Drug Withdrawals

What are withdrawals?

Withdrawals are the uncomfortable symptoms that happen when an individual stops ingesting a drug they are physically dependent on. Over time, when a person uses a substance frequently and regularly they start to form a dependence towards the drug. Drugs and alcohol have a variety of effects on our brain and body; one of them being the release of neurotransmitters. When people ingest any drug like alcohol or even caffeine, it causes a release of neurotransmitters that make us feel happy, focused, relaxed, etc. When these substances are ingested frequently, the body adapts to the influx of chemical firing and in turn, produces less of its own. When the substances cease, these neurotransmitters become very low causing withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms vary by drug and from one person to the next. This article will cover the basics of what to expect and look for during potential withdrawals. Depending on the drug, withdrawals can be extremely uncomfortable and possibly fatal. Always consult your doctor or psychiatrist before quitting substances on your own. Detox services are available to properly and safely administer appropriate care during alcohol and drug withdrawals.

Rule of thumb about withdrawals: the longer the duration of use, the older the individual, the larger the dose, the longer and more intense the withdrawal

 

Withdrawals can vary from person to person. Factors the influence these symptoms include:

  • Whether or not a combination of drugs were used
  • The individual’s metabolism rate
  • Body mass and weight
  • Body fat content
  • The overall health of the person (especially the liver and kidneys)
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • How often and how heavy the use is
  • Quality of the drug
  • Amount of water in the body

 

 

difference between drug addiction, tolerance, and dependence

"Heroin/Opioid Withdrawals"

 

Codeine, Heroin, Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Hydromorphone (Dilaudid), Methadone, Meperidine (Demerol), Morphine (MS Contin, Kadian), Oxycodone (Percocet or Oxycontin)

If you are reading this article, you know that opiate withdrawal can be a strong obstacle in overcoming addiction. Opiates leave a body’s system within 2 days; after withdrawal symptoms begin. Opioid withdrawals are extremely uncomfortable but unlike alcohol and benzodiazepines, withdrawals from opiates alone are not fatal. When combined with other drugs like alcohol, withdrawal symptoms can lead to life-threatening seizures.
Opioid withdrawal timeline and symptoms infographic

Opioid Withdrawal Management

To find out exactly what your withdrawal symptoms will look like, consult your doctor or a psychiatrist before discontinuing opiate usage. A professional doctor will be able to provide you with specific information on what to expect. They may recommend a detox program; at least for the first week; to safely and comfortable wean off of the opiate.

Opioid Medications Used for Detox

Testimonials

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Coalition Recovery is a top notch drug & alcohol rehab facility! Their staff does a great job and genuinely cares for their patients. I highly recommend them to anyone struggling with substance abuse problems.
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The whole staff is very nice and there’s definitely a family atmosphere. The Renaissance program provides clients the opportunity for long term recovery and success. Would highly recommend Coallition Recovery to anyone.
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Wonderful! Coalition is the best of the best! The staff are not only professional, educated, and welcoming, but extremely passionate about loving and treating people who battle the disease of addiction. What makes Coaltion stand out from the rest is their aftercare program, where you'll be supported and counseled by the same staff who worked with you while you were inpatient. A "coalition" is an alliance for combined action, but this treatment facility is more than that: it's a family.
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These guys are great! The clinical staff and their treatment planning was very professional. From the Doctors to the technicians, everyone was extremely friendly and made you feel welcomed. Yes, they are a new company, but unlike what you hear in the news, you can tell they are there to help you-- not make money.
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Such an attentive staff!! The whole team of clinicians are phenomenal and are there for the patients as well as anyone searching for help. It has such a family feel!
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Coalition has an amazing clinical staff. They are educated, experienced, friendly, and eager to help. Everyone I have come across in the office always greets me with a smile. The facility and inpatient houses are new, clean, and very modern. Not to mention located in the great Tampa Bay area! I would definitely recommend Coalition to family and friends! I can't wait to see this new company succeed, and help individuals suffering from addiction all over the country.
Kelsey Rogers
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15:54 08 Nov 17
Coalition provides amazing treatment and aftercare for those struggling with addictions. The staff and executives are top notch and focus on client care first before anything else. Their approach to addiction treatment and the Renaissance program are unlike any I’ve seen. They are not solely concerned on the client remaining substance free, but also with having a high quality of living and living life to their fullest potential.
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Top-notch treatment center! A friend of mine went to treatment here for help with his drinking problem. He tells me all the time that Coalition Recovery saved his life! It's great seeing my buddy back to his old self. Glad he found exactly what he needed at CR.
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22:00 21 Jan 19
If you’re looking for a treatment facility for either you or a loved one- Coalition Recovery is hands down the best choice. I have never met a staff more dedicated to actual PATIENT CARE than this facility. Truly, this staff is committed to not only caring for patients in fragile physical and/or mental states but also assisting in the process of sobriety beyond the inpatient level. This is not ‘just’ a treatment center; it is the first step in a new beginning.
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The leadership, and the members of the organization as a whole, are all true professionals. This attentive and caring staff won’t just put a band-aid on. Their approach will treat underlying causes and create positive outcomes for everyone. If you’re in the Tampa Bay Area, this is the only place to go for treatment.
Ryan Matheson
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13:24 29 Jun 18
Coalition Recovery is an amazing addiction treatment center with an educated staff that speak from experience. They provide quality clinical care and the medical staff is very professional. The employees create a welcoming atmosphere and are committed to creating individualized treatment plans for clients. The secluded housing is great and takes advantage of the Tampa Bay area while providing a comfortable place for recovery. To top it all off, Coalition provides an aftercare program that sets you up for long time recovery and ensures you don't return to a life that could lead you back to addiction. Although they are a relatively new facility, you would never tell from the quality of care they provide.
Cassie Romanski
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17:24 03 Sep 18
Coalition Recovery in Tampa is an excellent addiction treatment center. I love their admissions team & clinical staff. They use evidence-based methods and create custom individualized treatment plans to provide the best care for their clients. I have referred clients here many times and they all talk about the excellent care they received by the staff at Coalition Recovery. Great work!
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The opportunity to go to Coalition recovery is the best gift my mother has ever given me. From the moment I walked in the front door I felt a huge weight lift and I knew that if I put in the work my life was about to improve exponentially. Every staff member that works there has a huge heart and I felt more than comfortable sharing my inner most secrets with them and asking for help and advice. They have helped me overcome extreme anxiety and depression issues, have helped grow my feeling of self worth, they have led me in the right direction to have a fulfilling life and have made me truly excited for my future. I took advantage of every opportunity they gave me. They even have a program that will get you on track to pursue a degree! I was fearful that I would never be able to succeed in college and I am thrilled to tell them about all of my successes! Dr. Val is my personal therapist and I can not say enough nice things about how she has helped me. I truly value her opinions and how she challenges me. I do not know where I would be or how I would be doing without her. If you are truly ready to change your life and willing to do the work and stay open minded Coalition will be the place that turns your life around. Every clinitian and staff member is completely dedicated and invested in my well being and I am excited to stay in contact and be one (of their many) success stories! Thank you Coalition Recovery!
Amanda Cilento
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19:55 18 Jan 19

Anxiety Medication Withdrawals

"Barbiturate Withdrawal"

Secobarbital (Seconal), Amobarbital (Amytal), Butalbital (Fiorinal, Fioricet), Pentobarbital (Nembutal), Amobarbital (Amytal), Phenobarbital (Lunial), Methohexital (Brevital)

Barbituates are commonly prescribed to help with anxiety and sleep disorders. They are labeled under the class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics. The use of barbiturates has declined since the 1970s as Benzodiazepine have largely replaced barbiturates in the medical profession. Barbituates are also extremely dangerous and withdrawing from the drug can potentially be life-threatening.

Barbiturate Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawals typically begin with tremors, difficulty sleeping, and agitation and can lead to including hallucinations, high temperature, and seizures.

  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Delirium
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Severe anxiety
  • Hypotension
  • Mood disorders
  • Death

Barbiturate Withdrawal Management

Detoxing from barbiturates cannot be done alone or at home. Seek medical help if you have used barbituates for an extended period of time and wish to quit. Inpatient detox facilities are available near you. If you need help finding a detox, call Coalition Recovery (888) 707-2873 and speak with one of our addiction specialists. Let us find a reputable inpatient detox near you! Medications used for Barbituate Withdrawals

"Benzodiazepine Withdrawals"

Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and Xanax (alprazolam)

Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are central nervous system depressants commonly prescribed to manage a variety of conditions, including anxiety, panic disorders, muscle spasm, seizures, alcohol withdrawal, and insomnia and in some cases alcohol. Benzos have largely replaced barbiturates in recent years.

The severity of benzo withdrawals depends on the average dose being previously taken and how suddenly they are stopped. When users abruptly quit benzodiazepines after a sustained period of time, they increase their risk of severe withdrawal symptoms.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Panic
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Heart palpitations
  • Agitation
  • Nausea
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Sensory distortions

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Management

The withdrawals from Benzodiazepines can be dangerous, especially for users with severe dependence and those with pre-existing health issues. Serious benzo withdrawal symptoms can include psychosis and seizures. Left unmanaged, withdrawal seizures could progress, be difficult to control, and potentially lethal.

Due to the potentially dangerous effects, quitting benzodiazepine use should always be done with medical supervision. Often time a slow taper method is administered over the course of a couple weeks or months: depending on the severity of use. Medications Used for Benzo Withdrawals

Stimulant Withdrawals

"Methamphetamine Withdrawals"

Methamphetamine withdrawals occur immediately after someone discontinues taking methamphetamine or crystal meth. Symptoms can surface as soon as 24 hours. With methamphetamines, the most intense symptoms happen during the first 24 hours and gradually wear off over the next few weeks. Symptoms can be both physical and psychological where the physical symptoms generally wear off within a couple of days.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • fatigue
  • agitation
  • insomnia
  • hypersomnia
  • meth cravings
  • red, itchy eyes
  • dysphoric mood
  • suicidal thoughts
  • increased appetite
  • mild to severe paranoia
  • psychomotor impairment
  • vivid, unpleasant dreams

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Management

Detoxing from meth, while uncomfortable, can be done without medical assistance. Due to potential psychosis, the first day of detox should be done with another person for support. Detox can be helpful in providing medication and support during the first couple of days. Detox can help the process go by more smoothly but is not entirely necessary. Medications Used for Methamphetamine Withdrawals

"Adderall Withdrawals"

16 million Americans over the age of 18 are using prescription stimulants. Adderall withdrawal is relatively common. Adderall withdrawals are essentially the opposite of its effects.

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares
  • Oversleeping
  • Increased appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Achiness
  • Fatigue

Adderall Withdrawal Management

To properly detox from Adderall it is important to consult your doctor/psychiatrist. He or she will taper your medication down over the course of a couple of weeks or months. Depending on your prescription and your history, the effects of Adderall may be lost over time. Individuals may experience a lack of concentration, fatigue, and depression. Talk to your doctor to discuss your options. Medications used for Adderall Withdrawal

Other Substances

"Marijuana Withdrawals"

Marijuana dependence is mainly psychological, meaning much of the withdrawal symptoms associated are mental. Marijuana, unlike other commonly abused substances, is relatively safe to withdrawal from and can be done by oneself; but that is not to say the withdrawal process is easy.

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

  • diminished appetite
  • mood changes
  • irritability
  • sleep difficulties, including insomnia
  • headaches
  • loss of focus
  • cravings for marijuana
  • sweating, including cold sweats
  • chills
  • increased feelings of depression
  • stomach problems

Marijuana Withdrawal Management

If deciding to stop smoking marijuana, consult your local physician first. Unlike many other substances, detoxing from marijuana is relatively safe, but talking to a clinician can be helpful for gaining some suggestions and advice.

Depending on how much an individual smokes, it could be a good idea to taper off before quitting completely. This can lower the withdrawal effects associated. If a person only smokes occasionally, the withdrawal symptoms will be minor to non-existent.

When quitting marijuana, individuals will not need a detox, but they can lessen their withdrawal symptoms by keeping the body running at its peak performance. Do things like:

  • Staying hydrated and drinking more water than usual.
  • Eat healthily and try to ingest foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants.
  • Exercise. Staying active can help boost mood and counteract many of the withdrawal symptoms of marijuana.
  • Sweat. Exercising helps, but sweating in a sauna can help the body detox naturally from the THC in the system and can alleviate symptoms sooner.

While quitting from marijuana may not be life-threatening, the withdrawal symptoms and cravings can be very intense making it extremely difficult to detox alone. Because much of marijuana addiction and dependence is psychological it is important to find a support system that can hold accountability.

"Antidepressants Withdrawals"

sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva, Brisdelle), fluvoxamine (Luvox)

desvenlafaxine (Pristiq, Khedezla), duloxetine (Cymbalta), levomilnacipran (Fetzima), venlafaxine (Effexor XR)

Individuals should never quit their anti-depressant medication “cold turkey.” The purpose of these drugs is to restore the chemical balance back to the brain that was irregular during the depressive state. Individuals who have been on anti-depressant medication for over a year can have intense withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms, although very unpleasant, are not fatal but always consult your doctor before quitting the medication. Often times they will administer a taper and wean the medication off safe and slow. Due to the taper method of detox, the process typically takes longer than a standard detox from alcohol or opioids: from 1 week to two months. When detoxing at a rehab facility or detox center, your doctor continually monitors your health and progress.

Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Vivid dreams
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Panic attacks
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts

"Multiple Substance Withdrawal"

More often then not, we typically deal with multiple substances. Often times alcohol and marijuana are secondary substances used to help either increase highs or balance adverse effects. The withdrawals from multiple substances can increase the difficulty in dealing with withdrawal symptoms. When dealing with the detoxification and recovery process, due to the complications of multiple drug effects, it should be left up to medical professionals on how to proceed. Users of multiple drugs are encouraged to look to medical detox institutions for advice and assistance rather than trying to deal with these matters on their own as this could potentially be life-threatening.

"10 ways to manage withdrawals"

Please, if you are thinking about quitting or detoxing from a substance, talk to your doctor or an addiction specialist to assess the dangers of doing it alone. Unless you are detoxing from Marijuana, we recommend some sort of detox method (whether inpatient or outpatient) to safely and effectively detox the body from the unwanted substance.

Detoxing from substances it the first step to obtaining sobriety, but it shouldn’t stop there. Abstinence is possible, but statistically only effective when combined with medication, counseling and therapy. Call coalition Recovery today (888) 707-2873 to speak with an addiction specialist and create a specialized program designed to help you obtain long and lasting sobriety. Don’t wait – Help is only a call away!

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