What Happens When You Stop Using Drugs?


Drug addiction causes considerable changes to an individual’s body, and going through drug withdrawal can cause an equally significant number of changes to the body and brain. Drug withdrawal is an all-encompassing term used to describe both the acute and the post-acute symptoms an individual will experience when they stop using drugs. These drug withdrawal symptoms will vary from one person to another based not only on the drug that was abused but also on the abuse profile of the individual. 

How do drugs affect your mind, body, and emotions?

Drug addiction is well-known for producing significant changes to the individual’s physical and mental state. The changes that occur will often be highly-dependent on the type of drug used, but there are some common ways that drugs will affect an individual’s physical and mental health.

Drugs change brain chemistry in considerable ways, leading to emotional instability and physical infirmity. Drug addiction is commonly associated with feelings of shame for the individual. As a result, they will begin to isolate themselves more and more while gradually neglecting relationships with friends, family, and co-workers. Drugs will also take a toll on the body, causing changes to appetite, appearance, and overall health, sometimes resulting in secondary infections or drug-related diseases.

Depending on the drug, the amounts which are regularly taken, and the duration of the drug addiction, some of the changes can take months or even years to heal.

What happens when you stop using drugs?

When an individual stops using drugs, they will enter the detox and drug withdrawal stage. This is known as the acute withdrawal stage, where the bulk of the physically uncomfortable and painful symptoms occur. There will also be psychological symptoms both in the acute and post-acute stages. The most common symptoms of drug withdrawal include:

  • Uncontrollable sweating
  • Flu-like symptoms, like watery eyes, runny nose, fever, and hot & cold spells
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps and general aches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tremors
  • Changes in appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Elevated blood pressure & heart rate
  • Reduced concentration & memory
  • Disruption of sleep cycles
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation, irritability, and even hostility
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Depression
  • Delirium or hallucinations
  • Seizure

There are also many symptoms and detox processes that are drug-specific.

Positive life changes after withdrawal and detox

Overcoming drug addiction can have immense benefits in the life of a recovering individual. From improved mental clarity to strengthened relationships, quitting drugs and seeking help for their abuse has helped many turn over a new leaf.

Becoming More Productive

Drugs reduce your ability to focus and concentrate on tasks and your motivation for things non-drug related. Quitting drugs can help you regain productivity, and the increase in focus and concentration after detox means many individuals in recovery can go back to normal lives.

Better Sleep

No matter the substance, addiction will often lead to a disturbance in one’s inner clock. The impact can vary from person to person, but ultimately it disrupts the natural body cycle leading to an array of physical and psychological issues. This internal “body clock” helps your body regulate things like appetite, hormone and neurotransmitter release, and sleep. Once the drugs are out of the system, the body will begin to regain its ability to induce restful sleep, which can help mitigate other unpleasant symptoms by giving the body a chance to heal.

Improved Appetite & Nutrition

Drug use often suppresses the appetite, which leads to a variety of secondary conditions, even forms of malnutrition. After treatment, the individual may notice a resurgence in their appetite and be able to eat again semi-normally.

Increased Energy

Lethargy is a common result of using drugs like opiates or alcohol, both of which are incredibly powerful depressants. Energy levels will be higher once an individual stops using those drugs. To some people, this may be a welcome change; to others, it may not be.

Increased Immune Function

Drug addiction often results in a significant decrease in the immune response. Once the drug is out of the individual’s system, the body is better able to fight off infection and disease.

Less Financial Stress

Drugs are expensive, and getting money for drugs becomes a full-time job for many addicts. Entering into drug addiction recovery can take that financial burden off of their shoulders. This can allow the individual to rebuild their finances and credit and have less stress overall surrounding their financial situation.

How relationships with friends and family could positively change when drug abuse stops

One of the most significant social changes that drug addiction causes are the tendency to self-isolate or to shrink social circles to only those who also use drugs. When drug addiction stops, the individual who previously shut out friends and family will find that they are able to socialize with them again. This isn’t the case in all situations, and sometimes it can take time for those people to be open to rekindling the relationship, but with the largest obstacle out of the way, it’s common to see renewed relationships with family and friends.

How to stop using drugs the right way

One of the best ways to address mental health and stop drugs from running your life is to enter a professional treatment program that can utilize several different techniques to help get through drug withdrawal. The best facilities will even offer medical detox from drugs, where the individual is given prescription pharmaceuticals to help minimize the drug withdrawal symptoms and the cravings that would otherwise follow.

In some cases, medical detoxification from drugs is the only safe way to stop drug addiction. For individuals recovering from substances like amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and sleep aids, tapering down the dosage can be a reliable way to avoid dangerous and even deadly withdrawal symptoms such as seizures.

Explore Inpatient Detox with Agape

If you or someone you love is living with drug addiction and needs help from an experienced professional, reach out to Agape Detox Center today. The detox process and journey to recovery are different for everyone, and the experts at Agape will help create a treatment plan that is tailored to the individual. Not only will the detox happen in a comfortable and safe environment, but it will be coupled with therapy and counseling so that the individual will have a solid foundation for their ongoing recovery.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have any questions?

Table of Contents
Skip to content