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Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Information

People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are slave to substance abuse; they believe that they are able to think or function properly only when they take resort to drugs. The intense craving for drugs when they are denied or not given, leads to withdrawal symptoms. When a person continues to take drugs, the blood stream is filled with toxins and there is a definite change in the way the neurons in the brain communicate processes to various parts of the body. The drugs take over the production of the generating 'pleasurable or happy' sensations in the brain. For instance, when a person takes heroin, this particular drug stimulates the release of dopamine and the brain eventually loses the ability to produce that chemical by itself. In other words, a person becomes mentally dependent on drugs to feel the 'high'.

When the drug is denied, the brain is not able to produce feelings of pleasure or happiness on its own as it has become slave to the drug. During the process of detox when there is no drug given, a person goes through uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms because the brain has to become adjusted to the process of working on its own. So let us go through the withdrawal symptoms for each of the drugs and find out how the body and the mind react when a particular drug is denied.


The chronic abuse of alcohol, otherwise known as alcoholism, is a disease that affects millions of Americans every day.

Illicit Drugs

Drug withdrawal symptoms occur when a person who is addicted to an illicit or prescribed drug stops using the drug abruptly.


Most mind-altering drugs, including alcohol, cause severe, uncomfortable and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms when an addict suddenly stops using them.

Withdrawal Treatment

Drug and alcohol withdrawal treatment, which prevents symptoms caused by abrupt withdrawal of substances to which patients are physically addicted, is the first phase of substance abuse rehabilitation treatment.

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Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawals

Alcohol:Though many refrain from calling it so, Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world. Withdrawal symptoms can kick in within 6-48 hours of the last drink and can be in the form of hallucinations, slurry speech, seizures and tremulousness. For the person who is severely addicted, there can be serious withdrawal symptoms in the form of a condition known as ‘Delirium Tremens’ (DTs) that includes hallucination, confusion and impairment of the autonomic nervous system that can happen between 48 and 96 hours after the last drink.

Heroin: Heroin withdrawal symptoms start within 6 to 8 hours after the last does of heroin is administered. These withdrawal symptoms peak in the duration of 48 and 72 hours from the last dose and then recede in a week’s time. Heroin withdrawal symptoms include dilated pupils, fever, chills, stomach cramps and diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, irritability, panic, nausea, muscle cramps and runny nose.

Cocaine: Cocaine is one of the fastest acting drugs; the withdrawal symptoms are usually mental in nature; for instance, angry outburst, irritability, agitation, depression, tension, panic, lack of motivation, extreme craving for drug, muscle pain, insomnia, careless about personal hygiene etc.

Meth: Meth is a stimulant drug medically linked to amphetamine but can pose stronger stimulant reactions to the central nervous system. Some of the common Meth withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, fatigue, intense hunger, moderate to severe depression, hunger pangs and disturbed sleep. Like most drugs, the intensifying of the withdrawal symptoms depend how on this drug has been used. Commonly, it is seen that cravings, depression, confusion, restlessness, tiredness, insomnia and lethargy can last up to 48 hours.

Vicodin: Vicodin, a prescription medication for relieving pain, is also abused a lot causing severe addiction problems. There is a hydrocodone component in this drug which makes it addictive. Due to the opioid characteristic of hydrocodone, Vicodin can give the same high as heroin does and the withdrawal symptoms are also similar. Some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with Vicodin abuse include irritability, muscle cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, sweating, fever, chills, loss of appetite and cold flashes.

Nicotine: Nicotine addiction or smoking is the most common addiction people suffer from. The withdrawal symptoms kick in for the first three weeks after you leave smoking (the bigger the addiction, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms). Sadly, it has been seen that the cravings in most cases are so intense that people end up smoking again. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include intense craving to reach for a cigarette, drowsiness, headache, lack of ability to think properly, behavioral changes, depression, mood swings, irritability and anger, sore gums and constipation.

Caffeine: Caffeine withdrawal symptoms are seen in people who are addicted to drink caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea and colas. Some of the caffeine withdrawal symptoms include lethargy, lack of energy, sleepiness, difficulty to concentrate, inability to get bowel movements naturally till one has the caffeine drink, anxiety and depression. Usually, these are mild to moderate symptoms and can be intensified if the person is highly addicted to caffeine drinks. Having these beverages in moderation can keep the withdrawal symptoms in check.

Coping With Detox and Withdrawal:: Most withdrawal symptoms of drugs usually subside in a period of two weeks; you should have the determination to battle through them. In a detox center for drugs or alcohol, there are detox- specialists who will help you cope with withdrawal symptoms in a better manner. Most of these symptoms though uncomfortable are not life-threatening and can be overcome with a positive attitude.

Dot not let withdrawal symptoms stop you from seeking treatment, when it comes to alcohol, nicotine and drug addiction. These are temporary obstacles that your body develops when you are denied drugs. With treatment and determination, you will not only be able to counter withdrawal symptoms but also experience sobriety.