Your body goes through a withdrawal process when you stop using drugs. This withdrawal process can be dangerous and slow depending on the substance you used to abuse. The detox process is important to manage your reactions and ensure safe withdrawal.

The way your brain reacts to drug abuse is the reason for withdrawal. Your brain takes the drug as the new “normal”. Therefore, it’ll rely on the drug to achieve euphoria or relaxation. This reliance causes dependence on the drug of choice.

It’s not an easy process as your body will rebel due to the drug’s absence. Consequently, your body will need to readjust to the old normal when you stop using the drug. It’ll also start to detoxify to assist the brain’s readjustment process.

The above description is a sure-fire indicator that drug and alcohol detox can be a complex procedure with different unique symptoms. In fact, some of the signs of detox can be pretty uncomfortable.

This blog will explore the major signs your body is detoxing. We’ll also discuss diet options that can help with drug detox symptoms.

Here’s your comprehensive guide to drug detox symptoms.

Withdrawal is a Sign Your Body is Detoxing

The biggest sign your body is detoxing is withdrawal. This addiction term describes the sum total of your body’s response to the substance’s absence.

The reactions that occur during withdrawal depend on the following:

  • Amount of substance consumed
  • Type of substance
  • The timeline of drug abuse
  • Pre-existing physical and mental conditions
  • Whether or not you mix substances

Your drug of choice plays a major part in what happens during detox. For illustration, opioids and opiates are drugs that offer pain relief. Therefore, withdrawal symptoms during opiate detox may include hypersensitivity to pain. Conversely, Benzodiazepines are powerful anti-anxiety medications. Therefore, quitting them can lead to feelings of restlessness and anxiety.

As far as withdrawal goes, the signs your body is detoxing vary from person to person. Plus, we can further group withdrawal symptoms into three major groups:

Physical Symptoms

The physical signs your body is detoxing cover the bodily reactions to suddenly quitting drugs. Lethargy and fatigue are two of the most common physical symptoms of drug detox. They’re pretty common due to the toll heavy drug use takes on an addict’s body.

Other physical signs your body is detoxing include:

  • Shakes
  • Tingles
  • Clammy skin
  • Cold feeling
  • Muscle spasm

Behavioural Symptoms

This side effect of drug detox describes your interaction with people around you. Quitting drug abuse can be a difficult and uncomfortable process. It can be quite frustrating and many people take it out on those around them.

Behavioural symptoms to expect during drug detox include frustration, irritability and agitation. Many people experiencing drug withdrawal also display repeated anger flashes.

Psychological Symptoms

The following signs your body is detoxing have to do with your well-being, mental health and overall mood. Depressive episodes, nervousness, and anxiety are common psychological signs of drug detox.

Other common psychological symptoms include:

  • Paranoia
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

These have to do with the digestive system’s response to the substance’s absence. Usually, the major factor here is your appetite.

The sudden internal imbalance makes it difficult to eat. Hence, most people undergoing detox tend to lose their appetite. Other gastrointestinal symptoms include stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.

Sleeping Issues

sleeping issues

Your body starts to rely on drugs to fall asleep. This reliance is part of how drug or alcohol dependence comes about. Insomnia, interrupted sleep, sleeplessness, and nightmares are all signs your body is detoxing. Your body will need time to adjust to a healthy sleeping routine.


Cognitive symptoms of drug detox revolve around your ability to process thoughts. Normally, drug addiction can make cognitive ability extra difficult.

However, the abrupt ceasing of regular drug use can also influence your cognitive abilities. That’s why experts often recommend undergoing detox at a professional facility.

Confusion, slowed thought process, difficulties concentrating, and disorientation are some of the cognitive-related symptoms to expect during detox.

Related Article: What Medications are Used During Detox?

Other Symptoms Your Body is Detoxing

It’s not just about withdrawal. Drugs have various effects on the brain. They can change the brain’s regular makeup and alter its normal operation. This change is why you may experience the following during detox:


Strong cravings for the substance of choice is a sure-fire sign your body is detoxing. Your brain’s natural response will be to replace the chemical (the drug) it’s losing during the detox procedure. This natural response will manifest as intense, persistent cravings.

It can be hard to resist the urge to go back to your substance of choice. In fact, these strong cravings are the primary factor behind the high relapse rate among addicts. That’s why experts recommend surrounding yourself with highly trained and licensed addiction treatment professionals.

Other signs your body is detoxing include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Depression
  • Shivering
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle pain
  • Vivid dreams
  • Agitation
  • Extreme mood swings

Benefits of Drug Detox

All the signs your body is detoxing point to a complex process with several negative side effects. With so many downsides to worry about, it’s easy to start to wonder whether or not drug detox is worth it.

Here are the benefits to expect after drug detoxification:

Weight Loss

Eating healthy and reducing the number of calories you eat will help you lose weight. A drug detoxification plan can also help you achieve your weight loss goals.

The best drug detox centres in Ontario place a high priority on a healthy diet. Some of them even have expert dietitians, and nutritionists plan your eating schedule during the detox process. A balanced eating and exercise reason is a healthy lifestyle choice that’ll help you lose weight.

Removes Excess Waste

One of the signs your body is detoxing is excessive sweating. This side effect happens because your body is trying to remove excess waste in the form of sweat.

A good drug detoxification plan will remove harmful toxins present in your body. This waste removal step doesn’t just stop at the harmful drugs in your body. It also extends to toxins, heavy metals, medications and chemicals in your body. Your body will remove these residues thereby improving your kidneys, colon and liver functions.

Improved kidney and liver function will boost your body’s ability to remove toxins. Consequently, your body becomes more effective at controlling the influx of toxins into your body.

Boosts Your Immunity

Drug detoxification boosts your body organs’ smooth operation. The lymphatic bores will work better to absorb vitamins and other nutrients. In turn, your immune system gets the nutrients it needs to protect you against diseases. In combination, improved organ performance allows you to gain control of your overall health.

Improves Skin Health

Drug detoxification can help with skin problems like hair loss and acne. Drug detox opens the pores and prompts a body-wide skin purge. Similarly, sweating out contaminants will boost the removal of toxins in the skin.

Best Dieting Practices for Drug Detox

The drug detox signs we discuss above can take a strong toll on the body. The good news is a healthy diet can lessen the intensity of most drug detox symptoms. Foods that’ll help your drug recovery process include drugs that are rich in sugar, fat and carbohydrates.

Some of the foods that should constitute your diet include:

  • Raw vegetables or fruits like beets, avocados, and blueberries
  • Whole grain meals like sweet potatoes, farro and quinoa
  • Seeds like pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds
  • Nuts including pine nuts, macadamia nuts and almonds

The above are suggestions of food items that can make your detox process easier. It’s important to combine these food options in a way that offers your body maximum nutritional and caloric value.

Dehydration is another factor to consider during the detox stage. It’s important to drink lots of water regularly. Doing so will help you side-step negative side effects like headaches, fatigue and cramps.

You should also limit your caffeine intake during the detox stage. Caffeine can trigger neurotransmitters that’ll lead to increased stimulation, affecting your detox process.

Avoid Junk Food

avoid junk food

Junk food is home to empty calories and minimal nutrients. It can be hard for you to recognize nutritional deficiencies in your bodies during the addiction phase. Therefore, you must ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs during the detox stage.

Nutrients to include in your diet are:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These nutrients will improve neurotransmitter function and will help relieve anxiety and depression.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbs are important because they boost serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that improves your mood.
  • Iron: Iron deficiency can cause serious body fatigue
  • Fibre: Fiber should be a big part of your diet, especially if you’re dealing with opioid addiction. Fibre deficiency can cause gastrointestinal problems during withdrawal.

Avoid Caffeine and Sugar

Caffeine and Sugar will keep you alert throughout the day. However, their regular intake can cause sharp changes in blood sugar content. This sharp change often results in increased drug cravings.

High sugar foods often trigger a physiologic reaction that mimics your brain’s reward system. Therefore, you risk trading drug addiction for sugar abuse.

Keep Your Hunger in Control

Many people who have been abusing drugs for a long while often forget the feeling of hunger. These feelings are likely to come rushing back during the detox stage. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to confuse these feelings with drug cravings.

That’s why we recommend following a strict meal schedule throughout the detox stage and even afterwards. A regular eating schedule will train your body to control hunger and know when to expect food.

Develop Cooking Skills

A key part of drug detox is developing hobbies to help manage your cravings. This hobby can be a healthy distraction, so you don’t have to focus on the horrible cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Cooking can be that hobby.

You don’t have to be a trained chef to cook healthy meals. Plus, the mastery of a few basic meals can improve your overall nutrition.

Related Article: Dangers of Drug Detox at Home

Final Take

The signs your body is detoxing range from withdrawal symptoms to physical and psychological ones. Drug detox symptoms can take a toll on the body.

But you don’t have to go through detox alone. Contact us today to discuss your addiction detox needs! Here at Medical Detox Ontario, we’ll provide a safe, serene environment for you to recover safely.

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