Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

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1 Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last? Posted by First Step Medical Detox on November 24, 2015 When considering stopping drugs or alcohol, many addicts and alcoholics are concerned about the withdrawal symptoms and how long they will last. Will it be better to stop the drug or drinking all at once or is it better to taper down? It s important to note that the symptoms and withdrawal will be varied not only from person to person but also from drug to drug, alcoholic beverage to beverage and lastly, from the length of time that the person has been using them. Physical symptoms may only linger for a few days to a few weeks, however, the psychological withdrawal may last even longer. Length Of Time: One of the first factors that must be considered is how long the person has been using the drug. The longer a person has been using their drug of choice, the longer their withdrawal symptoms are going to last. Dosage: How high of a dose was the person taking? The higher the dose, the more difficult the withdrawal symptoms are going to be. They will also last longer than a smaller dose. Tolerance: Those who have used drugs or alcohol for a long time have built up a high tolerance for their drug or alcohol of choice. This will make the withdrawal longer than someone who just used drugs or alcohol once or twice. Addiction: Addiction can come in many forms. Some drugs are much more addictive than other drugs.

2 Opioid for example can be very addicting while other drugs may not be quite as difficult to kick. Cold Turkey: When a person goes cold turkey they quit all at once. Many swear by this method stating that it is the only way that they can completely quit taking a drug or drinking alcohol. Tapering: In this method, a person will slowly reduce the amount they are using of a drug or the amount of alcohol they are drinking. They will also reduce the strength of the drug or alcohol. Personalization: It s important to note that everyone s body and everyone s addiction are slightly different. If you were to put 10 addicts in a room that all were addicted to the same drug, you d have 10 different sets of withdrawal symptoms. They may share some specific symptoms, but they would all have individualized symptoms as well. These individualized symptoms are going to play an important role in their withdrawal and how long their symptoms will last. Other Common Symptoms: Other common symptoms in withdrawal will vary greatly in intensity depending upon the individual, the drug and the type of alcohol used. They will also vary according to how long the person has been using. Other symptoms may include one or more of the following: Abdominal cramps Anxiety Changes in appetite

3 Chills Strong cravings Feeling out of sorts Depression Mild to severe diarrhea Dilated pupils Feelings or waves of dizziness Exhaustion Fever Flu type symptoms Headaches Itching

4 Goosebumps Hot Flashes Insomnia Excessive sleeping Irritability Painful joints Mood swings Nausea Vomiting Heart palpitations Panic attacks Periods of restlessness

5 Cold type symptoms Sleep disturbances including night terrors or nightmares Sweating Excessive Yawning There is no way to accurately predict how long a person will suffer from any specific withdrawal symptom. Just as every drug and alcohol affect each person differently, every symptom will affect each person differently and for a different length of time. For some, the withdrawal may only last for a few hours, for others, it can go on for a few weeks to months. It s also important to note that just because there don t appear to be any symptoms the person is done with symptoms. They may have a secondary phase of withdrawal as well. This is called the Post acute withdrawal state or PAWS for short. In this secondary phase the symptoms will slowly fade away. It is recommended that if a person wants to get through withdrawal more quickly, they should eat right. They should also take their vitamins, get plenty of exercise, stay social with friends who aren t using and remain productive by continuing to go to work or school and lead their lives as normally as possible. It may also be very beneficial to seek some counseling. It s important to remember that as the withdrawal passes the person is gaining ground and one step closer to recovery. Recovery may be one day at a time, but it is possible. Seek help, guidance and counseling for best results.

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