What is drug or alcohol withdrawal?

I heard withdrawal is hell, but when does it take place? Does it happen to everyone who uses drugs or drinks?

asked 01 Mar '12, 15:39

greenpea's gravatar image

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Withdrawal from certain drugs, like Xanax and other tranquilizers, can be life-threatening if not overseen in a medical setting. Alcohol withdrawal can also be very dangerous. Drug and alcohol adiction treatment starts with medically-supervised detox, as means of safely handling withdrawal symptoms and preparing for addiction treatment. The length and severity of withdrawal depends on the person, the drug abused, and the history of addiction.

(11 Mar '12, 20:16) Jack ♦


Drug Addiction

Drug addicts as well as drug users may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking drugs. With drug addiction, fear of withdrawal sickness may even encourage a continuation of the drug addiction.


Drug Detox

Drug detox helps addicts manage painful withdrawal and the first steps of recovery.


Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol withdrawal can be deadly. Most alcoholics experience alcohol withdrawal on a regular basis, in the form of shakes with mood changes.


Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detox is a medical process of monitoring and supporting an alcoholic during alcohol withdrawal.



Alcohol dependency can cause serious withdrawal when use is stopped.

Withdrawal refers to the sickness that comes when you stop taking something you take regularly.

If you feel sick, or not well, when you aren't taking the substance, it may be "withdrawal". Often the physical withdrawal symptoms are the ones referred to as "withdrawal".

Some substances cause serious withdrawal symptoms, so if you stop taking them you should be medically supervised during withdrawal. Even alcohol withdrawal can be deadly. Talk to a substance abuse counselor before choosing to stop, to make sure you are safe from consequences of withdrawal. There's probably a phone number in one of the side bars or one of the ads on this site - drug abuse counselors are your best bet and they are behind most of the phone numbers offering help with substance abuse.


Withdrawal occurs when the use of a substance of which you are chemically dependent is lessened or stopped completely. Chemical dependence accustoms your body to regular substance intake; some people actually need a certain amount of a drug just to "feel normal". When the cravings are not sufficiently satisfied, your body becomes unstable and withdrawal takes place.


answered 13 Mar '12, 18:59

McKail's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

Think of it like this: Withdrawal is your body punishing you for not giving it the fix it thinks it needs. After chronic drug use, your body expects a dose on schedule and subconsciously prepares for intake. If that dose is much smaller than expected or doesn't happen at all, your body panics and is left far from equilibrium. Withdrawal symptoms are usually opposite of the drug's direct effects because the body has not yet learned to begin creating what the drug was previously supplying, causing serious ailments within. Once the body can learn to find equilibrium without the use of a substance, withdrawal symptoms will cease and recovery will begin.


answered 13 Mar '12, 19:45

JaneSays's gravatar image

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Asked: 01 Mar '12, 15:39

Seen: 3,969 times

Last updated: 03 May '12, 16:37