Drug Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment

Unfortunately, the negative effects of drug addiction withdrawal are often cited as critical barriers to successful treatment. Ongoing exposure to prescribed or illicit drugs can quickly escalate from developing a tolerance to a dependency to an addiction.

Drugs impact the brain and body in varied ways, but abused substances all have negative impacts on how the brain functions. In particular, many drugs negatively impact the circuit involved with reward, motivation, learning, memory and behavior control. These changes are often accompanied by the release of neurotransmitters dopamine that induce feelings of pleasure.

When someone stops using drugs, the brain and body reacts to the loss of the abused substance resulting in withdrawal symptoms that affect individuals physically as well as mentally.

Questions as to why some people become addicted in the first place – and others don’t – still abound. While addiction and degrees of it vary, so apparently do the withdrawal symptoms.

Degrees of addiction and withdrawal symptoms can vary greatly from individual to individual. However, the following factors may increase addiction vulnerability: a family history of drug abuse, traumatic childhood experiences, mental disorders, early use of drugs and the method of administration.

How long do drug addiction withdrawal symptoms typically last?

Drug addiction withdrawal is the collection of symptoms a person develops once they reduce or stop the long-term abuse of a drug. Length of withdrawal may vary on several factors: the length of abuse, the drug being abused, method of abuse, quantity taken, genetic predisposition, as well as mental health issues.

Physical withdrawal symptoms may take anywhere from a single day to several weeks to subside, but the mental effects such as depression that often accompany withdrawal may last several weeks and up to several months in severe cases.

While there is no set guideline to withdrawal length, here are a few relative timeliness for several commonly abused drugs. Heroin and painkiller withdrawals last an average of five days. Benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax, Valium, Ativan) symptoms can last several weeks to several months. Cocaine withdrawal typically lasts seven to ten days. Finally, alcohol’s withdrawal effects tend to last three days to several weeks.

While many drug addiction withdrawal symptoms can be treated with medications, it should be noted that treating withdrawal symptoms should not be regarded as the same as treating an addiction.

Treatment for withdrawal symptoms of a substance use disorder (SUD) can greatly help the addiction recovery process. Medical detox and a full drug rehabilitation program are highly recommended.

What are the withdrawal symptoms for commonly used drugs?

No two people are alike. No two drugs are the same. Withdrawal symptoms and their severity will range from person to person. However, groups of drugs tend to effect people in a similar manner. Alcohol and opioid withdrawals give rise to flu-like symptoms including sweating and nausea. While cocaine and marijuana addiction tend to create equally debilitating emotional responses including depression, anxiety and irritability. Here’s a breakdown of the withdrawal symptoms and their effects.

Alcohol – Alcohol’s withdrawal effects vary greatly ranging from mild hangovers to coma and, in extreme cases, death.

Withdrawal symptoms: anxiety, insomnia, irritability, mood swings, fatigue, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, seizures

Cocaine – Because cocaine creates high risk for both physical and psychological dependence, it is highly addictive. Its withdrawal effects manifest themselves more emotionally than physically.

Withdrawal symptoms: increased appetite, paranoia, concentration difficulty, nightmares, memory loss, fatigue, insomnia, depression, restlessness.

Heroine and Opiates – All opiates are considered highly addictive. Opioid withdrawals are broken into two categories: early and late.

Early withdrawal symptoms: agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, tearing, runny nose, sweating

Late withdrawal symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, abdominal cramps

Methamphetamine – Crystal meth is one of the most addictive drugs on the market today. Using the drug just once or twice can cause addiction. Additionally, meth withdrawal is particularly uncomfortable and can be dangerous. This is why most health care professionals recommend people suffering from meth addiction to undergo supervised detox care and treatment.

Withdrawal symptoms: painful headache, loss of feeling of pleasure (anhedonia), depression, increased appetite, excessive sleeping

Finding the right addiction treatment program shouldn’t be difficult. Healing Path Recovery can personalize an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program to best suit your individual needs.

It’s best to speak with a health-care professional or a physician before considering detoxification so you can have your questions properly answered, know what to expect and understand how to deal with the effects. We help people experiencing problems with alcohol and drug abuse at CADAM.

CADAM is equipped to help you through every step of the detox and rehabilitation process. Our addiction counselors are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Please don’t hesitate to call us today on 0817 103 9895.

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