Overcoming addiction is hard regardless of which substance is involved. While all addictive drugs are tough to withdraw from, there are some that are more difficult than others. These are the drugs often considered most difficult to kick once you’,ve become addicted: Overcoming alcoholism.
In a 2010 survey, 7% of the American population (17.9 million people) were classified as heavy abusers of alcohol or alcohol dependent (alcoholic). One of the reasons behind this high level of abuse is the fact that alcohol is a legal drug, so many users don’t perceive it as a dangerous drug as long as they are not drinking and driving.
While alcoholism is a severe problem in the U.S., many individuals use the term jokingly to describe a person who does not suffer this condition. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the term alcoholic. An alcoholic is an individual who feels he or she must drink and has no ability to control their drinking. An individual suffering from alcoholism will continue drinking beyond any safe level, and they’ll do this on a regular (even daily) basis.
Alcohol is both challenging and dangerous to withdraw from. This is due to the symptoms of withdrawal the alcoholic will experience when attempting to go “cold turkey.”
The last withdrawal symptom listed, delirium tremens, is a potentially deadly condition which most commonly occurs among those who have been addicted to alcohol over a period of many years.
Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
Overcoming binge drinking
Because an individual who has delirium tremens can become dangerous to himself or others, can lapse into extreme periods of sleep and may suffer from heart problems or seizures, it’s important that they are monitored and treated by medical professionals. Part of their care is balancing electrolytes, ensuring they stay hydrated, and making sure any potential seizures or serious episodes are treated properly.
Benzodiazepines (“benzos”) are more commonly known by their brand name pills: Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Librium, Versed, Halcion, Tranxene, Serax, and many others. These anti-anxiety drugs were originally introduced to replace barbiturates as a “less addictive” option.
Benzodiazepines work by increasing the effectiveness of a calming brain chemical called GABA. An unfortunate consequence of using these drugs is that they rapidly cause the individual to become tolerant to their effects. Even when using the drug under the care of a doctor, the user will likely become dependent and suffer withdrawal symptoms if they try to suddenly quit or change medications.
It ‘,s hard to get an actual count on the number of individuals who are abusing or addicted to benzodiazepines. This is major because a certain percentage of people have prescriptions for the drugs but are functionally addicted to them. For these individuals, overcoming addiction is just as hard as overcoming addiction to illegal drugs.
Withdrawal from benzos must be made gradually. Rapid withdrawal when one has used benzodiazepines extensively can cause death.
Opiates are powerful pain relieving alkaloids that are derived from the poppy plant. Some of the most common drugs of this class are morphine, heroin, opium, and codeine. One might think that heroin would be the hardest drug to kick, but some of the synthetic opiates, known as opioids, are often just as difficult to quit. The most physically dangerous opioid to quit is methadone. Methadone is used mainly in the treatment of addiction to opiates such as morphine or heroin. Someone who has been using methadone over an extensive period must not attempt to quit without trained medical supervision, otherwise, the resultant withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.
There are some different types of synthetic opiates (aka opioids) offered under prescription and sold illegally on the street or over the internet. These include fentanyl, Oxyfast, OxyContin, Zohydro ER, Percocet, Targiniq ER, Lorcet, Vicodin, and Demerol. All of these drugs are addictive and are very difficult to withdraw from.
After alcohol and marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications are the most commonly abused drugs by 12
graders, representing just one segment of the U.S. population.
Many individuals can get through the toughest part of such withdrawal symptoms within the first few days of detox. This varies depending on what drug the person was taking and for how long. Medical and holistic detox procedures considerably reduce the number and severity of opiate withdrawal symptoms. Since unsupervised methadone withdrawal can be fatal, addicts are often eased off with lower and lower doses over a long period of time. In the end, it’s easier to withdraw from other opiates than it is to go through extended withdrawal from methadone. Regardless, certain precautions must be followed for the safety of the individual.
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Other drugs are known as extremely addictive and require supervised detox. Cocaine is known for its severe level of psychological addiction. Methamphetamine withdrawal must be closely supervised due to its symptoms which can include hallucination and psychosis. No matter the drug in question, it is always smart to consult with an addiction specialist when considering methods of detox. A combined medical and holistic approach offers a wide spectrum of options to facilitate detox that is as painless as possible. Once detox is accomplished, a thorough rehabilitation program should be done, preferably on an inpatient basis, in order to deal with the other serious physical, personal, mental and spiritual issues relating to drug addiction.
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