Alcohol and drug withdrawal is the set of symptoms experienced when a dependent person stops or dramatically reduces alcohol or drug consumption. Depending on the substance and extent of abuse, these symptoms range from mild to potentially fatal, with drug detox clinics often required to manage the withdrawal process.
For more information on alcohol and drug withdrawal treatments, call Arlington Drug Treatment Centers at (703) 463-2418.
In the context of alcohol and drug withdrawal, detox refers to the process and experience of a withdrawal syndrome. Medications are often used during detoxification to alleviate symptoms and manage recovery, with clinicians on hand at all times to support patients through the process.
Drug treatment is often split into two separate components, detox and rehab. While both of these stages can take place at a single treatment facility, they are often split up and managed at separate treatment clinics. While detox enables patients to stop drug intake under medical supervision, rehab treats the precedents of drug dependency through a variety of psychotherapy programs.
While it is possible to go through alcohol and drug withdrawal at home without medical supervision, this is not recommended. The success and safety of alcohol and drug withdrawal is largely dependent on access to prescription medications and trained medical staff, both of which are available in specialized detox clinics.
The heroin withdrawal syndrome can be painful and difficult to manage, with heroin and other opioids causing severe physical symptoms upon discontinuation. While the severity of symptoms depends greatly on the length and extent of addiction, heroin users can expect a range of acute and post-acute withdrawal symptoms. The early stages of withdrawal typically last for a period of a few days, with some symptoms kicking in as early as six hours after the last dose.
Common withdrawal symptoms include malaise, sweating, depression, anxiety, tears, cold sweats, chills, muscle aches, priapism, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, cramps, fever and involuntary spasms. The heroin withdrawal syndrome can be dangerous if not treated properly, with medication and psychotherapy required to break the bonds of addiction.
Cocaine is a tropane alkaloid stimulant with addictive properties due to its effect on the mesolimbic reward pathway. Cocaine causes an emotional-motivational withdrawal syndrome, with symptoms ranging from moderate to severe depending on the extent and length of addiction. Typical withdrawal symptoms include depression, irritability, fatigue, itching, paranoia, nausea, vomiting, dysphoria, anxiety, physical weakness and intensive drug cravings.
Some users also experience formication, a feeling of crawling skin also known as “coke bugs”. While cocaine does not cause the physical withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol or heroin discontinuation, it can be an incredibly difficult drug for users to “kick”. Cocaine detox does not require extensive medication, however, with patients generally observed and supported during detox before starting behavioral therapy programs.
Benzodiazepine drugs cause a physical and potentially dangerous withdrawal syndrome, with medications and medical support required during the detox process. Common withdrawal symptoms include sweating, irritability, agitation, muscle spasms, depersonalization, de-realization, psychosis, seizures, delirium tremens, depression and suicidal behaviors.
Symptoms are generally alleviated and managed through a gradual dose reduction, with long half-life drugs often substituted for short half-life drugs to smooth out the recovery process. A protracted withdrawal syndrome is also likely with benzodiazepine dependence, with psychotherapy and relapse prevention programs put in place to support long-term recovery.
If you or anyone you know is living with a drug dependence problem, it’s important to seek help at a dedicated drug treatment center. Call (703) 463-2418 to speak to the experts at Arlington Drug Treatment Centers for help today.