Drug withdrawal is the term used to describe the onset of symptoms that occur when someone using drugs or alcohol suddenly ceases using these substances or there is a decrease in dosage or amount taken. The reason an individual who is addicted to drugs experiences the symptoms of drug withdrawal is because of the physical and/or mental dependence that they have developed to their drug of choice over time. The length and variety of drug withdrawal symptoms the user may experience vary depending on the drug used, dosage amount and length of use. Additionally, the route of administration, whether intravenous, intramuscular, oral or otherwise, may also determine the length and severity of drug withdrawal symptoms. For example, someone who has been intravenously injecting heroin for 10 years will experience a more painful and uncomfortable drug withdrawal than someone who has smoked marijuana for a short period of time. Not to say that the underlying psychological issues which are at the root of the individual's drug use are any more or less significant, but the drug withdrawal process surely will be.
The long-term use of many kinds of drugs causes changes in the body that tend to lessen the drug's original effects over time, and the individual develops a tolerance to the drug. The individual is considered to have developed a physical dependency to the drug at this point. This is why someone using drugs experiences the physical symptoms of withdrawal upon discontinuation of use. This is not only true for recreational drugs and alcohol but also for prescription drugs. It is important to know that withdrawal from certain drugs can be fatal and it is advisable to seek the approval and help of trained medical professionals when deciding to cease using any drug, especially prescription medication. Additionally, withdrawal from alcohol is similarly dangerous and individuals who have been drinking heavily for an extended period of time can experience seizures and other dangerous symptoms which can be fatal. Individuals must take extra caution when they decide to suddenly stop drinking and seek the help of professionals when they decide to do so.
The onset of drug withdrawal can start within a few hours to several days after cessation of use. One of the first symptoms of drug withdrawal will be cravings, and the individual will have an almost overpowering desire to obtain and use their drug of choice at this stage in the game. This is a crucial time when the individual needs the best care and support possible, as this craving often leads to relapse.
As time goes on, the individual will likely begin to feel worse and worse until the drug withdrawal symptoms go away. Drug withdrawal symptoms may be more pronounced when long-term drug use has caused malnutrition, disease, chronic pain, or sleep deprivation for example. When the person stops using the drug, discomforts from these secondary symptoms return and are sometimes confused with drug withdrawal symptoms. A few examples of drug withdrawal include:
Drug use affects the reward center of the brain, and raises the level of a chemical known as dopamine which produces a sense of euphoria in the user. This is a key reason individuals become addicted to drugs, as the individual's brain remembers these feelings and wants them repeated. The urge to use drugs is so strong as a result of this, that individuals find many ways to rationalize their drug use which negatively impacts their life. However, long-term use of the drug results in less and less stimulation of this area of the brain until eventually it produces no euphoria at all. Complete discontinuation of drug use produces a drug withdrawal syndrome that is the exact opposite of euphoria, as activity in this area of the brain decreases below normal levels. Therefore, drug withdrawal symptoms as a result of less stimulation in the reward center of the brain can cause depression, anxiety, craving and even suicide.
Drug withdrawal can be extremely dangerous and even fatal if attempted on one's own, which is why a proper inpatient drug rehab with drug detoxification is the safest and surest way to get through the withdrawal process. Don't risk relapse or other consequences and make things harder for yourself or the one's the care about you the most. Get the professional help you need to get through drug withdrawal. In this website you will find information that pertains to drug withdrawal in regards to many commonly abused drugs including alcohol and recreational and prescription drugs.