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Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

Are you struggling with drug withdrawal symptoms? As any recovering addict will tell you, this can have a devastating impact on your wellbeing and mental health. Withdrawal can affect various aspects of your life from your mood to your personality, your energy levels and your ability to focus. At Help 4 addiction, our aim is for you to get the professional treatment you need. Unfortunately, without expert attention, many people suffering from severe drug withdrawal symptoms will relapse. So, whether you, a family member or a loved one is suffering from a drug addiction, it’s important to act now. First, you need to recognise the signs that you are experiencing drug withdrawal.

 

Key Drug Withdrawal Symptoms And Red Lights

 

As a family member or a recovering addict it’s important to be aware of and watch out for the common signs of drug withdrawal. It can be difficult to define drug withdrawal symptoms because they can come in various different forms depending on the individual.

 

Drug withdrawal symptoms can be both psychological and physical. They can impact how the body and the mind interact with the world. They can change whether you feel mentally and physically well, with flu-like symptoms particularly common. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

 

  • Anxiety – This can include brain fog where your brain seems to stop functioning, an increased heartbeat, pain radiating from the chest and derealisation. If you are suffering from derealisation, you may no longer feel connected to the world or you could lose your sense of reality.

 

  • Depression – Depression drug withdrawal symptoms are quite common too. You may even begin to feel suicidal and fall into a deep sadness for long periods or temporary spells. Feelings of fatigue and lethargy are often noted and you may find those suffering from depression drug withdrawal symptoms will refuse to leave their bed.

 

  • Insomnia – Whether you are struggling with a physical or mental dependence it can keep you up through the night. You will still sleep but only for hours or minutes through the day.

 

  • Vomiting, Diarrhea, Nausea – Your body can have a violent reaction and these drug withdrawal symptoms can cause incredible discomfort. In some cases you might not throw up but constantly have the feeling of needing to.

 

  • Pain – Pain from withdrawal can come in a variety of different forms including tightening of the chest, stabbing pains, throbbing pain through the limbs and much more. Pain like this can last for days, weeks or months while cramps are also common.

 

  • Seizures, heart palpitations, sweating and chills – These issues will typically be experienced in the first weeks or days after a patient stops taking the drug they are addicted to. It can be quite worrying to see or witness but it is quite common and an effect of the body no longer receiving a substance it had a dependency for.  

 

Drug Withdrawal Timelines And Symptoms

 

We would like to be able to tell you that every drug withdrawal and treatment for drug detox follows the same line. Unfortunately, this is not how your body or dependence on drugs actually works.

 

Instead, drug withdrawal timeliness will depend on the drug that you have been taking, the period you have been a user and individual aspects such as your level of dependence. While some people find certain drugs incredibly addictive others will show no withdrawal symptoms after they stop taking it at all.

 

Some drugs cause withdrawal side effects like insomnia and mood swings for days or weeks after drug cessation. The symptoms will appear and then fade, getting worse before they eventually disappear completely. A patient may also experience a wave of depression and then an absolute crash where they have no energy.

 

A common mistake is to believe that after the symptoms subside within the first week they won’t return. Many people do experience symptoms that develop again within the first month and this will again depend on the drugs that you recover from.

 

In other cases, symptoms will only last for the first couple of days while certain drugs will cause you to experience symptoms on and off for months on end. Typically, symptoms that come and go for several years are more difficult to handle without professional help than those which only last for a few days. This is due to the uncertainty and false sense that the issues are over. However, it’s always recommended you seek expert support if you or someone you know is suffering from withdrawal.

 

By getting profession support a plan can be put in place that will match your timeline of withdrawal symptoms. It can ensure that you get the exact plan you need to see you through the worst of the symptoms and come out the other side of your addiction without relapsing. The benefit of getting professional help from a treatment centre is that they will understand and address personal needs or requirements. Whether you need constant care and monitoring or expert advice, they can assist you. If a loved one or family member seems to be experiencing withdrawal symptoms, we can help make sure that you arrange the treatment they need from one of the best treatment centres in the UK. Don’t suffer alone. Reach out for the helping hand to get you through your recovery.

 

What Causes The Signs Of Drug Withdrawal?

 

Being able to recognise drug withdrawal symptoms is a good first step when going through detox and recovery. However, it’s also useful to know the cause and reason behind these symptoms. By understanding the cause, you can avoid panicking or becoming anxious which will typically make the symptoms far worse and more traumatic. So why does your body react so violently during withdrawal?

 

First, you need to understand what happens to you when you abuse a substance. Narcotics alter the chemical processes throughout the brain. This is why when you take certain drugs, you can hallucinate, experience mood changes and have physical reactions. It’s all to do with the way the drug is interacting with your brain.

 

The substance will also supplement chemical pathways that are already apparent and may even completely dominate those pathways. This is why you acquire a tolerance for the drug and way you feel that you need more to get the same effect already experienced. During this stage, your addiction grows. This is also why you might start with a gateway drug like marijuana and ultimately end up on something stronger like cocaine or even prescription drugs.

 

Once you reach this stage, it’s possible to feel as though you can no longer function without the drug. In fact, your body may begin to reduce or cease the production of certain crucial chemicals like dopamine completely.

 

When you finally stop taking the drug, the brain still demands the substance. It sends signals to the rest of the body until your brain begins once again produce the chemicals that the drug replaced. This is why you experience mental and physical withdrawal symptoms. Whether you’re suffering from the shakes, mood swings, cold sweats or depression, this is all caused by your brain demanding a substance that used to be there.

 

Different Drugs Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Various different types of drugs will cause withdrawal symptoms. Indeed, most drugs that are abused will cause some form of withdrawal for addicts. These include:

 

  • Heroin And Opioids – Withdrawal begins up to 12 hours after last exposure and reaches the highest level around the third day. Trouble breathing, nausea and trembling are all common symptoms.
  • Stimulants – A period of depression 72 hours after detox is common as well as a heavy crash. Symptoms commonly return with both physical and mental issues usually apparent.
  • Benzodiazepines – Usually withdrawal symptoms last for a few weeks but can be on and off for months. Common symptoms include irritability, dry heaving and anxiety attacks.
  • Marijuana – Less serious than most drug withdrawal symptoms, this can still cause insomnia and fatigue for up to a month after the last use.

 

By getting support from a professional rehab facility, you can gain the support you need to recover from an addiction to marijuana, opiates, heroin, benzodiazepines and any other substance that could be causing your withdrawal symptoms.

 

Does Alcohol Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

 

Alcohol does impact your brain in a similar way to drugs and therefore if you are a recovering alcoholic, withdrawal symptoms are common. Symptoms include sweating, anxiety and depression and that’s just in the first eight hours after the last drink. Within 24 hours, depending on the severity of your addiction, hallucinations can occur for days. The full detox procedure for alcohol to help you through withdrawal can last up to a week. Typically symptoms will be most severe around day four.

 

Rehab centres can support recovering alcoholics and ensure that their symptoms can be managed and treated effectively in a similar way to drug withdrawal symptoms.

 

Treating Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

 

If you are looking for ways to support someone suffering from drug withdrawal symptoms we can provide expert advice. The steps to take will typically depend on the symptoms that the individual in question is experiencing.

 

Changes to body temperature are one of the most common symptoms for those suffering from drug withdrawal. How long does it last? It can last for hours or even days with constantly shifting temperatures. That’s why to keep them comfortable, they should be dressed in layers that can be removed and added easily. This includes jumpers, bathrobes and t-shirts.

 

If someone is experiencing fever symptoms and shivering, do not try and warm them up. Instead, leave them lying down uncovered to let them sweat it out.

 

Be aware that some foods and substances can make withdrawal worse. For instance caffeinated drinks can cause tremors and shaking when someone is experiencing withdrawal. It’s also possible to take pain relievers such as ibuprofen to handle physical symptoms like shaking.

 

Psychological methods and lifestyle changes can help too. For instance craving the substance is a common reaction during withdrawal. It’s important that individuals remember why they are trying to quit. A written down list can help to remind them of this.

 

Be aware that the relapse rate during withdrawal is alarmingly high for various drugs. When a patient is experiencing drug withdrawal their body and mind are sending messages that they need a substance. It is incredibly difficult to fight this and push through the pain, discomfort and emotions reactions.

 

This is why it’s always best to use a professional rehab centre. The outcome will typically be more positive with this type of expert support. Why is this?

 

One of the best and most recognised ways of treating severe drug withdrawal is with supplement prescription drugs. However, this must be handled with expert levels of care and attention. Doses must be correct to ensure that it does not lead to another dependency.

 

Furthermore, people suffering from withdrawal will often need 24/7 support. Many will not want help from friends, family members or typical support systems. This is often because they feel embarrassed, ashamed or guilty for going through withdrawal. Negative feelings like this can make a relapse far more likely and that’s why it’s crucial to have a professional support system in place.

 

If you want the best advice on how to treat drug withdrawal, professional recovery centres are the ideal solution and that’s exactly who we can put you in touch with.

 

Aside from supplement medication, treatment from a rehab centre can include therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help you or your loved one understand the cause and root of the addiction. This makes withdrawal easier to manage and handle.

 

Therapy may also be used to ensure that existing relationships remain through withdrawal. It’s an important part of treatment as relationships can often be strained due to some of the common symptoms like mood swings and increased irritability. The right therapy handled by trained professionals can ensure that recovering addicts still have their life intact when they get through their recovery and detox.

 

Treatment such as this can also continue long after the initial treatment and this is one of the most significant benefits of professional help. Rather than expecting you to recover immediately after the first week, they will be there to support you through the next months. They will ensure that there is a structure in place to help you cope with any later drug withdrawal symptoms.

 

When You Desperately Need Professional Support

 

Professional treatment is always the best choice when you are suffering from withdrawal. However, there are some cases where it is not a choice at all. Instead, it is an absolute necessity to get expert attention.

 

Some drugs can cause violent reactions during withdrawal. For instance, benzos may trigger everything from seizures to delirium tremens. If you are addicted to both opiates and benzos then the symptoms can be even worse.

 

In most cases death from withdrawal is not seen as a serious risk despite the discomfort and severe symptoms that can be caused. However certain symptoms such as psychosis, extreme fevers and seizures must be monitored carefully. It’s far easier to keep someone safe during symptoms like this if they are in a professional treatment centre. Outside a professional treatment centre it is difficult to provide an individual with the level of care that they need.

 

If you are worried about the severity of your symptoms or the symptoms of someone you care about, please make sure you contact us immediately. We can quickly find the right treatment option for you and ensure that you or your loved one is not left in danger. We can also provide immediate support and advice to ensure that you can handle the symptoms yourself until professional support is available or accessible.

 

How We Can Help You

 

Are you, a family member, a friend or a loved one showing drug withdrawal symptoms? You probably have a lot of questions:

 

  • Do they need professional support?
  • How long does it last?
  • What are drug withdrawal symptoms and timelines?
  • How can you help them?

 

We can provide you with expert support and advice and provide you with key information on how to treat drug withdrawal. This includes the steps you can take at home but, more crucially, we can put you in touch with some of the top rehab facilities across the UK. Contact us and we’ll make sure we find the right rehab centre to you or even the one that is closest. We can provide the connection you need and make sure that you no longer need to suffer through what is often described as hell alone.

 

Our friendly team members are always ready to answer your call and make sure that you are given immediate support. We know that drug withdrawal symptoms can be frightening, worrying and even embarrassing. We won’t judge and we can reassure you while we help you arrange the treatment solution you need. Many will relapse during withdrawal and there are plenty who end up in the emergency room because of this. We won’t let this happen to you. Instead, with our help, you can get through withdrawal and fight back against any addiction. 

Call 0203 955 7700 and speak to a addiction expert

CALL 0203 955 7700 or REQUEST A CALLBACK

We are here 24/7 to help get you and your recovery on the right path.


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Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Diazapam (vailium)


Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Nalmefene
  • Acamprosate (campral)

Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

*based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

Local treatment

Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

Treatment Away

Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.