Addictions and Withdrawal Syndrome

in StemSocial7 months ago

In the world in general, and for centuries, vices have existed, we can all fall at some point in addiction to something, for example alcohol (more this drug because it is legal in almost all countries), or cigarettes, in short, there are many possibilities in that aspect. And not to mention illicit psychoactive drugs such as heroin, cocaine and others of that kind.

However, if you become aware of the damage these substances can do, you will probably want to quit at some point, and it will require a great effort to do so. You may even suffer in the process from something called withdrawal syndrome, which implies a great level of suffering for those who suffer from it.

In my case, I drink a lot of coffee, and I can say that it is the only vice I have, I drink no less than 4 cups of coffee a day, especially when I have to work more than 12 hours, and when I don't drink coffee I feel the difference, it provokes me to drink it. I do not want to say with this that I fall in abstinence syndrome or anything like that, but what I do say is that I can imagine what these people who have a high dependence to something feel, and they want to stop.

If you want to know what this syndrome consists of, I invite you to keep reading, I am sure you will be interested in what I am going to tell you.

Pixabay/ Author: rc-respect

But what is this withdrawal syndrome? This refers to a set of symptoms that occur when a person who has been using a substance (such as drugs, alcohol, medications or other substances) on a regular and repeated basis, reduces or stops using it abruptly.

Before going on and describing what this implies I must say that the ideal is to stay away from any vice, because I have particularly known people who started with some consumption activity assuming it as if it were a simple fun for the moment, and ended up literally ruining their lives with an addiction.

I'm not saying that they can't take it up again, that they could still achieve good and great things in their lives after quitting the vice, but the reality is that social stigmas are difficult to eliminate, additionally the damages that can occur in the bodies that undergo years of excesses end up leaving sequels, and most likely limitations. Even so, it is better to give up a vice if someone has it, than to stay in it.

Pixabay/ Author: guillermolopezd

Changes occur in our brain when withdrawal syndrome occurs, let's learn what happens in this organ below. The physiological mechanism behind addictions is complex and involves several areas of the brain. In general, it is believed that addiction is the result of changes in the way the brain processes reward and motivation. Let's understand the following:

  • Reward system: When a person consumes an addictive substance, neurotransmitters such as dopamine are released in the brain's reward system. These neurotransmitters help to reinforce the behavior and create a sense of pleasure.

  • Reward hypersensitivity: Over time, repeated exposure to the substance can lead to hypersensitivity in the brain's reward system. This means that *increasing amounts of the substance or behavior are needed to produce the same feeling of pleasure.

  • Changes in neural connections: Repeated exposure to the substance can also lead to changes in neural connections in the brain, including the areas responsible for regulating motivation and impulse control. These changes can make it more difficult for a person to control or stop their use or addictive behavior.

  • Withdrawal circuits: Pathways to withdrawal: when the person stops consuming the substance to which he is addicted, alterations in the reward system and reorganization at the level of nerve connections begin to appear.

I should say that this same process is also generated in people when they engage in addictive behavior. However, this is not the purpose of this post.

Pixabay/ Author: joshuaclifford123

Well, having clarified the previous point, let's list the diverse symptomatology that can produce this syndrome, and understand why it occurs:

  • Irascibility: The lack of the substance can cause an increase in irascibility, while the organism strives to adapt to its absence.

  • Insomnia: Withdrawal from the substance may lead to insomnia due to the lack of the substance that used to contribute to falling asleep.

  • Excessive sweating: Deprivation of the substance may cause increased sweating as the body attempts to dispose of the substance through this means.

  • Persistent nausea: Withdrawal from the substance can lead to nausea due to the lack of the substance that used to help relieve stomach upset.

  • Severe headaches: Withdrawal from the substance can lead to headaches due to the lack of the substance that used to help relieve the pain.

  • Severe seizures: Seizures may be present, and the magnitude of these will depend on the substance that has been discontinued.

  • Declining mood: Withdrawal from the substance may cause a decline in mood, especially in the form of depression.

  • Palpable social anxiety: Withdrawal from the substance may cause social anxiety, as the person may feel uncomfortable in social situations without the presence of the substance."

These symptoms can vary in severity and duration depending on the substance, the amount consumed and the duration of use, as well as other individual factors. It is important to note that withdrawal symptoms can be potentially dangerous.

Pixabay/ Author: rc-respect

Fortunately, it is a situation that can be resolved, it can be overcome, even though it is not easy and can be a very complicated process for the person suffering from it.

The treatment for withdrawal syndrome varies according to the substance that caused the dependence, the severity of the symptoms and the individual needs of the patient. But it contemplates the following:

  • Detoxification: This is a process that helps eliminate the toxic substance from the body. It can be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting, depending on the severity of symptoms.

  • Pharmacological therapy: Some medications can help relieve withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse. For example, medications for anxiety, depression or sleep disorders may be helpful in relieving physical and emotional symptoms.

  • Psychological therapy: Psychological therapy is essential to help people understand and overcome the underlying causes of their dependence and prevent future relapse. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly used approach in the treatment of withdrawal.

  • Group therapy: Group therapies can provide a supportive and understanding environment for people dealing with withdrawal. These therapies can include self-help groups, group therapies, and recovery support therapies.

  • Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to dependence treatment that includes therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Rehabilitation can help people recover from the physical and emotional effects of dependence and reintegrate into society.

It is important to keep in mind that each person is unique and that treatment for withdrawal may vary based on their individual needs. Therefore, it is important to work with a team of health care professionals to determine the most appropriate treatment.

As I stated earlier, it is best to stay away from addictive substances because they are not worth harming ourselves with, regardless of the "pleasure they might generate ". If you have anything to add, please leave it in the comments and we can all benefit from it.


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