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General Practice 2023

8 withdrawal symptomsêcance (and what to do)

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8 withdrawal symptomsêcance (and what to do)
8 withdrawal symptomsêcance (and what to do)
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Withdrawal syndrome is a set of symptoms that arise when the use of certain substances, which were used frequently or abusively, is abruptly stopped or when the use of certain substances, such as drugs of abuse, cigarettes, alcohol, or even certain medications like morphine, amphetamines, imipramine or phenobarbital, for example.

Withdrawal syndrome symptoms vary according to the type, amount and time of substance use, with nausea, vomiting, malaise, headache, irritability or insomnia, for example, which can starts within hours of stopping substance use.

The treatment of withdrawal syndrome should be carried out by a team of doctors, psychologists and nutritionists, with the use of medication, diet adequacy and psychological and emotional support, in some cases requiring hospitalization or specialized clinics.

Main symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the substance being used, and include:

1. Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are common and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that occur especially after stopping the use of drugs such as opioids, corticosteroids, antipsychotics or anticonvulsants, or substances such as alcohol or crack, for example.

These symptoms are usually worse in the first two to three days after the last use of substances, and in the case of alcohol they can appear about 6 to 12 hours after the last drink.

2. Irritability

Irritability can occur when you stop using substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, or drugs such as antidepressants or anticonvulsants, especially when use is stopped suddenly.

This occurs because these substances act on the brain causing chemical changes that cause a feeling of well-being, and the interruption can generate irritability, which may be accompanied by other symptoms such as agitation or restlessness, for example.

3. Dizziness and increased sweating

Dizziness and increased sweat production are common in case of withdrawal, because the body no longer receives stimuli from some hormones due to reduced use of substances, such as opioids, alcohol or cannabis, for example.

4. Headache

Headache can occur after stopping the use of opioids, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants, caffeine, crack, cocaine, amphetamine or cannabis, for example, because these substances act at the brain level and their withdrawal can favor the onset of headache.

5. Nasal secretion

In some cases, such as opioid withdrawal, it is also possible that the sensation of a runny or stuffy nose appears, however this should pass in a few days.

6. Insomnia

Insomnia can occur due to changes that occur in the brain after stopping the use of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, antipsychotics or anticonvulsants, and can often be related to anxiety caused by the lack of these substances or the habit of their consumption.

7. Diarrhea

Diarrhea can also occur as a consequence of stopping the use of opioids, antipsychotics or crack, for example. This withdrawal symptom can also occur after a period of heavy use of these substances, and can have mild to severe symptoms.

8. Other symptoms

Other symptoms that can occur due to substance withdrawal are weakness, mental confusion, psychosis, increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, loss of consciousness or even coma in the most severe cases.

These symptoms vary according to the type of substance used, the amount and time of use.

How the treatment is done

Abstinence treatment should be guided by the doctor who may indicate the use of drugs such as clonidine, chlordiazepoxide or naloxone, for example, according to the symptoms and the type of substance used.

In the case of drugs of abuse or alcohol, sudden discontinuation can cause withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor before discontinuing use so that a detoxification program can be carried out, which consists of an internment in the hospital or in rehabilitation clinics, using drugs such as anxiolytics and antidepressants, under medical supervision, 24 hours a day. day, 7 days a week, to ensure safe substance withdrawal and to help prevent or lessen withdrawal symptoms.

In the case of dependence on drugs such as benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants or corticosteroids, for example, the treatment consists of gradually decreasing the doses of these drugs, until they stop taking these drugs, according to medical advice.

In addition, the treatment of abstinence should include other he alth professionals such as a psychologist to provide psychological and emotional support, in addition to creating strategies to deal with the lack of substance, and the nutritionist to guide a diet or use of supplements according to individual nutritional needs.

Substances causing withdrawal

Some substances can cause withdrawal symptoms after suddenly decreasing or stopping their use and include:

  • Drugs of abuse, such as cocaine, crack, methylenedioxymethamphetamine, methamphetamine or cannabis;
  • Amphetamines, such as fenfluramine or methylphenidate;
  • Cigarette;
  • Alcohol;
  • Caffeine;
  • Anticonvulsants such as phenobarbital;
  • Antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine or thioridazine;
  • Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam or alprazolam;
  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine;
  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone.

It is important to consult a doctor before stopping using these substances so that it is done in a guided way to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

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