Common Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
Common physical withdrawal symptoms include the following:
Sweating or Chills
Loss of Appetite
Rapid Heart Rate
Common Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms
Some of the common psychological symptoms include the following:
Unsettled & Confused
Severe or Deadly Withdrawal Symptoms
Some withdrawal symptoms are severe and even deadly, requiring proper medical supervision. Drug or alcohol addiction can become so severe that a person requires the substance to live. Underlying medical symptoms can also contribute to the severity of the withdrawal process.
The most common drugs that lead to severe or deadly withdrawal symptoms include opiates, alcohol, and benzodiazepines.
These include drugs like heroin, pain medication, morphine, and fentanyl
- Heroin and pain medication withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, depression, low impulse control, and anxiety. Withdrawal symptoms can become severe enough to lead to death because of severe dehydration leading to heart failure. Dehydration occurs because of excessive vomiting and diarrhea.
- Morphine includes many of the same symptoms as heroin. However, stopping morphine without medical help can result in seizures, extreme agitation, tremors, and possibly death.
- Fentanyl and synthetic opioid withdrawal symptoms are also similar, including physical and emotional symptoms. Severe symptoms include seizures and dehydration, which could lead to death.
Someone who is addicted to alcohol becomes physically and psychologically dependent. When alcohol dependence has formed, withdrawal symptoms become severe. These symptoms can include extreme nausea, fever, diarrhea, seizures, and delirium tremens. Death is possible when seizures and delirium tremens occur.
Benzos create severe physical and psychological dependence. Generally, these drugs are prescribed for short-term use. Long-term use creates severe physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. The biggest risk that could end in death is the risk of grand mal seizures and suicidal thoughts.
Specific Drug Withdrawal Phenomena
Alcohol withdrawal and delirium tremens, DTs, or alcohol withdrawal syndrome, is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal and can be fatal if not appropriately managed.
Delirium tremens occur when someone’s alcohol consumption is reduced quickly or suddenly stops. Heavy drinking over the span of several months or years can lead to DTs if someone decides to stop using alcohol. This is why medical detox is necessary when stopping heavy alcohol use.
Delirium tremens is a medical emergency that requires hospitalization as it can lead to dangerous cardiovascular issues. Individuals can experience delirium, confusion, and dangerous hallucinations.
Benzodiazepine seizures are a result of dependence on benzodiazepines and occur during the withdrawal stage. Benzo withdrawal occurs when a person suddenly stops taking the drug without medical intervention or medical detox.
There is no definitive guide to the symptoms, timeline, or severity of withdrawal. Every individual experiences something different depending on the following:
- Duration of use
- Dosage taken
- Benzo abuse and misuse
- Underlying mental health condition
- Other drugs
An individual will go through an acute and protracted withdrawal phase. Seizures occur where there are instances of high dosage use.
Withdrawal seizures usually occur in patients who have been taking these medications for long periods of time at high dosages. Seizures have also been reported with less than 15 days of use. The severity of seizures ranges from a single episode to coma and death.
Methamphetamine psychosis is a result of chronic meth use. Individuals who use the drug experience changes in their brains. The symptoms of meth-induced psychosis resemble those of paranoid delusions and psychotic tendencies.
The hallucinations or delusions develop during or soon after someone uses the drugs or during withdrawal. The signs and symptoms of psychosis include:
- Agitation and hyper-alertness
- Violent behavior
- Confusion and delusions
- Intense paranoia
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
Some of the factors that contribute to meth psychosis include the following:
- Duration and frequency of use
- Presence of co-occurring disorders