Withdrawal haunts anyone with a dependence on or addiction to drugs or alcohol. Yet, many people go through withdrawal without knowing it. Anyone who normally drinks coffee may get a nasty headache if they skip their morning coffee. Despite how common it is, most people lack a good withdrawal definition.
Withdrawal is, broadly speaking, a set of physical and psychological symptoms that occur when you stop using a drug. The brain produces chemicals that keep your mood and thought processes stable. Drugs change how often and how much of these chemicals your brain makes. When you stop taking the drugs, the brain must readjust its chemical production. Withdrawal happens while your body and brain make that change.
No withdrawal definition is complete without talking about symptoms. Different drugs trigger different symptoms during withdrawal. You can expect a few common physical symptoms, like sweating, nausea, headaches, and insomnia. On the psychological side, you can expect symptoms like a short temper, poor concentration, depression, and anxiety.
In most cases, the physical symptoms go away within a week or two. The psychological symptoms often linger for much longer.
The intensity and nature of your withdrawal depend on a few factors. For example, your drug of choice helps determine whether your symptoms are more physical or psychological. Someone seeking alcohol or opioid addiction treatment can expect more severe physical symptoms. Marijuana users can expect more severe psychological symptoms.
The amount of drugs and length of use also impacts severity. Say you used a moderate amount of opioids for a few months. Your symptoms will probably prove less severe than someone who used a lot of opioids for a year.
In the case of severe alcohol abuse, withdrawal can prove deadly without proper medical care. If a heavy drinker goes cold turkey, he or she is at risk for seizures, hallucinations and irregular heartbeat. Prescription tranquilizer withdrawal is also dangerous when not properly managed by medical professionals.
Any withdrawal definition must also include a brief section on treatment. For drugs that create intense or dangerous symptoms, the first step is detox. Detox programs help manage the risks safely. Someone experiencing acute alcohol withdrawal might get anti-seizure medicine. Someone withdrawing from an opioid might get Methadone, as it reduces the worst symptoms.
After detox, you transfer to a rehab facility like Denver Recovery Center. The options in different rehab facilities vary. Denver Recovery, for example, offers:
Don’t let a fear of withdrawal stop you from taking control of your life. With help from a rehab facility like Denver Recovery, you can take back control from addiction. Reach out to us at (844) 602-3175 and take the first step in your recovery.