Often with a physical addiction, the addict will go through physical withdrawal repercussions as he or she stops the use of the abused substance. This is a prosaic occurrence with opiates, like narcotic pain reducing drugs or heroin. Still other substances that can lead to physical repercussions on withdrawal include alcohol, barbiturates (several out-of-use classes of sleeping medications), nicotine products and benzos (valium, xanax, ativan, etc.) In some cases, the withdrawal effects might induce major uncontrollable spasms, such as in the case with benzodiazepines.

People who have a physical dependency on an addictive substance will often take it, not to derive some form of pleasure after a period of extended use | certain period of time, but more so to reduce withdrawal effects. Physical dependency is occasionally replaced with the phrase as physiological tolerance.