Drug withdrawal is a term used to describe the symptoms that occurs upon the abrupt discontinuation/separation or a decrease in dosage of medications, recreational drugs, and/or alcohol. In order to experience the symptoms of drug withdrawal, one must have first developed a chemical dependence. This happens after consuming one or more of these substances for a certain period of time, which is both dose dependent and varies based upon the drug consumed. (For example; prolonged use of an anti-depressant is most likely to cause a much different reaction when discontinued than the repeated use of an opioid, such as heroin.)
In fact, the route of administration, whether intravenous, intramuscular, oral or otherwise, can also play a role in determining the severity of drug withdrawal symptoms. There are different stages of withdrawal as well. Generally, a person will start to feel worse and worse, hit a plateau, and then the symptoms begin to dissipate. However, drug withdrawal from certain drugs (benzodiazapines, alcohol) can be fatal and therefore the abrupt discontinuation of any type of drug is not recommended. The term "cold turkey" is used to describe the sudden cessation use of a substance and the ensuing physiologic manifestations.
The sustained use of many kinds of drugs causes adaptations within the body that tend to lessen the drug's original effects over time, a phenomenon known as drug tolerance. At this point, one is said to also have a physical dependency on the given chemical. This is the stage that drug withdrawal may be experienced upon discontinuation. Some of these symptoms are generally the opposite of the drug's direct effect on the body. Depending on the length of time a drug takes to leave the bloodstream elimination half-life, withdrawal symptoms can appear within a few hours to several days after discontinuation and may also occur in the form of cravings. A craving is the strong desire to obtain, and use a drug or other substance similar to other cravings one might experience for food and hunger.
Although drug withdrawal symptoms are often associated with the use of recreational drugs, many drugs have a profound effect on the user when stopped. When drug withdrawal from any medication occurs it can be harmful or even fatal. This is why prescription warning labels explicitly say not to discontinue the drug without doctor approval.
Drug withdrawal is a more serious medical issue for some substances than for others. While nicotine withdrawal, for instance, is usually managed without medical intervention, attempting to give up a benzodiazepine or alcohol dependency can result in seizures and worse if not carried out properly. An instantaneous full stop to a long, constant alcohol use can lead to delirium tremens, which may be fatal.
Drug Addiction and Withdrawal
Drug addiction and withdrawal go hand in hand. Sadly, addicts often find that going though the drug withdrawal process is so difficult it is just easier to remain an addicted. Drug addiction can be explained by first looking at the root cause for addiction. Often times, a person will become addicted to drugs because they are trying to avoid confronting some type of problem such as a particular discomfort, an emotional disturbance, or even physical pain. For drugs or alcohol to be attractive to a person, there must first be some underlying unhappiness, sense of hopelessness, or physical pain. They turn to alcohol or a drug because they feel like they cannot handle or fix their problem and using is their way of coping with the situation.
The user will find that it takes more and more or their drug of choice to mask their feelings and to function normally. Often, their guilt and symptoms of depression will also increase making them feel the need to use drugs to cover those feelings as well. As their drug addiction and withdrawal symptoms progress they will begin to sacrifice their personal integrity, relationships with family and friends, savings, retirement pension, and anything else that may be of use to get more drugs in support of their habit.
Drug withdrawal is a term used to describe the symptoms that occurs upon the abrupt discontinuation/separation or a decrease in dosage of medications, recreational drugs, and/or alcohol. In order to experience the symptoms of drug withdrawal, one must have first developed a chemical dependence. This happens after consuming one or more of these substances for a certain period of time, which is both dose dependent and varies based upon the drug consumed. For example, prolonged use of an anti-depressant is most likely to cause a much different reaction when discontinued than the repeated use of an opioid such as heroin.
Although drug addiction and withdrawal symptoms are often associated with the use of recreational drugs, many drugs have a profound effect on the user when stopped. When drug withdrawal from any medication occurs it can be harmful or even fatal. This is why prescription warning labels explicitly say not to discontinue the drug without doctor approval.
Drug addiction and withdrawal is a more serious medical issue for some substances than for others. While nicotine withdrawal, for instance, is usually managed without medical intervention, attempting to give up a benzodiazepine or alcohol dependency can result in seizures and worse if not carried out properly. An instantaneous full stop to a long, constant alcohol use can lead to delirium tremens, which may be fatal.
Detox for Drug Withdrawal
Detox for drug withdrawal is a process that is applicable to any individual who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. It is one of the first steps in the treatment process toward recovery. The goal of drug detox is to rid the body of toxins accumulated by drug use. Without this process, drug residues can remain in one's body and cause cravings for years after drug use has ceased. A vital step in a successful detox for drug withdrawal as well as drug rehabilitation is flushing out these accumulated toxic residues so that the individual no longer experiences unwanted adverse effects from the drugs they have taken. The principles of a successful drug detox include expert medical and clinical staff, a safe and supportive environment, and a solid introduction in to the principles of recovery.
Today, there are few people who use one drug exclusively. It is very common to see addicts in drug detox that abuse alcohol and cocaine, or alcohol and prescription medications for example. Over time, drinking alcohol or using a drug eventually causes a physical dependence. The actual stopping of drinking alcohol or using drugs results in what is known as withdrawal. Detox (withdrawal) without medical supervision and assistance is potentially very dangerous and should not be attempted. Detox for drug withdrawal can result in severe consequences such as a seizure, nausea, hallucinations, high blood pressure, and anxiety.
The length of time required for detox for drug withdrawal depends on the process being utilized. Alcohol detox, when done in a medical environment, generally takes anywhere from 3 to 5 days. For drugs such as heroin, opiates, methadone, or benzodiazepines the time can range from 5 to 7 days of medically supervised detox. The medical process of detox from alcohol or drug usually includes administering a variety of substances to relieve the withdrawal symptoms and minimize the potentially harmful consequences.
Detox for drug withdrawal is performed in many different ways depending on where you decide to receive treatment. Most drug detox centers simply provide treatment to avoid physical withdrawal to alcohol and other drugs. Others provide the individual with counseling during drug detox to help with the physical withdrawal and the psychological root cause of the individual's addiction problem. This helps to decrease the chances of relapse. It is important that the detox staff works closely with the medical professionals to insure the highest standards of quality and treatment are met.
Treatment for Drug Withdrawal
Treatment for drug withdrawal provides those who have a drug addiction the stability and professional guidance they need to help them on their path to recovery. Drug withdrawal, also known as detoxification, safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. While detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, for some individuals it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective drug addiction treatment. Through there is a wide variety of options to choose from regarding this topic, it is important to find the drug treatment method that is right for you.
The help an individual receives for their dependence problems could take place in a variety of settings, utilizing numerous approaches. There are many different types of treatment available for drug withdrawal such as outpatient treatment, inpatient treatment, and residential treatment. Each type of drug treatment setting mentioned is commonly associated with a particular approach to drug addiction recovery. It is important that the individual who is looking for help feel comfortable and understand the values the treatment facility they choose are run by.
The chosen treatment style should be based on the severity of the individual's drug addiction. For those who are not "heavily" addicted to drugs or alcohol a less intensive treatment for drug withdrawal approach may be all that is needed. Individuals who are severely addicted or have abused drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time often find that a more structured treatment environment works best. Drug addiction is a problem that affects almost every aspect of the user's life. With this in mind, finding a treatment program that is all encompassing is important.
Recovery is an ongoing process. The skills one learns during intensive treatment for drug withdrawal must be integrated into everyday life and this takes time. Though there are a variety of different types of treatment available, all must include strategies for keeping the person in treatment, skills to help the individual handle everyday situations that may cause trouble once they have completed the program and guidance and counseling towards understanding the individual's initial reasons for drug addiction.