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The Differences between Substance Withdrawal and Alcohol Withdrawal

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Withdrawing from the use of drugs or alcohol can be a difficult process. Your body has become dependent on a harmful substance, and as you begin to pull away it is safe to assume that you will be left to deal with a variety of symptoms.

There are many similarities between substance withdrawal and alcohol withdrawal. Of course, there are some differences to be aware of as well.

Before we go any further, it is important to note that you should receive professional care if you are going to withdrawal for drugs and/or alcohol. You may believe that quitting “cold turkey” is possible, however, you could face symptoms that are too much for you to handle on your own.

Differences between Substance and Alcohol Withdrawal

Since everybody reacts differently to substance and/or alcohol withdrawal, there is no way of saying for sure what the future holds if you decide to move in this direction. Here are several differences to be aware of:

1. Types of symptoms. There is no denying the fact that many symptoms of substance withdrawal are also common among those going through alcohol withdrawal. Of course, this is not the case across the board. There are some side effects that are specific to each.

2. Severity. This is not based solely on the type of withdrawal. Instead, there are other factors such as age, health, and how long the person has been abusing the drug.

While not always true, substance withdrawal is often times accompanied by more severe symptoms. 

3. Treatment. This is perhaps the biggest difference between substance withdrawal and alcohol withdrawal. If you check into a treatment center, you will be under 24/7 care to ensure your health and well being.

During this time, you may receive treatment for symptoms. With substance withdrawal, there are more medications that can be prescribed, especially in the case of drugs such as opiates.

With heroin, for example, the most commonly prescribed drug during detox is clonidine. This helps fight against muscle aches, anxiety, cramping, and agitation among other symptoms.

Along the same lines, Buprenorphine is used to treat withdrawal from opiates as it has been proven effective in shortening the length of detox.

Do I need Professional Help?

When it comes to substance and alcohol withdrawal, you should never underestimate the seriousness of the process.

Whether or not you seek professional help, such as through a detox center, is your decision. The benefits include:

  • 24/7 care from medical professionals
  • Access to prescription drugs
  • Proven methodology to help you overcome your addiction

It is typically easier for people going through alcohol withdrawal to handle the process on their own, but not always suggested.

If you have questions related to substance withdrawal or alcohol withdrawal, contact your medical professional and a local treatment center. By speaking with qualified professionals, you can learn more about each type of withdrawal including what to expect and how to get started.

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