What is drug withdrawal?

Drug withdrawal or withdrawal are physical or mental effects that a person experiences after they stop or reduce their intake of alcohol or drugs.

Withdrawal can be very difficult and unpleasant. In some cases it might be dangerous too. So one should never stop or reduce the usage of any drugs or alcohol before consulting Best Psychiatrist in Lahore.

Which substances can cause withdrawal symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms are completely dependent on the type of drug that a person was addicted to. Following are the different types of drugs that can cause withdrawal symptoms if their usage is stopped abruptly:

  • Barbiturates
  • Antidepressants
  • Depressants
  • Inhalants
  • Stimulants
  • Opioids
  • Hallucinogens
  • Cannabis

Abruptly stopping the usage of heroin, nicotine, marijuana, OxyContin and alcohol can also result in withdrawal symptoms.

What are the symptoms of drug withdrawal?

If a person is using a substance that has a high potential for dependency and they stop using it all of a sudden then this drastic change causes withdrawal symptoms.

The intensity and duration of the symptoms is variable depending on the drug that a person was dependent on.

Some general drug withdrawal symptoms are:

  • nausea
  • sleeping difficulties
  • sweating
  • vomiting
  • irritability
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in mood
  • pain in the muscles
  • fatigue
  • tremors
  • runny nose

Some severe symptoms from drug withdrawal are seizures, hallucinations and delirium.

Physical symptoms from drug withdrawal go away within a few weeks or maybe within a month or two but psychological symptoms such as depression and dysphoria can last much longer.

How can withdrawal symptoms from opioid dependence be managed?

Opioid withdrawal is very uncomfortable and difficult for patients. The patient feels like they have caught a very bad flu. Symptoms from opioid withdrawal look like:

  • muscle cramps
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • cold flushes
  • hot flushes
  • watery eyes and nose
  • diarrhoea
  • perspiration

Patients should be monitored and observed regularly when they’re suffering from opioid withdrawal symptoms.

People suffering from opioid withdrawal are advised to drink at least 3 liters of water in a day and take vitamin B and C supplements. Opioid withdrawal can also be managed with the help of medications like clonidine, buprenorphine and methadone.

To prevent relapse proper follow-up care should be given to patients.

How can withdrawal symptoms from stimulant dependence be managed?

Stimulants are drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and amphetamine.

Users start getting withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of their last intake of stimulants. The symptoms look like: depression, pain in the muscles, increased appetite, increased sleeping, irritability and agitation. These symptoms last for 3 to 5 days.

People who use stimulants in large quantities can also develop psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and paranoia.

People going through withdrawal from stimulants are at a risk of harming themselves or people around them. So regular monitoring is required for patients withdrawing from stimulants.

Patients’ mental state should also be monitored completely and if the patient exhibits psychiatric symptoms they should be referred to a doctor immediately for treatment

Intake of 2 to 3 liters of water and vitamin B and C supplements can help in making the symptoms better. Medication to treat symptoms of aches and anxiety are also helpful in managing the withdrawal symptoms from stimulants.

How can withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepine dependence be managed?

Benzodiazepine is the medication that is used to treat anxiety and sleeping disorders in patients. This medication is very effective in treating these disorders,  however if it is used for an extended period of time it can make patients dependent on itself.

Dependence on Benzodiazepine can cause symptoms like: irritability, insomnia, anxiety, tension in muscles, poor memory and concentration, restlessness.

The safest way to manage benzodiazepine withdrawal is to start tapering the dosage of benzodiazepine. This method relieves the withdrawal symptoms and prevents seizures.

How can withdrawal symptoms from alcohol dependence be managed?

Alcohol withdrawal can be really difficult for patients. It can be life-threatening and may require immediate medical intervention too.

The symptoms from alcohol withdrawal start appearing within 6 to 24 hours after stopping the intake of alcohol. These symptoms start getting severe after 36 to 72 hours and may last for 10 days. These symptoms look like:

  • anxiety
  • dehydration
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • high blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • shaking in the entire body

Some severe complications that may happen during alcohol withdrawal are: delirium, seizures,  hallucinations, fluctuations in blood pressure, fluctuations in body temperature and extreme agitation.

For patients who are severely dependent on alcohol diazepam sedation might work to make their symptoms better.

Proper follow-up care is required for patients after their withdrawal symptoms get better.m to prevent relapse.

How can withdrawal symptoms from cannabis dependence be managed?

When a person stops or reduces their intake of cannabis their body might react by showing symptoms like: irritability, poor appetite, disturbed sleep, gastrointestinal problems, night sweats, anxiety and tremor in the body.

Cannabis withdrawal can be managed by providing adequate supportive care in a calm and peaceful environment. Symptomatic medication is also prescribed for cannabis withdrawal management.

How can withdrawal symptoms from inhalant dependence be managed?

Inhalant withdrawal symptoms start showing up within a few hours or a few days after you stop using them. The symptoms include hallucinations, tiredness, insomnia, poor concentration, anxiety, headaches, nausea, and depression.

For management of these symptoms patients should take 2 to 3 liters of water in a day and stay in a calm and positive environment. Symptomatic medication should also be taken according to the doctor’s advice.

Follow up care from Best Psychiatrist in Karachi should be taken for patients who suffer from confusion or difficulty in concentrating after stopping the use of inhalants.

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