular type of drug or behavior. For example, a crack addict going through withdrawal symptoms will experience more daunting and intense withdrawal symptoms than someone perhaps going through withdrawal from a gambling addiction.

Here is a list of some common withdrawal symptoms are for various addictions:


Many times, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will begin occurring a day or two once someone has stopped drinking. This can vary, and someone who tends to be a binge drinker on the weekends, probably won’t notice withdrawal symptoms for a week or two. Here are some common withdrawal symptoms for alcoholism:

Alcohol craving. Cravings will differ in each person and the intensity will depend on various factors. Some people continue to crave alcohol for weeks, months or even years. Oftentimes, extra support is necessary to deal with the cravings, but usually learning about your triggers and how to cope with them without drinking will suffice.

Mood changes. When you give up alcohol, you may feel like you’re giving up a good friend. You like the way it makes you feel and your brain has become dependent upon it. You may go through depression or anger. You may find yourself anxious or fearful.

Nausea and vomiting. It’s common to feel nauseous and/or vomit for up to about three days once withdrawal symptoms start. This will vary depending on how much one drank and how often.

Hallucinations. A hallucination is when someone sees or feel something that isn’t really there. This is a more serious withdrawal symptom and usually results when someone has been a heavy drinker. Sometimes delirium tremens accompany the hallucinations, which is extreme shaking.

Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol usually last about 5 to 7 days, but this will vary depending on whether the drinker was mild, moderate, or a severe drinker. Sometime withdrawal symptoms may linger, like depression or cravings, but it will vary depending on each person.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms

If you’ve been using heroin for a while and want to quit using it, you will benefit from understanding what to expect when it comes to withdrawal symptoms.  Heroin is a powerful drug that you can become dependent upon quite quickly. The euphoric feeling that occurs when you use heroin makes you crave the drug greatly when the effect wears off.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms can begin occurring within 6 hours of the last use.   During the withdrawal phase, it is a good idea to be monitored by substance abuse professionals at a detox center.

Common heroin withdrawal symptoms

Mood changes.  When you stop using heroin, you will most likely experience some mood changes. You may fall prey to depression, anxiety, or irritability. After all, your body is used to heroin and when it does not get its “fix”, it creates these feelings in order to get you to give it back the drug.  Stay strong. These mood changes will pass once you get through the withdrawal process.

Body aches.  Heroin not only gives you a pleasurable feeling, it also blocks some pain receptors so that you don’t feel as much pain.  When your body stops getting heroin, you will feel some body aches and pains and be quite sensitive to pain. This will pass in time as well.

Body fluids.  When you go through heroin withdrawal, your body will produce extra body fluids like tears, sweat, and you may even have a runny nose.  This is a normal response when your body is trying to bring you back into balance.

Stomach pain.  Your digestive system will be affected by heroin withdrawal symptoms and you may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

Fever.  You may experience a fever during the withdrawal phase.  Should your fever get to be above 103 degrees, seek medical help.

Sleep problems. When you’re going through heroin withdrawal, you may have trouble sleeping at night.  It might be difficult to get to sleep and you may wake up multiple times throughout the night.  Yawning is also a common withdrawal symptom.

Heroin detox center

It is in your best interest to attend a drug detox center if you plan on stopping heroin use.  Some withdrawal symptoms can become quite intense and at a detox center, you can rely on substance abuse professionals to assist you with getting through such symptoms. They can also administer medication that will help lessen some of the symptoms.  Once you get through detox, which is usually within a week, you can then look into attending an inpatient or outpatient rehab program where you can continue your recovery.

Pain Pills Withdrawal Symptoms

Painkillers do a pretty good job of numbing pain, but they also produce a euphoric feeling that makes it an easy target for addiction. In fact, pain pills are the number one drug in the United States that are abused the most.  It’s not that anyone wants to become addicted, but once the brain gets a taste of the drug and you feel that sensation of relaxation and euphoria, you automatically want more. This makes it difficult to stop using such, as pain pill withdrawal symptoms can be pretty severe.

The basics of pain pill withdrawal

Opiates are easy to become dependent upon.  As you take a pain pill like OxyContin, your body begins to become used to it and actually builds a tolerance, so that you have to take higher doses to get that same euphoric feeling. The consistent use of the drug causes withdrawal once you stop taking it and this makes it tough to stay off of the drug.

Pain pill withdrawal symptoms can affect anyone. They last from a few days to a week or more depending on how long you’ve been taking and the dose you took. The first three to five days will be the toughest.

Even if you’ve only been taking pain pills for several weeks, you can experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop intake.  In fact, those that are prescribed pain pills after a surgery and take it for a week or two can suffer withdrawal symptoms.  This is one reason it is easy to want more of the drug because feeling an intense craving for more is not a pleasant feeling.

Early withdrawal symptoms

Once you take your last pain pill, you will begin to experience withdrawal within about six to 20 hours after.  It really depends on how long you’ve been taking the drug and the dosage.

Here are some early pain pill withdrawal symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Irritability
  • Runny nose
  • Tears in the yes
  • Yawning
  • Sweating

Here are later withdrawal symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea

How dangerous is pain pill withdrawal?

Going through pain pill withdrawal is not easy, but it is usually not life-threatening.  Be aware though, that it is possible for complications to occur, so going through the detox process with the monitoring of a substance abuse professional is recommended.  You can either discuss this with your medical doctor, psychiatrist, or someone at a drug detox center.

Pain pill overdose

Yes, you can overdose and die using pain pills.  This can happen when you stop taking them for a period of time and then start taking the drug again. What happens is that while you detoxed from the drug your body lost some of its tolerance for the drug, so when you reintroduce it to your body in the same dosage, you can overdose.  Be advised pain pills are nothing to play around with.

Drug detox and rehab

There are plenty of other drugs that one will experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping, such as benzos, stimulants, and even nicotine. Withdrawal symptoms always vary depending on time used and dosage, but generally, the worst of the symptoms are felt within the first three to five days.

It would do you well to attend a drug detox and rehab center to get free from alcohol or any drug, as there you will be in a safe and secure atmosphere surrounded by professionals who are very good at helping addicts detox and begin a new life without drug dependence.  Additionally, there is also medicine available that they can administer to make withdrawal symptoms less daunting.

If you’re struggling with an addiction, reach out for help.  There are detox and rehabs that are more than willing to help you get free from drug dependence. Give us a call today and allow us to assist you in finding the right recovery path for you.