PWithdrawal is a group of symptoms with a degree of severity that occurs when the reduction in usage of psychoactive substances takes place for a prolonged period of time. With withdrawal can come some physiological and psychological disturbances. Withdrawal shows that there was a substance dependence.

Withdrawal symptoms can be time-limited and are related to the type of substance used and the dosage used before reduction occurred. We will now discuss what withdrawal looks like for each of the drugs and habits we discussed in a previous article, The Psychology of Addiction.


As hallucinogens begin to leave the system, a number of physical and psychological changes will occur.

A few of the hallucinogenic withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Flashbacks
  • Frank psychosis
  • Long term psychosis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Permanent post-hallucinogenic perceptual disturbance
  • loss of coordination
  • zombie like state
  • Hyperthermia
  • Aggressive, hostile, or violent behavior
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Depression


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Precention (CDC), 1 in 10 Americans who use cannabis will become addicted. That number becomes 1 in 6 if the user begins to use marijuana before 18. Smoking marijuana occasionally may not cause any long-term significant symptoms but for those that use it regularly it is a different story.

Here are a few marijuana withdrawal symptoms:

  • Mood changes
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Sleep difficulties/ insomnia
  • Loss of focus
  • Diminished appetite
  • Chills
  • Craving for marijuana
  • Increased feelings of depression


When the reduction of opiates occurs after heavy usage, users can experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. With opiates, both early and late symptoms of withdrawal can occur.

Early opiate withdrawal symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Confusion

Late withdrawal symptoms:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goose bumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Episodes of violence


A gambling addiction is considered a behavioral addiction. Unlike an addiction to a substance, behavioral addictions come with their own set of withdrawal symptoms that will be experienced during treatment.

Some gambling withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Cravings to gamble
  • Irritabilit
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing


Caffeine is one of the most commonly consumed psychoactive substances. ** It is important to note that regular use of caffeine has also been linked to positive health and psychological benefits, including decreasing the risks of cancer and suicide **

Once the body becomes dependent on caffeine, eliminating it from a diet can cause withdrawal symptoms that will begin 12 – 24 hours after stopping caffeine.

Here are a few caffeine withdrawal symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depressed mood
  • Irritability

Food addiction

Lovers of junk food who try to cut back have found that junk food withdrawal can cause symptoms similar to drug withdrawal. It’s been noted that withdrawing, or cutting back, from things like fries or chocolate can cause the same withdrawal symptoms as someone who is withdrawing from cigarettes or marijuana.

Some food withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Poor sleep

Withdrawal is not easy to fight, and it can even be deadly if not done right. Read more on Withdrawal: Why it’s not easy and can even be deadly.

~ Angela Tilghman