How Long Do Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

How Long Do Withdrawal Symptoms Last?Anyone who uses narcotic drugs, whether by prescription or recreationally, can become dependent and eventually addicted. Narcotic pain relievers such as Vicodin and OxyContin, as well as street drugs like cocaine, heroin and marijuana, can alter how the brain perceives pain and produce euphoric sensations. Each of these drugs carries a risk of addiction and, after an addiction is established, can cause uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withheld. Understanding the side effects of withdrawal and how to manage them can help addicts to take the first step toward recovery, the detox process.

Factors that Can Affect Withdrawal Symptoms

When a narcotic drug is used in larger doses than prescribed or is used for a long period of time, addiction can easily develop. Those who take narcotic pain relievers under a doctor’s supervision can also experience some level of withdrawal when the drug use is stopped, which is why patients with chronic pain conditions are often weaned off painkillers slowly. When drug use is halted abruptly, painful and dangerous withdrawal symptoms can occur. The intensity and length of the withdrawal symptoms often depends on the length and type of drug use. Men and women are equally susceptible to experiencing drug withdrawal symptoms. The type of withdrawal symptoms that a user experiences can also depend on his mental state, overall health and genetic predisposition to depression and other forms of mental illness.

Types of Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are often split into two categories: physical symptoms and emotional symptoms. Physical withdrawal symptoms can include the following:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Tremors

Emotional withdrawal symptoms may begin as mild depression and can escalate to violent mood swings, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. Both physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms often dissipate over time but they can be uncomfortable and life-threatening if not accompanied by a program of medically supervised detox.

Addiction Withdrawal and Medically Supervised Detox

The safest way to deal with withdrawal symptoms from drug dependence or addiction is often through a medically supervised detox program. This often consists of a doctor gradually reducing the amount of pain medication used by a patient and is offered at many drug rehab facilities as the first step on the road to recovery. During the detox period, the patient’s health is monitored 24 hours a day while his body rids itself of the drug toxins. Medically supervised detox programs can also offer medications to help ease the severity of the symptoms. This process can take several days, but once the recovering addict‘s body is rid of the drug’s toxins, he can enter a program of counseling and therapy to begin his journey toward lasting recovery.

Help for Drug Addiction and Withdrawal

If you or a loved one suffers from an addiction, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about addiction and withdrawal and to help you find the best treatment options for your situation. Please call now.