What To Expect From Bad Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

Drug withdrawal is a set of symptoms that your body goes through when you stop or reduce drug use. Withdrawal symptoms can vary in type and severity, depending on the substance you used. Some symptoms can be dangerous for those who attempt to withdraw from drugs without proper help and treatment. Drug rehab can help you experience a safe withdrawal, using treatments like medical detox and medication-assisted treatment.  

What Happens To Your Body During Drug Withdrawal?

As you become physically dependent on drugs, your body will adapt to the presence of drugs in your system. When you stop using drugs after a long time, your body can become ill and produce a range of withdrawal symptoms as it tries to adapt to the absence of the drugs. 

For example, opioids act on a brain neurotransmitter called dopamine that creates a feeling of euphoria. After long-term use, the brain stops producing dopamine on its own and comes to rely on opioids for these effects. When people stop using opioids after becoming addicted, their brain will produce less dopamine, which can lead to symptoms including depression and anxiety. These symptoms are why outpatient programs and telemedicine are so important to support you. 

Common Drug And Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can vary a lot depending on the drug you were dependent on. In most cases, the symptoms of withdrawal will be the opposite of what you experienced when you took the drug. 

For example, if you previously found that your gastrointestinal system slowed down when you took opioids like Vicodin, your withdrawal symptoms from opioids would be the opposite, like diarrhea, cramping, nausea, or vomiting. 

Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine normally produce psychological symptoms, while alcohol, prescription drugs, and heroin can cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms. Common symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Tearing eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Hot and cold flushes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle tension
  • Tremors
  • Increased appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Poor memory
  • Poor concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Seizures

How To Prevent Drug Withdrawal From Happening

Drug withdrawal can be a scary, painful, and life-threatening process if not done with the proper support. Fortunately, there are many detox methods that prevent you from having any symptoms at all, so you can experience a safer and more comfortable recovery process. 

If you suffer from heroin or painkiller addiction, you can receive medications that relieve cravings and other opioid withdrawal symptoms. Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are medications approved by the FDA to treat opioid dependence and addiction. These can both be prescribed as part of medical detox or medication-assisted treatment. These are usually combined with counseling too. 

For those who suffer from addiction to prescription drugs like benzodiazepines, amphetamine, and sleep aids can be put into a tapering schedule to help to avoid withdrawal. Tapering is when a doctor reduces doses of the drug over a period of time until patients are no longer using the medication. A tapering schedule and medication management are part of drug detox. 

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