What Are Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms?

When people discuss drug and alcohol withdrawal, they generally focus on physical symptoms. While the physical symptoms are certainly more apparent, the psychological withdrawal symptoms are often those that lead people towards a relapse.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the psychological component of withdrawal. If you or a loved one are going to be struggling with withdrawal in the near future, don’t hesitate to get a hold of a San Diego drug rehab center to help you with your treatment.

What Is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is the term used to describe a collection of symptoms that occur when someone suddenly stops using drugs. Symptoms of withdrawal generally only happen when someone is physically dependent on a drug, though sometimes people may experience solely psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Anxiety disorder menopause woman, stressful depressed, panic attack person with mental health illness, headache and migraine sitting with back against wall on the floor in domestic home

In the case of physical addiction, withdrawal occurs because the body has become accustomed to being fueled with drugs. It then stops producing its own hormones, neurotransmitters, and chemicals. When the addict stops using drugs, the body then falls into a deficit which leads to physical and mental turmoil.

However, some people may still undergo some degree of psychological withdrawal even if they’re not physically addicted. These people often have a psychological dependence: they believe that they need a drug or alcohol to function, even though this might not be the case. Acute withdrawal can be particularly intense and might require medically assisted treatment.

Nonetheless, this self-imposed belief tends to lead to psychological withdrawal symptoms if they’re unable to get their fix. This also tends to occur in behavioral addictions that don’t involve the consumption of drugs or alcohol.

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

Psychological withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity. They can be mild, moderate, or quite debilitating depending on the intensity of the addiction. These are some of the most common psychological withdrawal symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Social withdrawal
  • Emotional instability, depression
  • Irritability, anger, emotional outbursts
  • Self-doubt and self-confidence issues
  • Delusions
  • Negative belief patterns preventing one from achieving their goals
  • Anhedonia (being unable to find pleasure in activities)
  • Difficulty thinking or processing situations, trouble concentrating
  • Inability to perform at cognitive tasks
  • Memory problems
  • Intense cravings, thoughts about drugs or alcohol

As you can see, these problems can be very difficult.

Managing Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

Psychological withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable to manage. However, there are some things that you can do.

In many cases, psychological withdrawal symptoms are actually indicating an underlying problem. Many people harbor anxieties or insecurities before trying to cover them up with drugs. When they enter withdrawal, they no longer have the drug to cover up their emotional problems. This resurgence makes the problems more prominent than ever.

Seeking San Diego drug and alcohol rehab can provide you with the therapy that you need to overcome these psychological issues.


While physical withdrawal is most often discussed, psychological withdrawal symptoms are still no joke. Learning how to overcome psychological symptoms of withdrawal is crucial for anyone going through the withdrawal process. It’s important to understand that both physical and psychological symptoms can be life-threatening and require professional help. The physical and mental symptoms associated with withdrawal include nausea and vomiting, irritability, and even delirium tremens, which is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal. Long-term success often requires addressing both types of symptoms comprehensively. The type of drug involved also plays a significant role in the withdrawal process, influencing both the intensity and duration of the withdrawal symptoms. Call us at 866-691-6661.

Written by Nigel Ford

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