Signs Your Body Is Detoxing

Signs Your Body Is Detoxing


  • Acute Withdrawal symptoms include physical symptoms – muscle aches, nausea, headaches, and an elevated heart rate.
  • Emotional and psychological symptoms peak during the Post-Acute Withdrawal stage. Examples include anxiety and sleep disturbances.
  • The primary aim of detox is to achieve a state of safety and comfortable mental and physical stability. 

What are the Signs Your Body is Detoxing?

Detoxification from addiction, a critical and often challenging journey, marks the first step towards recovery and a healthier lifestyle. 

As the body rids itself of drugs or alcohol, you may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms, each signaling the body’s effort to readjust to a substance-free state. 

While potentially uncomfortable, these symptoms are a necessary part of the healing process. 

In this article, we delve into the various signs of detox, offering insights from our experts on managing these symptoms effectively. 

Understanding these signs and learning strategies to alleviate their impact can significantly aid in navigating this transformative phase. 

What Happens During Detox?

Detoxing from addiction is a journey with multiple stages, each with its own challenges. 

1st Step: Acute Withdrawal

Initially, when you step back from substances like alcohol, opiates, marijuana, cocaine, or benzodiazepines, you enter what’s known as acute withdrawal.

This is the first phase of detox, and it deals with physical symptoms – muscle aches, nausea, headaches, and an elevated heart rate. It’s a tough phase and can be risky without medical supervision.1

2nd Step: Post-Acute Withdrawal

Detox involves more than just the physical. After the acute withdrawal, there’s another phase called post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. 

This is the second stage of the detox process, where your brain starts adjusting after a period of active addiction. 2

Unlike the physical symptoms of acute withdrawal, PAWS focuses more on the psychological and emotional aspects. It can show up a few weeks or even months into recovery, depending on the severity and duration of your addiction.

PAWS is a crucial part of the detox process to be aware of. Its emotional and psychological symptoms can be quite challenging and, if not properly managed, might lead to relapse. 

Although it’s a temporary stage, understanding and effectively managing PAWS is vital for anyone committed to maintaining a clean and sober lifestyle through detox and beyond.

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The Need For Detox

The role of medical detox is primarily to provide both medical and psychological support to deal with withdrawal symptoms after you stop or reduce the use of a drug you’re dependent on. This is an integral part of the detoxification process.

For many addictive substances, undergoing medical detox is the safest and most comfortable way to navigate the withdrawal phase. 

In a detox facility, you can effectively and safely eliminate the substance from your body under the close supervision of medical experts. 

These professionals are equipped to monitor critical health indicators like body temperature and blood pressure and can provide medications to alleviate or control severe symptoms.

The primary aim of detox is to achieve a state of safety and comfortable mental and physical stability. 

What Detox Symptoms Will I Go Through?

Detox symptoms can manifest quickly, sometimes just hours after stopping the drug. Key signs to watch for include: 3,4

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Body pain
  • Tremors
  • Appetite changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Leg cramps
  • Cravings
  • Sweating
  • Shivering

Physical signs like skin rashes, itching, and excessive sweating are also common. Emotionally, you might experience mood swings ranging from anger to sadness, anxiety, or depression. 

Cognitively, there might be a noticeable slowdown in motor reflexes. More severe detox signs can include seizures, delirium, and hallucinations, underlining the importance of medical supervision during this process.

Sad schoolgirl sitting alone on staircase

How to Know if a Detox is Working?

Amidst the array of uncomfortable symptoms that often accompany detox, it’s important to recognize signs that indicate your detoxification process is on the right track: 4

  • Increased Energy Levels: As toxins are expelled from your body, you might experience a surge in energy. You’ll need less sleep, and lethargy and fatigue are gradually diminishing.
  • Improved Digestion: Detoxing can alleviate digestive issues such as bloating, gas, stomach discomfort, and constipation. Your bowel movements become more regular, contributing to better overall digestion.
  • Clearer Skin: The elimination of toxins can lead to healthier-looking skin. Breakouts, rashes, and acne may begin to clear up, leaving your skin more radiant.
  • Reduced Cravings: You may notice a decrease in cravings for unhealthy foods, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol as your taste buds adapt to natural flavours.
  • Mental Clarity: As toxins are removed, brain fog tends to dissipate. Your thinking becomes clearer and sharper, contributing to improved concentration and focus.
  • Weight Loss: It’s common to shed some initial water weight and reduce bloating as inflammation decreases during a detox.
  • Fresh Breath: Breath can become cleaner and fresher as your body rids itself of toxins.
  • Decreased Detox Symptoms: Headaches, allergies, body aches, nausea, and fatigue may decrease as your body flushes out toxins.
  • Lightheadedness: Initially, feeling slightly lightheaded or tired is normal as your body adapts. Staying well-hydrated is key during this phase.
  • Fewer Withdrawal Symptoms: Over time, the initial withdrawal symptoms experienced during detox should become less intense.

Be Kind To Yourself

Remember, staying committed to the process, being kind to yourself, and not giving up are essential. 

Trust that your body knows what’s best, and these positive signs indicate that the detox is indeed working as intended.

When it comes to detox and managing withdrawal without falling back into addiction, you don’t have to do it alone. 

At Centres for Health and Healing, we’re here to provide the support you need.

We offer a comprehensive medical detox program in a safe environment. Our team will help you manage withdrawal symptoms comfortably and safely.

Everyone’s journey is different. Our personalized addiction therapy and rehab programs are tailored to your needs, focusing on mental health and substance abuse recovery.

With various treatment methods and experienced staff, we’re here to support your recovery journey and help you lead a healthier life.

Get in Touch

We’re proud of our success in helping individuals recover. If you’re dealing with substance abuse or worried about a loved one, reach out to discuss your treatment options. We’re here to help you on your path to recovery.


  1. Piper M. E. (2015). Withdrawal: Expanding a Key Addiction Construct. Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 17(12), 1405–1415.
  2. Bahji, A., Crockford, D., & El-Guebaly, N. (2022). Management of Post-Acute Alcohol Withdrawal: A Mixed-Studies Scoping Review. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs, 83(4), 470–479.
  3. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2006. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45.) 4 Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances. Available from:
  4. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. A Treatment Improvement Protocol TIP 45. 

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