Why Do You Get Headaches When Detoxing?

Drug dependents opting to undergo detox take the first major step towards achieving sobriety. That said, this process is not easy and may precipitate untoward side effects. Headaches are common manifestations.

The Detox Process

During detox, the individual in question stops using an addictive substance and the body eliminates said chemical at a given pace. That said, in many instances, the dependent’s body and mind grew so attached to the offending chemical that they experience disagreeable happenings known as withdrawals.

The severity of such occurrences depend upon several key concerns including the user’s:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Specific drug taken
  • The length of time the addiction dragged on
  • The dependency’s severity

Additionally, the presence and intensity of withdrawal symptoms could hinge on the recovering soul’s general and mental health.

Detox Headaches

Detox could result in a host of physical and psychological issues. These events, which are occasionally referred to in medical terms as detox headaches, are among the more prototypical withdrawal occurrences. Medical researchers maintain this fact to be true for reasons including:

Systemic Hormonal Imbalances

Prolonged substance abuse often exercises an adverse impact over the body’s chemical makeup and hormonal balance. Uneven concentrations of sexual, reproductive, metabolic, and mood-altering hormones could bring forth numerous untoward symptoms like headaches.

The Presence Of Corrosive Chemicals

As the body eliminates particular illicit substances, lingering chemicals contained in said drugs circulate through the bloodstream. In numerous cases, these chemicals are corrosive and capable of precipitating systemic inflammation. Inflamed organs, tissues, and cells are more likely to induce pain that often manifests in the head and neck regions.

Stress Release

The detox process can prove stressful. Moreover, longstanding addiction places excessive pressure on the body causing it to enter a continual state of anxiety. When this unnecessary and unpleasant energy is released, headaches could result.

When Do Detox Headaches Emerge?

Doctors and drug addiction specialists stress that detox headaches could appear a few hours into the process but are normally noticeable anywhere from two to three days following the user’s last fix.

Possible Associated Symptoms

Healthcare providers caution that headaches could be associated with any number of other physical and mental manifestations. The occurrences one faces will depend on the type of drug said subject had been using, how much of the substance they regularly ingested, their overall health, and how long the dependency raged. However, other symptoms that often accompany detox headaches include weakness, faintness, and dehydration.

Detox Headache-Easing Methods

Those attempting to overcome short or mild addictions and associated withdrawal symptoms might find relief from detox headaches by engaging in activities like:


If able, persons capable of partaking in some form of physical activity are strongly encouraged to do so. Exercise stimulates blood flow, which could reduce inflammation. Moreover, movement is a healthy and productive tension-breaking endeavor.

Remain Properly Hydrated

Drinking enough water or other healthy liquids is crucial to keeping the body’s cells healthy and functioning at optimal levels. Furthermore, hydration fosters a more efficient and expedited elimination of the offending drug.

Obtain Adequate Rest

Sleep is critical to easing the impacts of detox headaches. Proper and restful slumber proves crucial to helping the body heal, release tension, and in maintaining normal hormonal levels.

Consume Nutritious Foods

Edibles high in nutrients and minerals like produce products, lean meats, seafood, grain products, and legumes provides a detoxing body the strength it needs to complete the process as quickly as possible and fight off bothersome events like headaches.

Moreover, detoxing souls are implored to eat foods rich in antioxidants. These powerful nutrients contain significant anti-inflammation properties.


Partaking in relaxation activities such as meditation, yoga, and various breathing exercises have been reported to alleviate detox headache discomfort.

Avoid Other Headache-Precipitating Vices

Weaning oneself off a dangerously addictive substance is an honorable endeavor. However, such an accomplishment should not be a license to engage in other potentially harmful undertakings like cigarette smoking, excessive junk food consumption, and exorbitant caffeine intake.

Use Herbal Products

Natural herbal products like lavender and peppermint have shown effectiveness in reducing both the incidents and severity of detox headaches. Herbal extracts often make soothing teas. Additionally, essential oils made of these substances have also proven worthy headache adversaries when applied to the skin surrounding the head.

Undergo Medically Supervised Detox

More moderate to severe addictions should be treated in a safe environment under the watchful eye of experienced and skilled healthcare providers. Such dependencies can precipitate significant and potentially life-threatening withdrawal manifestations that can be safely treated only by licensed medical professionals.

Contacting Us

To learn more about treating detox headaches, the detox process, or if considering an inpatient program, please contact us at 833-497-3812.