Which Drugs Have the Most Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms?
Which drugs have the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms? This is a question that many people are asking as substance abuse spikes and opioid addiction rates continue to rise across the United States.
In this blog post, we will discuss withdrawal symptoms for three of the most commonly abused drugs: alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids. We will also provide resources for those who are facing withdrawal and need help.
What Is Withdrawal?
Withdrawal occurs when a person who has been using a substance suddenly stops or drastically reduces their use. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they vary depending on the drug that was being used.
Withdrawal is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can lead to seizures or even death.
This is why it is so important for those who are facing withdrawal to seek professional help. Withdrawal should never be attempted without medical supervision.
What Causes Withdrawal?
Withdrawal occurs because the body becomes used to having a certain substance in its system. When that substance is removed, the body goes into shock, and withdrawal symptoms occur.
3 Addictive Substances with Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol is one of the most commonly used controlled substances in the world. From beer and wine to hard spirits, any type of alcohol has the potential for dependence and addiction.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be mild to severe, and they can occur within hours of your last drink. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
In severe cases, delirium tremens (DTs) can occur. DTs are a medical emergency that can lead to seizures, hallucinations, and even death.
First and foremost, what are benzodiazepines? Benzodiazepines, known colloquially as "benzos," are a type of prescription medication that is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Commonly used benzodiazepines include well-known medications such as:
Benzodiazepine dependency or addiction can occur when the drug is misused or taken for longer than prescribed. Sometimes, users will accidentally develop a dependency while taking these medications therapeutically, but benzos are also targets for illicit recreational use.
Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be difficult and dangerous Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the person and the drug they are taking. Common symptoms include:
- muscle pain
- seizures (in severe cases)
Withdrawal from short-acting benzodiazepines may cause anxiety and insomnia within hours of your last dose. Withdrawal from long-acting benzodiazepines may cause fatigue, depression, and problems with memory and concentration.
If you or someone around you is having severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Dial 911 in case of emergency — benzodiazepine withdrawal can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Opioids are a type of sedative drug that includes both prescription painkillers (such as oxycodone and hydrocodone) and illicit drugs (such as heroin). Addiction and misuse of these substances are especially high due to the ongoing opioid crisis, in which many opioid medications were drastically overprescribed and now flood the marketplace.
Because opioids are highly addictive, even patients using them responsibly may end up struggling with dependence and withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal symptoms may include:
- muscle aches
- dilated pupils
These symptoms can begin within 12 hours of your last dose, typically peak within 24-48 hours, and can last for several days or weeks. Opioid withdrawal can be very difficult to endure, and many users relapse. That's why it's important for recovering users to have access to professional resources and a support network while navigating withdrawal.
Drug Withdrawal Treatment Programs
If you or someone close to you is going through withdrawal, we urge you to seek professional help. Withdrawal should never be attempted without medical supervision, as it can be both dangerous and uncomfortable.
There are many withdrawal treatment programs available that can provide the resources and support necessary for a successful recovery.
Some withdrawal treatment programs use detoxification as the first step in withdrawal management. Detoxification is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of a substance while under medical supervision. This can be done through tapering (slowly reducing the amount of a substance you're taking over time) or by using medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
MAT uses medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms while the individual undergoes therapy and counseling. This approach has been shown to be more successful than withdrawal without medical assistance, as it can help reduce cravings and the risk of relapse.
Furthermore, having professional support and oversight provides accountability for those struggling to maintain their sobriety during withdrawal.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with withdrawal, please don't hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available to support you through this difficult time.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a 24-hour National Helpline that can connect you with treatment and support services in your area. Call 800-662-HELP (800-662-4537) for more information. SAMHSA also offers an online Treatment Locator tool that can help you find withdrawal management and treatment services near you.
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides a list of withdrawal management programs across the country as well as information on how to find a program near you.
- The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) offers a searchable database of withdrawal management facilities across the United States.
Tips to Get Through Withdrawal
If you are struggling with withdrawal symptoms, you may need to make some lifestyle changes to navigate your withdrawal successfully. Even if you don't have access to professional help, you can still do these things to make yourself more comfortable.
- Staying hydrated by drinking lots of fluids and eating healthy foods can help your body recover from the effects of withdrawal.
- Exercise can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
- Avoid triggers that may cause you to crave drugs or alcohol.
- Spend time with supportive family and friends who will not enable your addiction.
How Countrywide Testing Can Help
If you believe that a friend or loved one is struggling with withdrawal symptoms and may turn back to their habits of substance abuse, Countrywide Testing can help. Our tests provide confirmation so you can start addressing their risk factors and get them the support they need.
Countrywide Testing is an online retailer providing you with easy access to drug tests and pharmacogenetic testing. We offer an array of products for testing at home, individuals staying clean after rehab, workplace testing, healthcare emergencies, and law enforcement purposes.
Our test kits are convenient, affordable, and ship to you quickly. Plus, our lab is accredited by SAMHSA, so you can rest assured your test results are handled in accordance with the highest industry standards.
Want more information on how Countrywide can support a journey toward full rehabilitation from drug abuse? Just contact our team today.