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Substance Withdrawal

What Is Substance Withdrawal?

Substance withdrawal is a set of various symptoms brought on by the removal of an addictive substance from the body of an addicted person. These symptoms can range from nuisance to life threatening, depending on the substance involved and how long the addict has been using the substance. It is also sometimes seen in newborn babies born to addicted mothers.

What Are the Symptoms of Substance Withdrawal?

The exact symptoms suffered by a recovering addict will vary based on length of drug use and type of substance the person has been addicted to. The symptoms may include both physical and psychological problems.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperactivity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart palpitations
  • Intense itchiness that is not resolved by scratching

What Are the Causes of Substance Withdrawal Symptoms?

These symptoms are caused by the lack of the addictive substance in the body. Only a person who is addicted to something can suffer from substance withdrawal.

Can Any Complications Arise If Left Untreated?

In many cases, over time the body's dependence on the addictive substance will wane and the symptoms will abate. In the case of some narcotics and illicit drugs, withdrawal symptoms may be life threatening if it is not done under medical supervision. The risks of withdrawal heavily outweigh the dangers associated with continuing to use the addictive substance.

What Medications Treat Substance Withdrawal?

The exact medications needed to help a person through substance withdrawal depend on the type of substance they are trying to break free from and their general health. The earlier in the addiction the person can stop, the fewer the withdrawal symptoms and the better the chances of long-term success. Here are a few medications used to treat various substance withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine patches

Methadone

Suboxone

Sedatives

IV Fluids

Anti-Psychotics

Common medications may include

Agents for Opioid Withdrawal, Opioid-Type
Belbuca Bunavail Buprenex buprenorphine buprenorphine / naloxone BuTrans

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Analgesic Narcotic Agonists and Combinations
acetaminophen / benzhydrocodone acetaminophen / butalbital / caffeine / codeine acetaminophen / caffeine / dihydrocodeine acetaminophen / codeine acetaminophen / hydrocodone acetaminophen / oxycodone

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Analgesic Opioid Agonists and Combinations
acetaminophen / benzhydrocodone acetaminophen / butalbital / caffeine / codeine acetaminophen / caffeine / dihydrocodeine acetaminophen / codeine acetaminophen / hydrocodone acetaminophen / oxycodone

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/symptoms-causes/syc-20365112

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4606320/