Withdrawal symptoms occur when the body has been subjected to the continuous use of a substance and then had that substance removed entirely. The removal of the substance is what causes the withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are mostly associated with drugs (both legal such as caffeine and illegal such as cocaine e.c.t.). Drug withdrawal (click link to learn more) has a few symptoms that you must be aware of. Here are the most common.
Depression is caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Prolonged drug use changes the balance of the neurotransmitters produced by the brain due to the fact that the drugs themselves act like a neurotransmitter as they bind to the same receptors in the brain and stimulate the same pathway as the neurotransmitter; the prolonged use of drugs leads to desensitisation of the drug as the brain and body becomes more tolerant of the drug and increases the number of receptors needed to be triggered to get the same response as it used to ( also leads to addiction ). But because the drugs act so closely as a natural neurotransmitter it also becomes desensitised to the neurotransmitter leading to depression. There is no immediate cure to depression, but you must comfort them during their episodes (times of) depression and possibly go to the GP to be prescribed some antidepressants. Depression can lead to dark thoughts such as low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts so any sign of these must be dealt with immediately either by notifying the police or a hospital.
- Anxiety and paranoia
Both are anxiety and paranoia are caused by another imbalance of neurotransmitters are extremely common withdrawal symptoms which can deeply affect the person’s quality of life during one of these episodes. They may feel like their being watched, panic or just simply crawl up in a ball and stay silent. There is not much you can do but stay by their side and try to calm them down. Offer them water and feed them as they might have been severely dehydrated either from being too afraid to move from their current positions due to anxiety or from the number of electrical signals fired in their brains due to paranoia. You must watch them closely to ensure they don’t choke on the food or water as they can’t function and may be quite manic.
Some will experience insomnia (inability to sleep) because their bodies are so used to the substances given to it that they struggle to function with it and hence everyday tasks become increasingly more difficult until withdraw and ultimately addiction is kicked. Insomnia can be treated by the GP with sleeping pills e.t.c. but you must watch out for any side effects and do not ever take sleeping pills with alcohol, when driving or when operating machinery.
- Poor memory and cognitive function
Due to the prolonged abuse of substances the body will become naturalised to it and struggle to function without it. This might lead to the degeneration of memory and poor cognitive function when the drugs are removed. Some cognitive function may be restored but it’s difficult to tell as brain damage may have insured as a side effect of drug taking.
This is a very dangerous side effect of drug withdrawal as it can kill. You must call an ambulance immediately after a seizure so that they may receive medical attention. You also should give them water with dissolved sugar and salt in between the seizure attacks to try to restore some of essential minerals, glucose and water lost during the many, rapid and intense muscle contractions of a seizure. Failure to do so may see them die from exhaustion.