8 Signs You Need Drug Detox

8 Signs You Need Drug Detox

Detox is the first step to a sober, healthier life.

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 21.6 million people ages 12 and up needed substance abuse treatment but only 4.2 million people received the help they needed.1 Although there are many reasons why people may not get the treatment they need, many people don’t seek treatment because they just don’t think they need it.

Understandably, sometimes it can be difficult to determine how severe your substance abuse is and whether it warrants treatment. You find yourself asking, “Is it really that bad?” or “Is it bad enough?” which leaves room for doubt.

Chances are if you’re wondering whether you need drug detox, you probably do. Most people start considering detox as an option when their drug or alcohol use has produced harmful side effects, such as marital problems, legal issues, or physical health conditions.

To help you determine the severity of your substance abuse, let’s take a look at eight signs you need drug detox and tips on how to get the help you need.

Related post: What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

8 Signs You Need Drug Detox

1. You’re having physical health problems due to your drug or alcohol use.

If you’ve been using large amounts of drugs or alcohol for a long time, you’re likely to suffer some physical side effects. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), some of the most common health problems caused by chronic substance abuse include:2

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Lung disease
  • Mental disorders

People with addiction often have one or more associated health disorders. If the addiction is left untreated, those medical problems will only get worse, as will the substance abuse problems.

Consequently, if you’re suffering from physical health problems caused by drug abuse and you want to get well, treating the addiction is a key aspect of your recovery.

2. You need drugs or alcohol to get through the day.

Maybe your drug or alcohol use started off as something you did occasionally. However, eventually, maybe it morphed into something more serious. If you feel like you need drugs or alcohol just to get through the day, this is an indicator that your “casual” drug or alcohol use has become an addiction.

As your body grows accustomed to the presence of the substance you’re using, you’ll begin to struggle to function without it. This is partly psychological but also physical. For example, if you’re addicted to alcohol, your hands may shake when you wake up in the morning and you may feel sick until you’re able to have a drink. You may also feel like you just can’t cope with the stress of your day unless you’re drinking.

3. Your relationships are suffering.

When relationships begin to suffer, this is another one of the main signs you need drug detox. Many addictive substances can make you more irritable and moody, which can strain relationships, cause arguments, and even lead to physical abuse. Additionally, friends may not want to spend time with you anymore if you’re only interested in getting high or drunk. 

The people who care about you are likely to try to talk to you about your addiction. But, you’ll need to be willing to listen and have an open mind. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to remain in denial than admit that you’ve messed up and that you need help to get well. However, detox is the start of changing your mindset and re-setting your body so you can recover from addiction. If you value your relationships with friends and family, and your drug use is getting in the way of that, it’s best to do something about it.

4. Everything that used to be important to you doesn’t matter anymore.

One of the main signs of addiction is losing interest in hobbies and activities you used to enjoy. Drugs and alcohol can quickly take over your life, pushing everything else that used to matter, out of it. This can also contribute to mental health issues because leading a life without purpose or enjoyable activities is very unfulfilling. Not only do drugs and alcohol contribute to depression and anxiety, but a lifestyle of addiction can too.

If you’ve found that you’re only interested in getting high or drunk, it’s time to seek help.

5. You lie about your drug or alcohol use.

It’s all too common for people who are struggling with addiction to lie and manipulate as an act of self-preservation. Addiction is a complex disease of the brain that makes a person think and behave differently than they normally would. If you’re addicted, you may feel like you can’t survive without your drug of choice and that you need it to function, no matter the cost.

During the times when you are sober, you may feel very ashamed and hopeless about the situation, and lie to avoid facing the anger or disappointment of loved ones. You might even start believing those lies and convince yourself that you can handle your drug or alcohol use. In fact, maybe it’s just your friends and family being controlling. You can handle the drugs and alcohol, right?

Of course, you can see how easy it is to fall into this mindset and trap yourself in a life of addiction, lies, and manipulation. No one can force you to confront these lies, but in detox, you’ll flush your mind and body of toxins so you can think clearly again. After detox, you may decide that it’s time to let go of the shame and choose to hold on to the hope that a sober life offers. Going to rehab after detox can help you make positive changes in your life that will help you maintain lasting sobriety.

6. You’ve tried to quit on your own but can’t.

Another one of the most common signs you need drug detox is trying to stop using drugs or alcohol on your own, but being unable to. Often, when someone is addicted, it’s very difficult to stop using without professional assistance. This is because withdrawal symptoms are often very uncomfortable or even painful and the discomfort becomes too much. It’s easier to give in and start drinking again or using your drug of choice again than to fight through the discomfort and stay sober.

During drug detox, a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, recovery specialists, and clinical counselors will all support you with medication-assisted treatment, therapy, and other evidence-based treatments. That way, you’ll have a much better likelihood of being successful. Detox and withdrawal will also be much safer and more comfortable.

7. You’ve experienced problems at work, school, or with the law as a result of your drug or alcohol abuse.

Legal problems, employment issues, affected grades, or missing important events and obligations are all clear signs you need drug detox. For example, a DUI or OWI are both serious offenses that can have long-lasting consequences. Additionally, losing your job can have a huge impact on your family and their well-being. 

Consequences like these should be a major wake up call that your substance abuse has reached a critical turning point. Rather than brushing these issues aside, you should address them by taking care of your substance use issues. At a certain point, your addiction will affect the health and wellbeing of those around you, not just yourself. So getting help for your addiction will benefit both them and you.

8. Your loved ones have told you they are concerned.

If your family or friends have recently talked to you about your substance abuse via an intervention, you might be feeling very ashamed, angry, or upset. It’s definitely not easy to hear these comments from loved ones, but it’s important to consider that you may need help to overcome your addiction. If nothing else, maybe it’s the motivation you need to make a change and start living a life you can be proud of.

Related post: How to Prepare for Detox

Start Detoxing Today at Briarwood Detox Center

If you can identify with several of these signs you need drug detox, the caring professionals at Briarwood Detox Center are available now to help you. Completing drug and alcohol detox is the first step to overcoming your addiction and learning how to live a better, healthier life.

Please call (512) 262-4426 or contact us online to learn more about our individualized drug and alcohol detox programs.


  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRPDFWHTML/2019NSDUHFFR1PDFW090120.pdf 
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/addiction-health 

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