Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

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Drug withdrawal symptoms will differ, not only from person to person (if only slightly), but also depending on the class of drug that has been abused.

Some withdrawal symptoms can become life-threatening and can even be fatal. It is therefore always recommended that a person seek professional help and supervision when deciding to come off a drug they have been using, abusing, or have become addicted to.

Of course the addict going through withdrawals will experience severe drug craving; this is not listed in any of the items below but it should be considered a given.

Opiates Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawals from opioid drugs such as prescription painkillers (codeine, Vicodon, Percocet, Oxycontin, morphine etc) or street drugs (heroin) are extremely uncomfortable and depending on the length of time and the amount of the substance that was being used, they can last for as long as five to seven days.

They include:
-- Fevers / Chills
-- Diarrhea
-- Goosebumps
-- Nausea / Vomiting
-- Intense anxiety
-- Excessive sweating
-- A runny nose
-- Watery eyes
-- Hallucinations
-- Feelings of desperation
-- Lethargy
-- Insomnia

For some people, the symptoms peak at 48 hours following their last dose. For others, 72 hours. Not every person will experience every symptom.

While most opioids have a very short half-life, methadone has an extremely long half-life and it is extremely important to understand that one should never attempt to go cold turkey off a dependence on methadone. This requires professional help and supervision.

Amphetamines

Amphetamine withdrawal is not as well understood as some of the other withdrawal symptoms but some of the symptoms have been categorized to include:

-- Excessive sleeping
-- Increased appetite
-- Severe depression
-- Severe anxiety

Benzodiazepines

It is extremely important to understand that one should never attempt to go cold turkey off a dependence on benzodiazepines like valium. The results could be fatal. Therefore this requires professional help and supervision.

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines might include the following:

-- Anxiety
--Tremor
-- Rapid heartbeat
-- Loss of appetite
-- Detached feeling
-- Ringing in the ears
-- Psychosis or hallucinations.

Alcohol

Like benzodiazepines, it is extremely important to understand that one should never attempt to go cold turkey off a dependence on alcohol. The results could be fatal. The person can very likely suffer a seizure. Therefore this requires professional help and supervision.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin within six hours of having had one's last drink, and they are mapped out in the following stages:

Minor symptoms (after six hours)
-- Headache
-- Mild anxiety
-- Insomnia
-- Nausea
-- Excessive sweating
-- Loss of appetite
-- Trembling

Medium symptoms (after 12 hours)
-- Hallucinations –visual, audio, tactile. They tend to resolve after 48 hours.

Major symptoms (after 24 hours)
-- Seizures become a serious threat now, although they can occur earlier than this.

Alcohol withdrawal delirium or delirium tremens (after 48 hours)
-- Visual hallucinations
-- Rapid heartbeat
-- Sweating
-- Tremor
-- Disorientation
-- Agitation.

These tend to peak at about five days and they have a fatality rate of as high as five percent.

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