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How Dangerous is Withdrawal

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Withdrawal is the result of the brain adjusting to not having drugs or alcohol after being dependent for a long period of time. The brain springs back into control when that substance is no longer there. Basically, when you are abusing drugs or alcohol on a regular basis and stop using them, the brain quickly reacts and rebounds by producing a surge of adrenaline that causes withdrawal symptoms.

Every Drug Is Different

Every drug is different. With that said it is clear why some drugs will produces different withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol, opiates and tranquilizers will produce significant physical withdrawal symptoms. Where cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy often produce more emotional withdrawal symptoms. Not only will the symptoms be different from drug to drug, every person’s physical withdrawal pattern will be different. It is possible that you will experience little physical withdrawal, but this doesn’t mean that you are not addicted, you may experience more of an emotional withdrawal than anything else.

Emotional withdrawal symptoms are produced by all drugs, you may experience them with or without physical withdrawal symptoms. Typically alcohol, opiate and tranquilizers will create strong physical withdrawal symptoms. All of these symptoms will vary in severity, some more dangerous than others. It is possible to withdrawal from drugs or alcohol in your home, however for your safety it may be best to turn to a detoxification center for the appropriate medical treatment to ensure your health and safety throughout this period.

Common Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Poor concentration
  • Restlessness
  • Social isolation

Common Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Palpitations
  • Racing heart
  • Sweating
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Tremor

Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol and tranquilizers can produce the most dangerous physical withdrawal. When suddenly stopping alcohol or tranquilizers, you are at risk of experiencing seizures, stroke, or heart attack. It is important to undergo an medically supervised detox to help minimize your withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of dangerous complications. Dangerous symptoms of alcohol and tranquillizer withdrawal may include:

  • Delirium tremens (DTs)
  • Grand mal seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

Two Stages of Withdrawal

There are two stages of withdrawal. The first of which is the acute states, typically lasting a few weeks. This stage often is very uncomfortable, as you may experience physical withdrawal symptoms. However each drug produces its own withdrawal symptoms and each person is affected differently.

The next stage is known as the Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, also known as PAWS. You will experience fewer physical symptoms during this stage, however you will experience more of a emotional and psychological withdrawal through a wide array of symptoms. The post-acute withdrawal stage occurs as your brain chemistry is slowly returning to normal. The levels of brain chemicals fluctuate as the brain improves, resulting in post-acute withdrawal symptoms. While each person is different, the post-acute withdrawal stage can last up to two years.

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