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Does Depression Get Worse During Drug Withdrawals?

woman depressed from detox

There are many withdrawal symptoms patients may experience during drug and alcohol detox, and depression is a common symptom for the detox process.

Patients detoxing from many legal and illegal substances may experience depression as a part of their withdrawal symptoms, or a worsening of existing depression symptoms if they were self-medicating with drugs. Yes, depression can get worse during drug withdrawals, but it is possible to treat depression during detox and beyond.

Why People Get Depressed During Detox

  During the drug and alcohol detox, patients work to readjust to a state without drugs or alcohol influencing their actions, behaviors, and perceptions. This involves tapering or fully stopping the use of the addictive substance; however, doing so can put many systems within the body into distressed states.

For example, those who abused opioids may have trouble feeling happy without the opioids their minds and bodies have grown dependent upon, causing them to feel depressed during detox. Depression is one of the symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, and withdrawals can make existing depression worse.

Other patients detoxing from alcohol or prescription pills like Xanax or antidepressants may feel depression during drug withdrawals as well. In many cases, patients experience the opposite of their drug effects during detox. So, if a patient is taking drugs to treat depression, mood, or anxiety, their mood may be the opposite of their intoxicated state during detox.

Neurotransmitters within the brain essentially learn to depend on the drugs a person is taking when they’re living with addiction, and once those drugs are removed, the neurotransmitters may not know how to behave properly.1 This can cause or worsen symptoms of depression for patients during detox.

How to Treat Depression During Drug Detox

  At Banyan Treatment Centers, we offer medically monitored drug detox to help patients through their detox process. Medically monitored detoxification includes therapy and support for patients who are experiencing symptoms of depression and other withdrawals. With therapy and medically monitored detox, symptoms of depression and other challenges can be treated for a safe and comfortable detox process.

You don’t have to experience drug detox depression on your own. Our team at Banyan Treatment Centers can help you safely detox while managing mood changes, depression, or other withdrawal symptoms.

Depression during detox is a condition that you should not face alone, we are here to help patients safely and comfortably detox. Call 888-280-4763 to learn about our programs and services.


  1. Genius on YouTube – Lil Xan “Betrayed” Official Lyrics & Meaning Verified
  2. Harvard Health Publishing - Going Off Antidepressants 
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.