Alcohol and Drug Withdrawal Symptoms and Withdrawal Management

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Table of Contents

Across the world, interventions against substance and alcohol addiction are widespread. Continuous drug use has created severe drug addiction in millions worldwide already. Health professionals suggest not to repeatedly use alcohol or other drug as the effects of the drug can be pretty dangerous.


Due to the high influence of the drug, even if the person with an addiction tries to quit it, they may experience many unpleasant symptoms. The range of withdrawal symptoms can be pretty broad. They can cause physical and psychological symptoms alike. 


Withdrawal from certain powerful drugs can even cause a mental dilemma for the person with an addiction. When a person with an addiction exhibits the willingness to quit alcohol or drug, it is essential to keep an eye out for the withdrawal symptoms and ensure that the person with an addiction is given due care.


Withdrawal symptoms may last days to months in some individuals. Drug withdrawal syndromes can cause problems with daily routine also. The best way to treat withdrawal symptoms is to provide withdrawal programs and other professional help to the person with an addiction. Consulting with a doctor or with an alcohol and drug de-addiction center would be the right ways to go about.


Substance, Alcohol, and Other Drug Withdrawal Symptoms: How to Effectively Handle Withdrawal Management?


Drug dependence is the most dangerous consequence of using drugs and alcohol over and over again. Using a drug for a reasonably long time can cause the user to feel entirely dependent on it. The dependence can be both emotional, physical, and psychological. This dependence can cause symptoms that can be life-threatening to the user.


Once a dependence forms with any drug or alcohol, the user might find it difficult to stop the usage. Whenever someone tries to stop the use of the drug, they can get physically and psychologically disturbed. They feel like they can’t survive without the drug.


Withdrawal symptoms appear in people who are struggling with addiction. The severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary significantly. Common withdrawal symptoms can be managed with essential addiction treatment. However, severe withdrawal symptoms can be hard on the person with an addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse generally observes that severe symptoms of withdrawal can even be fatal in human beings.


People using different addictive agents experience withdrawal symptoms at varied levels. The form and impact of addiction can be different for different drugs. For example, the symptoms of opioid withdrawal are much more severe than those of a person with severe alcohol use.


Substance Use Disorders


Following are some of the most common addictions or substance use disorders that human beings experience.


Alcohol Dependence


Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is the condition in which a person is guided by the uncontrolled desire to drink alcohol. A person with alcohol dependence would be consuming alcohol at a high-risk rate. It is also known as alcohol use disorder. 


A person with alcohol problems or alcoholism may think that it is physically impossible for them to function without consuming alcohol. One of the significant consequences of alcoholism is severe alcohol withdrawal.


Withdrawal from alcohol is not very easy. Alcoholic patients who are experiencing withdrawal are advised to consult the withdrawal with your doctor.


Drug Dependence


Drug dependence occurs when a person takes the drug without any discretion. The person with an addiction will need the drug throughout the day once a dependence has developed. The high dependence on drugs gradually causes severe withdrawal symptoms as a result.


Symptoms of drug withdrawal can widely vary from person to person. Symptoms like anxiety, sleeplessness, etc., are typical for the withdrawal process. However, sometimes, the symptoms can be life-threatening.


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Alcohol and Other Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol Withdrawal


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur only if you have engaged in heavy consumption of alcohol for months. The symptoms can be severe or mild. Some of the most commonly found symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are as follows.

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Shaky hands 
  • Nausea
  • Severe sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Delusion
  • Racing heart
  • High blood pressure

The withdrawal may cause much difficulty 48 hours after stopping drinking.


Drug Withdrawal


Drug withdrawal causes some of the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Stopping the use of drugs suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms, both physically and psychologically. 


Some of the ordinary yet grave symptoms of drug withdrawal are as follows.

  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Depressive thoughts
  • Agitation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Dilated pupils

Symptoms that occur as part of drug withdrawal can vary from person to person based on the type of drug they use.


Benzodiazepine Withdrawal


Benzodiazepine is a common medication that is widely used for controlling anxiety and other similar conditions. It is a psychoactive drug that helps with muscle relaxation and similar relaxing effects. Unfortunately, Benzodiazepine is widely abused for its intoxicating effects. 


The overuse of Benzodiazepine can cause severe withdrawal symptoms in regular users. Some of them are mentioned below.

  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Aches and pains
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Decreased coordination
  • Aggressiveness

Drug Detox and Withdrawal Management: Aim of Withdrawal Management


Clearly defined addiction withdrawal clinical practice guidelines are available today. Health professionals and experts in the field have formulated guidelines to carry out safe treatment after the withdrawal. 


These guidelines exist along various drug addiction treatment programs. They help counter substance withdrawal, protracted withdrawal, opioid withdrawal symptoms, alcohol and other drug treatment, etc.


The withdrawal management guidelines are explained in detail below.


Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Management: Standard Care Guidelines


The guidelines for treating drugs, opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines, etc., are slightly different. However, some standard care guidelines help handle withdrawal symptoms of any addictive agents. They are as follows.


  • Patients in withdrawal should ideally be treated in isolation. It is advisable not to keep them with patients who have already recovered.
  • Patients in withdrawal should get 24/7 medical attention from professional healthcare workers.
  • The presence of a doctor and nurse should be available for patients in withdrawal all the time.
  • Patients in withdrawal should be kept in a calm and quiet room.
  • Patients in withdrawal should be able to walk or do similar moderate activities as they wish.
  • Patients in withdrawal should not be engaged in heavy physical exercises. It is advisable to keep them involved in calming practices like meditation.
  • The patients in withdrawal should be provided enough information about the severity of withdrawal symptoms and the reasons behind them. Getting enough information can help calm them down.
  • Patients in withdrawal should be administered necessary medications as and when needed.
National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline


National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline is a service established by the Australian government to help patients with addiction. It is a 24×7 hotline number that assists with addiction. The Australian Government’s dedicated Department of Health and Aged Care handles the number and service.


Final Word


Patients in withdrawal, if not given proper care and attention, can relapse to addiction. So, withdrawal drug management is crucial for every person with an addiction. Engaging the patients in positive experiences and providing a supportive environment can help them return to life as soon as possible. Following existing guidelines on withdrawal management is the ideal way to handle a patient in withdrawal.


The substances that can cause a dangerous addiction in human beings are alcohol, opioids, cannabis, benzodiazepines, cocaine, caffeine, nicotine, etc.

The number to contact the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline is 1800 250 015.

Contributing Editor

Troy Wakelin – Co-Founder and Contributing Editor

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