Why do we get withdrawal symptoms?

Whenever drugs are abused, they change the way the brain and body function. Some of these changes are very severe and can cause a physical dependence which leads to withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal process is unpleasant but it’s a normal part of getting sober and it does not last forever.

The question of why we get withdrawal symptoms deals with brain chemistry and an addict’s dependence on a particular substance. From our experience in the field of addiction treatment, we can tell you that once you’re addicted, it’s best to detox under the care of medical professionals.

Why do we get withdrawal symptoms

Causes of Substance Dependence

Once you’ve become hooked on drugs, your body cannot work or function properly without consuming that substance every single day. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some of the factors that can make an individual depend on drugs or alcohol include:

  • Anxiety
  • Peer pressure
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Emotional distress
  • Environmental distress

How to Diagnose Withdrawal

Addicts and alcoholics know when they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms because they won’t feel normal and are craving more of the drugs to get high. If a medical professional thinks you might have withdrawal symptoms, you will be asked some questions about your drug abuse or drinking history to determine the length and severity of your symptoms.

Once you’ve developed a drug dependence on opiates, alcohol, or benzodiazepines, sudden discontinuation from using it every day triggers those unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The detox process varies from person to person, but doesn’t last forever and passes with time and proper medical care.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

The body responds negatively when an addict or alcoholic suddenly stops using their drug of choice. Your body expects to feel that substance in its system all the time, and if this ritual ends all of a sudden, it goes into shock and confusion. For instance, drug abuse affects the nervous and hormonal systems. When an addict stops taking drugs, the functions of these systems will be temporarily affected and can lead to the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms.

Let’s go over the most common withdrawal symptoms for opioid, benzodiazepine, and alcohol addiction.

Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal

Opioids are used for treating pain. They are obtained from opium which comes from the poppy plant. Opioid withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, however, the withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening unless you’re struggling with a polydrug addiction. It’s best to complete the opioid detox process under the supervision of a detox clinic that specializes in this type of substance abuse.

Symptoms of opioid withdrawal can include the following:

  • Low energy
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating (hot and cold sweats)
  • Teary eyes
  • Muscle aches
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Benzodiazepines belong to the depressant family of drugs, which means that they act as depressants of the central nervous system (CNS). As a result, they can decrease the activity of the brain as well as the proper functioning of the central nervous system. These drugs give you a sense of calmness but also create euphoria and a painful physical dependence with long-term use.

When these drugs are abused, the brain depends on them and if you attempt to stop using these substances, withdrawal symptoms set in. These benzo withdrawal symptoms are not only uncomfortable but also dangerous if left untreated:

  • Muscle weakness or pain
  • Shaking
  • Sleeplessness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Headaches
  • Vision problems

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

When an individual stops abusing alcohol after drinking heavily for a long period of time, he or she can experience mental and physical withdrawal symptoms. These problems can be mild or very serious, depending on how much alcohol you’ve been drinking and for how long. In cases of chronic and severe alcohol abuse, it’s recommended to detox under the guidance and care of a medically-assisted alcohol detox program.

Some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Extreme confusion
  • Seizures
  • Extreme agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure

How to Get Help with Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms make people miserable and lead to relapses when it seems like the situation is hopeless and only getting worse by the hour. Withdrawal can also cause long-lasting consequences on an addict’s physical health. Carrying out a safe detox in a medically-supervised facility is the most effective way of relieving painful opiate, benzodiazepine, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Allure Detox offers professional help that guides addicts to a safe and long-term recovery from chemical dependence. You don’t need to suffer from withdrawal symptoms alone. Call us today to discuss the detox program that will align with your or a loved one’s unique needs.