Anyone who has ever had a physical addiction to any form of a drug can tell you that withdrawal is a very hard and painful process. Unfortunately, withdrawal can occur in anyone who has a certain level of dependence and particularly, addicts. Withdrawal occurs when a person who is dependent on a drug or is addicted suddenly stops taking the drug or goes what is colloquially known as ‘cold turkey.’ 

The body becomes confused and does not know how to deal with the reduction in this substance that it physically craves. Withdrawal occurs when the body tries to maintain the balance of chemicals and hormones but cannot due to the lack of that drug. This process is called homeostasis, which is a self-regulating bodily process where it tries to stay normal. Without the drug, the body desperately tried to create a new normal, or homeostasis. This can cause the brain to have huge fluctuations in chemicals, leading to many painful mental and physical side effects.   

What Are Some Withdrawal Symptoms From Different Drugs?

Each drug has its own withdrawal symptoms. An Opioids user may feel these:

  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Frequent yawning
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Hot and cold flashes with goosebumps
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle cramps/body aches

A cocaine addict may have these withdrawal symptoms:

  • A deep depression
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Nervousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritation
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Tiredness or lethargy

Withdrawal from alcohol – which is actually a form of a drug can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable mood
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Delirious periods
  • Hallucinations

As you can see, there are many horrible side effects of drug withdrawal, and most addicts or dependants are unwilling or unable to cope with these symptoms. This means that addiction may continue well after the addict wants to quit, as they are physically unable to beat the withdrawal. This is where help and treatment are desperately needed.

How Long Does Withdrawal Last?

The length of time someone will suffer from withdrawal symptoms varies on the type of drug they are addicted to, the length of time they have had their addiction, and how intense their addiction was – how often and how much of the drug they took on a regular basis. It could take as little as a few days, to as long as a few months – in some rare cases. Anyone who has been taking drugs for a long time should seek medical help when thinking about stopping. It can be a very dangerous process if not done in the right way. Sometimes weaning is necessary or the administering of certain medications to stop the severity of withdrawal. 

Treatment Programs

Various medications can be used to help addicts and dependents avoid serious withdrawals and get off the drugs. In combination with these, certain talking therapies need to combat the underlying behavior and causes. A person may need to go through partial hospitalization such as an intensive outpatient program or an outpatient rehab service for anyone who has already been a drug addict inpatient.  


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