‘Withdrawal’ is a term that is often used in relation to drug addiction treatment. But despite its common use, very few people understand what it means and how it affects addiction treatment. We should point out that withdrawal symptoms are the reason why stopping drug abuse without help is an uphill task. You see, some of the symptoms that manifest are scary and life-threatening. Luckily for you, a drug rehab facility can help you through safe recovery and with minimal discomfort.

However, checking yourself into a drug rehab facility is easier said than done. The process requires going against your body and feeling so strongly about wanting a better life. Also, it means doing a lot of research to get the best drug rehab treatment facility. This is where a drug withdrawal hotline comes in to save the day.

In this piece, we will guide you through drug withdrawal symptoms, why they happen, and the role drug withdrawal hotlines play in your road to recovery.

What is a drug withdrawal hotline?

A drug withdrawal hotline is a special telephone number you can call to learn more about drug withdrawal. Although it offers information on withdrawal symptoms, you can get general information on drug abuse, treatment, and recovery.

The drug withdrawal hotlines are handled by trained professionals who are understanding and empathic. This is mainly because they have had a taste of what you are going through. As such, you don’t expect to receive judgment from the representatives. Instead, they will listen and explain the treatment options available in your location. Moreover, they will keep your identity anonymous and keep the conversation anonymous. You will not be stigmatized for seeking out the information. If anything, they are glad that you are thinking of getting help and turning your life around.

Note: drug abuse is an expensive lifestyle. The organizations providing the hotline services understand this, and as a result, the hotlines are toll-free. As such, you can take your time to explain your situation to the representative and ask follow-up questions.

Drug withdrawal hotlines

There are many drug withdrawal hotlines you can call. Some are general, and others are drug-specific. Below are some of the top drug withdrawal hotlines you can reach out to.

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse – 1-301-443-1124
  • National Drug Helpline – 1-844-289-0879

What causes drug withdrawal?

Withdrawal refers to the sickly feeling and symptoms you get when you quit using a drug. But now the question is, why does the body go into withdrawal? Well, it’s quite simple.

Let’s take an example from a normal routine – drinking a cup of coffee every morning. If you are accustomed to having your morning cup, skipping it means you get a severe headache. This headache is your body telling you that it’s missing something. Before you get the headache, the body has gone through several adjustments to try and maintain homeostasis.

To get a clear picture, think of your body like a seesaw that has to balance the constantly changing weights. Any change in your body, be it caffeine, opiates, or alcohol, tip the scale by triggering the brain to release dopamine. Dopamine is the brain’s reward for the drugs and the reason why they are addictive. With the release of dopamine, extra weight is added to one side of the body’s seesaw. With continued and long term use, the body gets used to the drug and reduces the reward, which levels the seesaw again.

However, when you suddenly stop using the drug instead of slowly reducing consumption, the reward system disappears. And consequently, the seesaw tips in a different direction. So instead of a drug-high, you experience a drug-low which comes with symptoms like irritability and depression.

Unfortunately, it’s not only the brain’s reward system that is affected by withdrawal. In the case of alcoholics, withdrawal comes with a host of physical and cognitive symptoms. But this is because alcohol is a sedative, which means that it slows down brain activity. So to compensate for the drag, most brain circuits ramp up their basal level of activities. Eventually, even with alcohol use, an addict functions normally. But without alcohol, the increased basal levels manifest as hyperactivity and cause seizures, hallucinations, anxiety, or death.

Common drug withdrawal symptoms

From the above explanation, it’s clear that the withdrawal symptoms one experiences depend on the drug they abuse. Usually, stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine will result in psychological symptoms. On the other hand, heroin, prescription drugs, and alcohol withdrawal will come with both psychological and physical symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere between a few days to a couple of weeks.

The common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Tearing eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Cold and hot flushes
  • Muscle aches
  • Tremors
  • Muscle tension
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures

Preparing for the withdrawal symptoms

Once you decide to quit drug use and turn things around, you need to brace yourself for what’s to come. Preparing yourself can help in reducing the seriousness of the withdrawal symptoms. With that said, below is how you prepare for the symptoms.

Call a drug withdrawal hotline

Tell the hotline representative the drug you use, and they will explain to you what you should expect. The representatives will insist on doing a detox at a reputable rehab of your choice instead of at home. This is mainly because there’s no telling how serious the symptoms will be, and you don’t want to risk death or relapse.

Write down everything

The best way of remaining focused is by writing down your goals. In this case, you should write all the pros and cons of drug addiction treatment. This list will help you keep focus and remain motivated even when the process gets tough.

Understand the potential setbacks

It is easy to slip back to old habits during withdrawal. After all, the process is tough, and it’s easier to get a dose of the drug than suffer through the symptoms. However, understanding the pitfalls in the recovery process can help you navigate around them and recover.

Eat healthily

Junk food is tempting, but bear in mind that a nutritious diet can help in easing the symptoms you experience. Moreover, nutrition is an important aspect of drug addiction recovery, especially for those who are malnourished. On the same note, drinking a liter or two of water will help balance things in your system.

Always stay busy

Keeping busy will prevent you from focusing on your discomfort. You can indulge in some sport, or read a book, go jogging or socialize with those around you.

Dealing with the withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can last for several weeks. As a result, it’s important to have medical assistance during this period. Many treatment centers have the tools needed for an effective and safe detox process.

  • 24-7 monitoring
  • A personalized addiction treatment plan
  • A supportive and encouraging community
  • Effective medication

Medication used to treat withdrawal

To help with the withdrawal symptoms, many rehab facilities provide medication. Anyone who tries to detox at home experiences the full wrath of withdrawal symptoms with such medication. For instance, when you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal, the physician will administer Ativan or Valium. The dosage you get depends on how severe your symptoms are. As the symptoms fade away, the medication dosage is reduced lest you get addicted to those as well.

On the other hand, opioid addiction has several options. These options include naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone. Also, clonidine helps in reducing discomfort, and Librium reduces agitation. For insomnia, you will get trazodone.

In addition to the above medication, you go through intensive therapy, especially if the withdrawal symptoms are severe.


Note: withdrawal symptoms occur during detox. The whole detox process is aimed at managing the withdrawal symptoms.

So far, we have looked at withdrawal symptoms and the medications used to manage the symptoms. At this point, it’s important that we describe what an effective detox process includes. Hopefully, this explanation shows why calling a withdrawal hotline and checking into a rehab facility is important.

SAMHSA has a Treatment Improvement Protocol 45 commonly known as TIP 45. This protocol represents an effective detox procedure by their standards. Aside from clearing trace of the drug from the system, the procedure also minimizes physical harm.

TIP 45 showcases the following elements of a good detox:

  • Evaluation: the healthcare professional ought to test the patient for drugs and identify the co-occurring psychological and physical conditions. The evaluation forms the foundation of the rehab program that follows.
  • Stabilization: this is the core element of the detox. It involves helping the patient manage the withdrawal symptoms through medicinal or counseling. Moreover, it involves explaining the patient’s role in their recovery.
  • Assist with entry into addiction treatment: unfortunately, detox alone is not enough to ensure a life of sobriety. If anything, it acts as the entry point into actual treatment that breaks the addiction. The detox will motivate the user to get into a long-term treatment program.

Calling a drug withdrawal hotline

If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, a call to withdrawal hotlines above can put you on the path of relief. The drug withdrawal hotline will help you:

  • Talk with someone who has experienced a similar low in life.
  • Learn more about drug addiction and withdrawal.
  • Learn some specific facts about the drug you are ridding your system of.
  • Gain insight on how you can help a loved one through a difficult time.
  • Get some treatment resources depending on your specific needs.
  • Discover some treatment options that will make detox a little more tolerable.
  • Learn about psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms.

What kind of questions will the drug withdrawal hotline ask?

The questions you get will depend on whether you are calling for yourself or a friend. Remember, honesty during the call is crucial if you are to get help.  Some of the questions to expect include:

  • Are you safe?
  • Are you addicted to one or multiple drugs?
  • What type of drug do you use?
  • Are you ready to start treatment?
  • Are you experiencing co-occurring conditions?

Aside from preparing yourself for the questions, they will ask, you should have a list of questions for them as well. Some questions you can ask include:

  • Is there a detox facility in my area?
  • How much will the treatment cost?
  • Do I need insurance to start on a detox program?
  • How long will the detox last?
  • Will I have to quit work for the detox process?

Afraid to make the call?

Of course, you might be hesitant to call the drug withdrawal hotline. This much is expected, and there is nothing wrong with that. After all, it is easier to get a dose of the drug than to be vulnerable with a stranger. But, remember, this is not you talking but the addiction. And though you will feel a lot of discomfort, and probably pain on your journey to recovery, it is necessary. The changes that you set in motion with the phone call will be insane.

Tomorrow will definitely be better if you choose to make that difficult decision today.


When should I not call the drug withdrawal hotline?

The hotlines are available at any time. However, they are available to individuals who genuinely need help and information. As such, you should not call if you don't need help, or it is a prank call. Moreover, if you or your loved one is experiencing a medical emergency, you should call 911 instead. Drug withdrawals are like live addiction encyclopedias. This means they can do very little when it comes to medical emergencies.

Do I have to go for detox once I call the hotline?

When you call a drug withdrawal hotline, it does not mean that you are committing yourself to a detox program. No. The call is merely to get information on withdrawal symptoms and general drug addiction treatment. If the conversation ends up with you getting into detox, then great, but if not, no pressure. The representatives will not force you into any detox program. However, we should point out that it's better if you get into a detox program and finish treatment as well. The quality of life you live in the future depends on the decision you make.

Will I be jailed if I call to learn about withdrawal symptoms of an illegal drug?

The conversation you have on the drug withdrawal hotline is confidential. The hotline representatives will not ask for your details. But even if you volunteer the information, they are not at liberty to share it with anyone without your consent. As a result, not even the authorities will find out you are using from the hotline representatives. With the anonymity the drug withdrawal hotlines provide, you should be free to speak your mind and get help.

How do I pay for a detox program and treatment?

The cost of detox and treatment varies depending on the rehab facility and the treatment program you get on. While the treatment is relatively expensive, your insurance company can cover the costs. However, you should always confirm with the rehab facility or your insurance plan if this is true. But even if the insurance plan doesn't cover the costs, you can create a payment plan with the rehab facility.

What happens when my withdrawal symptoms get worse?

Withdrawal symptoms vary in severity. In some patients, the symptoms can be managed without medication. On the flip side, some patients need medication and emergency equipment to keep you alive. The detox process rarely gets this serious, but when it does, the rehab facility has medical equipment to contain the situation. Sure, it's not like an actual hospital, but it is good enough for a detox process.

How can I avoid a relapse?

Detox is not the end of addiction treatment but the start. To be free from the drug, you need to undergo addiction treatment. But even after treatment, you need to be careful not to slip back to your old ways. You can avoid a relapse by staying in a sober home, avoiding friends who use the drug, and attending support groups in your area.

Is there a cure for addiction?

While detox handles the withdrawal symptoms and you can break free from addiction, there's no cure. You see, substance abuse changes the brain's reward system; it tips the balance. So when you get anxious, you will get the urge to use it again. The urge will not go away after treatment, but you will learn ways to control your urges without giving in. These coping techniques are taught in support groups and therapies. So, no, there is still hope for you yet.