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What Are Drug Withdrawal Symptoms?

April 6, 2020
drug withdrawal symptoms

The following blog has been reviewed by an expert. For more information, please see our editorial policy.

Drug abuse since long has been a significant and widely discussed problem for the society. Despite accepting how drugs and substance abuse can impact ours and the lives of people around us, many are still longing for drugs and such substances.

Especially the young peers, who think of it as a part of a cool lifestyle, are very much influenced by different types of drugs such as Stimulants, Hallucinogens, Cannabis, etc. Overcoming drug addiction is not an easy job for everyone and those who have tried to overcome the compulsion would second it.

When you try to withdraw or diminish the continuous use of drugs, your body shows symptoms. This is commonly known as drug withdrawal symptoms. But before getting into the symptoms, it is more important to understand what drug withdrawal is.

Drug withdrawal Definition

It is a term that describes a set of indications your body experiences after you discontinue the use of drugs. In order to get rid of such syndrome, it is very important to know much about this syndrome and often to seek such help.

Here in this article by RehabPath, you will learn everything about drug withdrawal like its signs and symptoms, how it affects us, medication, drug withdrawal remedies and treatment to seek.

What Happens to Your Body During Drug Withdrawal? – Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of the drug withdrawal can vary depending upon the body type and the kind of drugs one was addicted to. Drugs are a mixture of chemical substances that affect your body. With prolonged use, your body adapts to maintain a balance which is why the discontinuation of drugs results in withdrawal symptoms that are often opposite of the drug’s effects. The symptoms sometimes are so common to notice such as anxiety, fatigue, sweating, seizures, and hallucinations, etc. which are treatable with supportive care and certain medications. Nonetheless, drug withdrawal symptoms sometimes show no common sign, and this could be quite troublesome and can lead to a serious problem in the long run.

What happens to your body when you go to an extreme fat loss diet to get rid of those extra pounds? You begin to crave foods you are not supposed to like chocolates, ice creams, doughnuts and whatnot. The body can similarly behave during drug withdrawal but sometimes on a more intense level. Those who do drugs more often make their body habitual to such essences. But when they stop doing drugs all of a sudden, their body reacts in a way it has never done before. It is because the body is used to the drugs being present and takes time to adjust back to normal levels.

Factors upon which the drug withdrawal syndrome depends

  • For how long the substance was used
  • Type of drugs abused
  • The dosage of the substance one was intaking
  • Other physical and mental health factors

Symptoms of Drug Withdrawal

Drug withdrawal symptoms affect every part of the human body differently. Here are the most common drug withdrawal signs that one may experience:

  • Entire Body – Hunger, Fatigue, Loss of Appetite, Shakiness, Excessive sweating, Shiverness, Dull Skin.
  • Behavioural – Anger issues, Turmoil, Irritation, Restlessness, Feeling of loneliness, suicidal thoughts (in extreme cases), Racing thoughts, Loss of interest, Nervousness.
  • Psychological – Depression, Hallucination, Paranoia, Insomnia, Nightmares, Severe Anxiety, Sleepiness, Difficulty in sleep, Mental confusion.
  • Gastrointestinal – Sickness, Nausea, Vomiting, Upset Stomach, Stomach Cramps.
  • Nasal – Congestion, Runny nose.
  • Eyes – Dilated pupil, Watery eyes.

How Long Does Drug Withdrawal Last & What Are the Different Stages of Drug Withdrawal?

If someone who has been addicted to drugs or been in any kind of intoxication for a long time, abruptly tries to stop using, they can experience a variety of symptoms. According to the U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), identifying the drug withdrawal syndrome in a person is very easy, but sometimes it gets tricky.

Many of you would be feeling a need to ask how long does drug withdrawal last? Well, that very much depends upon the withdrawal stage you are in. Understanding the timeline and stages of drug withdrawal is as important as making oneself aware of the addiction treatment plan. There are mainly three stages of drug withdrawal:

Stage 1 – Make the Decision

The first stage is when the person makes up the mind to stop doing drugs. This is the crucial stage, and the patient has to be very adamant with the decision. There is no shame in accepting yourself and admitting the addiction. Just do it.

Stage 2 – Seek Medical Help

Even if you want to try withdrawal on your own and feel only subtle symptoms, consult a physician and seek medical attention. Not all withdrawal requires inpatient stays, but it’s important to have medical guidance, as well as support even at home, to successfully withdraw from drugs. Sometimes it takes more than expected days for symptoms to appear. Again it depends upon the severity of the addiction and kind of drugs you were influenced to.

Stage 3 – Endure the Intensity of Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

When you feel distressed and it seems like the intensity of syndrome is inflating, you may be reaching the peak of withdrawal. Sometimes the condition is actually serious, which is why medical guidance is recommended. Many patients may get discomfort because their body cannot just adjust to the sudden withdrawal. However, do not let it get past you. The medical aid does the best job for you here and helps you come out clean.

How to Treat Drug Withdrawal?

When substance abuse begins to take over your life, the best course of action is to seek treatment. Since drug addiction is a chronic condition, it takes time to get over such severe compulsion and reach sustained recovery. The kind of drug and dosage differs from person to person, and therefore the remedy can vary depending on the person’s age, physical condition, the kind of drug one was influenced to and most importantly for how long the drug was undertaken.

For some patients, it takes not more than a week or two to recover from the state of physical addiction whereas it takes longer than a month or more (in serious cases) in the withdrawal process for some.

To begin with the treatments, it helps to understand the basic process of drug detoxification. You must be thinking how this terms ropes in between? Let me explain to you; typically, doctors do not immediately allow the entry of the patient to treatment. They understand the subject and their condition first before taking any further measures which often begin with the detoxification.

Drug Detoxification

Drug detoxification can be defined as a process of removing the drug elements from the body by following the detox procedure. The primary purpose of detoxification serves to manage withdrawal symptoms so a person is safe and as comfortable as they can be.

It is not recommended to detox without medical supervision as it may lead to other serious issues. People can detox at home, but it’s always recommended to seek medical guidance first. Medical experts have the detox programs with them, and they use those after evaluating the patient in and out. The need for detox is different in everyone’s body; however, the procedure involved to do so is very much the same. Detoxification basically involves a three-step process:

Step 1 – Analysis

The medical team first screens the patient’s mental and physical health to determine the condition. They normally use blood test reports to understand the amount and kind of drugs in the patient’s body. They decide the medication program based on that.

Step 2 – Stabilizing the Patient

After analysing the patient’s condition, it is time to begin with the procedure and make them stable. The patient here needs to be braced with medical therapy which would be supervised by a medical adviser. In some cases, doctors prescribe some medications to the patient to reduce the withdrawal syndrome.

Step 3 – Making patients aware of the treatment process

Finally, the doctor educates the patient about the outpatient treatment and all the procedures to be followed thereafter. This is the final step of the detoxification process, and the treatment continues in accordance with the doctor’s advice. The doctor sometimes also prescribed drug withdrawal medication to palliate the symptoms in a patient.

Drug withdrawal is often uncomfortable, but the path of recovery is rewarding and worth it. It is okay to take longer days; it is totally okay to recover at your own speed. Appreciate yourself as you decided to deal with your drug problems and those who never gave up on you. Drug addiction is a disease, but the choice to stop and overcome withdrawal is a courageous decision.