If you become addicted to any substance, you can expect some unpleasant symptoms when you first try to give it up. Withdrawals occur because the body has to once again get used to functioning without these chemicals in it. The initial withdrawal stage usually lasts about 10 days, but there can be also post-acute withdrawal symptoms that last up to a year. The extent and the duration of your discomfort are going to depend on a number of factors, one of the most important being the type of substance you were addicted to. Here are eight drugs that are particularly hard to give up, listed in no particular order.
There are a number of different types of methamphetamine, while the drug goes by various names including ice, crystal meth, and glass. The actual physical withdrawals from methamphetamine are not so bad; the thing that makes it so hard is that stopping using the drug can lead to a state called anhedonia. This means the person is not able to experience any pleasure. It occurs because methamphetamine significantly boosts dopamine levels in the brain, which is experienced as pleasure. Once the person stops using the drug, the dopamine level drops so that things that felt pleasurable before or less so now. In most cases, the situation is reversible.
Alcohol withdrawals can vary greatly in severity depending on a number of factors, including the amount the person drinks every day. The most serious type of alcohol withdrawal symptoms are referred to as delirium tremens (DTs). This can involve convulsions, dangerously elevated blood pressure and pulse, extreme confusion, and hallucinations. People can die due to these withdrawal symptoms, so it is vital that anyone who is at risk be medically monitored. Individuals who are addicted to barbiturates can also be at risk of DTs.
Heroin is known as one of the hardest drugs to kick and the reason for this is that the withdrawals can be particularly unpleasant. The brain develops a strong craving for the drug, meaning that the individual may need a lot of support in order to be able to break free.
4. Crack Cocaine
Crack is a type of refined cocaine that gives an immediate intense high that lasts for a much shorter duration than regular cocaine. This means that those on the drug tend to take it many times during the course of a day. It only takes a few hits to become addicted; the drug can completely take over the person’s thinking. When individuals give up the drug they can struggle to experience pleasure, so there is a high temptation to relapse.
Methadone is often used to treat heroin addiction, but this opiate drug can be even harder to give up because of the severe withdrawal symptoms. The reason it is prescribed is that it prevents heroin withdrawals without given the person the same intense high they would get from using heroin. This means they may be better able to manage their lives while on methadone.
Benzodiazepines (benzos) are used to treat anxiety, working by increasing the effectiveness of certain chemicals in the brain that have a calming effect. People become not only physically but also psychologically dependent on this substance, being unable to cope without it. Those who use this drug enjoy a feeling similar to being drunk; in fact, it is common to combine benzos with alcohol even though this is a dangerous thing to do.
While it is true that some drugs are harder to give up than others are, a lot will depend on your mental attitude and the resources you have at your disposal. One of the benefits of entering a rehab programme is that you can be supported as you begin to create a better life without these substances. Life away from these drugs will always be better than life with them, so any initial discomfort will be worth it for the later rewards of sober living. There is also the option for a supervised detox where most of the unpleasant symptoms can be controlled with medications.