Drug Withdrawal

(Abstinence Syndrome)


Drug withdrawal is a reaction the body can have if a person suddenly stops using illegal drugs, prescription medications, or alcohol. This can occur if the person has been using drugs, medications, or alcohol regularly. Depending on the type and amount of the substance you were using, withdrawal can be a life-threatening condition.


Drug withdrawal can be caused by illegal drugs, prescription medications, or alcohol.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chances of drug withdrawal include:
  • Sudden stopping of illegal drugs, prescription medications, or alcohol
  • Substance abuse
  • Psychological dependence and addiction


Withdrawal symptoms are different based on what you used. Symptoms may include:
  • Marijuana—loss of appetite, chills, weight loss, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, irritability, feeling restless or nervous
  • Alcohol—shaking, hallucinations, seizures, confusion, anxiety, sweating, nausea
  • Barbiturates—weakness, tremors, hallucinations, lack of appetite, seizures
  • Opioids—abdominal pain or cramps, muscle aches, panic, tremors, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, fever, chills, irritability, goose pimples, runny nose, drug craving, inability to sleep, yawning
  • Benzodiazepines—abdominal pain or cramps, fast heartbeat, vomiting, tremors, seizures, anxiety
  • Cocaine—anxiety, feeling tired, depression
  • Amphetamines—depression, irritability, sleeping too much, muscle aches, abdominal pain
Physical reaction anxiety
Anxiety is a symptom of drug withdrawal from substances like cocaine and alcohol.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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