Top 25 Slang For Withdrawal – Meaning & Usage

Withdrawal symptoms can be a real challenge for anyone trying to kick a habit or give up a certain substance. But fear not, because we’ve got your back! In this article, we’ve rounded up the top slang terms used to describe withdrawal, so you can navigate conversations with empathy and understanding. Whether you’re going through it yourself or supporting a loved one, this list will help you stay in the know and show that we’re here to help.

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1. Drying out

This term refers to the process of abstaining from drugs or alcohol in order to overcome addiction or dependency. It often involves experiencing withdrawal symptoms as the body adjusts to the absence of the substance.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m drying out after years of heavy drinking.”
  • A person discussing their recovery journey might share, “I’ve been drying out for six months now and feeling great.”
  • Another might seek support by asking, “Any tips for drying out and staying sober?”

2. Cleanse

Using the term “cleanse” in the context of withdrawal refers to the process of ridding the body of substances, typically drugs or alcohol. It implies a desire to start fresh and eliminate the effects of the substance.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m doing a cleanse to get rid of all the toxins in my body.”
  • A person discussing their journey towards sobriety might share, “The cleanse was tough, but it helped me start my recovery.”
  • Another might seek advice by asking, “Any recommendations for a good cleanse program to help with withdrawal?”

3. Crash

In the context of withdrawal, “crash” refers to the sudden onset of intense withdrawal symptoms. It can occur when someone abruptly stops using drugs or alcohol after a period of heavy use.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m dreading the crash after quitting cold turkey.”
  • A person discussing their struggle with withdrawal might share, “The crash was the hardest part, but I pushed through.”
  • Another might seek support by asking, “How long does the crash typically last during withdrawal?”

4. Coming down

In the context of withdrawal, “coming down” refers to the process of returning to a normal state after the effects of drugs or alcohol wear off. It can also refer to experiencing withdrawal symptoms as the body adjusts to the absence of the substance.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I hate the feeling of coming down after a night of partying.”
  • A person discussing their journey towards sobriety might share, “The coming down phase was challenging, but it motivated me to stay clean.”
  • Another might seek advice by asking, “Any tips for managing the discomfort of coming down during withdrawal?”

5. Sweating it out

Using the phrase “sweating it out” in the context of withdrawal means enduring the physical and psychological discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. It implies a determination to push through the challenges of withdrawal.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m sweating it out and staying strong.”
  • A person discussing their experience with withdrawal might share, “Sweating it out was tough, but it was worth it in the end.”
  • Another might seek support by asking, “Any advice for sweating it out and staying motivated during withdrawal?”

6. The shakes

This term refers to the physical tremors or shaking that can occur during withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. It is often used to describe the visible signs of withdrawal symptoms.

  • For example, someone might say, “I can’t stop my hands from shaking, I’ve got the shakes.”
  • A person experiencing withdrawal might complain, “The shakes are driving me crazy, I can’t even hold a cup of coffee.”
  • In a discussion about addiction, someone might mention, “The shakes are just one of many symptoms that make withdrawal so difficult.”

7. DTs

The term “DTs” stands for Delirium Tremens, which is a severe and potentially life-threatening form of alcohol withdrawal. It is characterized by hallucinations, confusion, and severe tremors.

  • For instance, someone might say, “He had such a bad case of the DTs that he had to be hospitalized.”
  • In a discussion about alcoholism, someone might mention, “The DTs are one of the dangers of quitting cold turkey.”
  • A medical professional might explain, “The DTs can be prevented or managed with proper medical treatment during alcohol withdrawal.”

8. Dopesick

This term is used to describe the feeling of being sick or unwell during withdrawal from drugs, particularly opioids. It encompasses both the physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawal.

  • For example, someone might say, “I can’t get out of bed, I’m dopesick.”
  • A person going through withdrawal might complain, “Being dopesick feels like having the flu but worse.”
  • In a support group, someone might share, “I’ve been dopesick before, and it’s a terrible feeling. But recovery is possible.”

9. Withdrawal blues

This term refers to the feelings of sadness, depression, or emotional distress that can occur during withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. It encompasses the emotional symptoms experienced during the withdrawal process.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m feeling the withdrawal blues today.”
  • A person going through withdrawal might express, “The withdrawal blues are hitting me hard right now.”
  • In a therapy session, someone might discuss, “Dealing with the withdrawal blues is a common challenge in early recovery.”

10. Going clean

This term is used to describe the process of abstaining from drugs or alcohol and achieving sobriety. It implies a commitment to a drug-free lifestyle.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m finally going clean and leaving my addiction behind.”
  • A person in recovery might share, “Going clean was the best decision I ever made.”
  • In a support group, someone might introduce themselves by saying, “Hi, I’m John, and I’m going clean.”

11. Getting off

This phrase refers to the act of stopping or quitting drug use. It can be used to describe the process of overcoming addiction or simply taking a break from using drugs.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m getting off heroin and starting a new chapter in my life.”
  • In a support group, a member might share, “I’ve been clean for six months since getting off cocaine.”
  • A person discussing their journey to sobriety might say, “Getting off drugs was the best decision I ever made.”

12. Getting straight

This term is used to describe the process of becoming drug-free or sober. It can also refer to getting one’s life back on track after a period of drug use.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m finally getting straight after years of addiction.”
  • In a recovery meeting, a member might share, “I’ve been working on getting straight and rebuilding my relationships.”
  • A person discussing their recovery journey might say, “Getting straight is a daily commitment to staying drug-free.”

13. Dope sick

This slang term is used to describe the unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms that occur when a person is going through drug withdrawal. It is often associated with opioid withdrawal.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m feeling dope sick after quitting heroin.”
  • In a support group, a member might share, “Dope sick is the worst part of getting clean.”
  • A person discussing their experience with withdrawal might say, “I never want to feel dope sick again.”

14. Detoxing

This term refers to the process of removing toxins or substances from the body, often used in the context of drug withdrawal. It can involve medical supervision or be done at home.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m detoxing from alcohol at a rehab center.”
  • In a recovery program, a member might share, “Detoxing was the first step in my journey to sobriety.”
  • A person discussing their detox experience might say, “Detoxing can be physically and emotionally challenging, but it’s necessary for recovery.”

15. Kicking

This slang term is used to describe the act of ending or quitting drug use. It can refer to the process of overcoming addiction or simply deciding to stop using drugs.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m kicking my cocaine habit for good.”
  • In a support group, a member might share, “I’ve been clean for three months since kicking heroin.”
  • A person discussing their decision to quit drugs might say, “Kicking drugs was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it saved my life.”

16. Getting clean

This phrase refers to the process of stopping drug use and becoming drug-free. It can also be used more broadly to describe overcoming any addiction or harmful behavior.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m finally getting clean and turning my life around.”
  • In a support group meeting, a person might share, “I’ve been getting clean for six months now and it’s been a challenging but rewarding journey.”
  • A friend might offer encouragement by saying, “I believe in you. You can do this. Keep getting clean.”

17. Going cold

This phrase describes the act of abruptly stopping the use of drugs or alcohol without any gradual reduction or tapering off. It can also refer to suddenly stopping any addictive behavior.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I went cold turkey and quit smoking. It was tough, but I did it.”
  • In a conversation about overcoming addiction, a person might share, “I tried to quit gradually, but it didn’t work for me. I had to go cold.”
  • A support group member might ask, “Has anyone here successfully gone cold and stayed clean?”

18. Going sober

This phrase refers to the decision to stop using drugs or alcohol and maintain a lifestyle of sobriety. It can also be used more broadly to describe the act of giving up any addictive behavior.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m going sober and focusing on my mental and physical health.”
  • In a discussion about recovery, a person might share, “Going sober was the best decision I ever made. It’s given me a new lease on life.”
  • A friend might offer support by saying, “I’m proud of you for going sober. Let me know if you need anything.”

19. Going through the shakes

This phrase describes the physical symptom of shaking or trembling that can occur during withdrawal from alcohol or certain drugs. It is often used to describe the early stages of withdrawal when the body is adjusting to the absence of the substance.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m going through the shakes right now. It’s a rough phase, but it’ll pass.”
  • In a support group meeting, a person might share, “The shakes were one of the hardest parts of withdrawal for me, but they eventually subsided.”
  • A healthcare professional might explain, “Going through the shakes is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal and should be monitored closely.”

20. Going through the DTs

This phrase refers to the severe and potentially life-threatening symptoms that can occur during alcohol withdrawal, including hallucinations, confusion, and seizures. “DTs” is an abbreviation for “delirium tremens,” which is a medical term.

  • For example, someone might say, “I had a terrifying experience going through the DTs during my withdrawal from alcohol.”
  • In a discussion about addiction treatment, a person might share, “The DTs are a serious medical emergency and require immediate medical attention.”
  • A healthcare professional might explain, “Going through the DTs is a sign of severe alcohol withdrawal and should be treated as a medical emergency.”

21. Going MIA

This phrase refers to someone abruptly and unexpectedly disappearing or becoming unresponsive. It is often used to describe someone who withdraws from social interactions or stops communicating without any explanation.

  • For example, “I haven’t heard from Sarah in weeks, she’s gone MIA.”
  • In a discussion about unreliable friends, someone might say, “I can’t count on him, he’s always going MIA.”
  • A person might use this phrase to describe their own behavior, saying, “I’m going MIA for a while to focus on myself.”

22. Pulling out

This term is commonly used to describe someone abruptly leaving a situation or canceling plans without warning or explanation. It implies a sudden withdrawal or retreat from a commitment or engagement.

  • For instance, “He was supposed to help with the project, but he pulled out at the last minute.”
  • In a discussion about unreliable partners, someone might say, “He always pulls out when things get tough.”
  • A person might use this phrase to describe their own decision to withdraw, saying, “I’m pulling out of the event, I just don’t feel up to it.”

23. Cutting ties

This phrase is used to describe the deliberate act of severing connections or ending a relationship with someone. It can refer to both personal relationships and professional connections.

  • For example, “After the argument, she decided to cut ties with her toxic friend.”
  • In a discussion about moving on from a job, someone might say, “I’m cutting ties with my current company to pursue new opportunities.”
  • A person might use this phrase to describe their own decision to distance themselves, saying, “I’m cutting ties with social media for a while to focus on my mental health.”

24. Ghosting

Ghosting refers to the act of suddenly and completely cutting off all communication with someone, usually without any explanation or warning. It is often used to describe the behavior of ending a romantic relationship or friendship by simply ceasing all contact.

  • For instance, “He ghosted me after our third date and I never heard from him again.”
  • In a discussion about modern dating, someone might say, “Ghosting has become so common, it’s really hurtful.”
  • A person might use this term to describe their own behavior, saying, “I ghosted my toxic ex-friend because I needed to prioritize my well-being.”

25. Fading away

This phrase describes the gradual process of withdrawing or distancing oneself from a person or situation. It implies a slow and subtle decline in involvement or connection.

  • For example, “We used to be close, but we’ve been fading away from each other.”
  • In a discussion about losing touch with old friends, someone might say, “People fade away as life gets busier and priorities change.”
  • A person might use this phrase to describe their own experience, saying, “I’m fading away from the party scene to focus on my personal growth.”
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