Withdrawal syndrome, what is it and how to fight it

Egbert Haynes
Withdrawal syndrome, what is it and how to fight it

The withdrawal syndrome, also commonly known as "the monkey", refers to a series of symptoms that occur in a person when he stops consuming a substance to which he suffers addiction. Let's see better what it is about.


  • Why the withdrawal syndrome occurs
  • Types of withdrawal syndrome
    • Acute withdrawal syndrome
    • Late withdrawal syndrome
  • How to fight it

Why the withdrawal syndrome occurs

The first thing that is important to know to understand withdrawal syndrome is to know why it occurs and how it affects the person suffering from it. It is a series of physical reactions that appear when the individual stops consuming a substance that causes addiction.

This appears for the following reason: the organism gets used to the substance in question, which generates a tolerance to it. In turn, tolerance causes the consumption of this substance to increase, and the body therefore gets used to working with it. The moment you stop receiving it, the answer is the appearance of withdrawal syndrome.

Some of the most common substances are alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, cannabis, caffeine, or opiates. This type of substance causes the person who takes it to develop a dependence on them.

Once consumption is stopped or some time elapses without taking it, the so-called withdrawal syndrome occurs. This is not a disease, but it is a condition that alters the health and well-being of the person.

Depending on the degree of addiction you have, the withdrawal syndrome will be greater or worse. In addition, depending on the drug that caused it, it may be that this syndrome also has physical manifestations.

Types of withdrawal syndrome

Experts usually distinguish two types of withdrawal syndrome. The first of them is the acute withdrawal syndrome, which is also the best known and the one that occurs the most..

Acute withdrawal syndrome

This consists of a series of physiological and psychological reactions that appear when the person interrupts the consumption of a psychoactive substance towards which they suffer addiction. The way in which it manifests will depend on the type of psychoactive substance that is.

In many cases, what it produces is the opposite of the effect caused by the consumption of the substance. For example, if cocaine is consumed, whose main effect is activation, the person will perceive their withdrawal syndrome as a feeling of decay. As for the intensity of how these symptoms manifest, they will vary depending on the amount.

Late withdrawal syndrome

The late withdrawal syndrome is characterized by a set of alterations of the nervous system. This can interfere in the life of the person in a very important way and causes an increase in the probability of relapse.

On the other hand, there is the conditioned withdrawal syndrome. This refers to the psychological, and occurs when the individual relives situations where he used to consume the substance. That is, abstinence occurs by psychological association.

This is very common in smokers, for example. This type of addiction is often associated a lot with lifestyle habits, such as smoking a cigarette with coffee, or when taking a break and having a conversation with friends who also smoke..

How to fight it

Depending on what type of withdrawal syndrome is suffered, it will have to be faced in one way or another. If it is an abstinence towards a substance that we psychologically associate with specific moments, such as the example of tobacco, it is advisable to change habits and routines to avoid temptation and association.

However, there are more serious cases in which this withdrawal syndrome produces physical effects on the person suffering from them. In this case, the affected person should seek professional help to alleviate these symptoms, since they can be very difficult to manage..

This is the case of addiction to drugs such as cocaine, whose withdrawal syndrome makes most of the people who develop a dependency towards it need help to be able to abandon their consumption, since by themselves it is very difficult for them to achieve it..

Also in the case of alcohol, it is usually advisable to have professional help, since this type of addiction causes effects on a psychological level, but also physical. Only with the right help can you guarantee overcoming this problem.

On the other hand, it is important to bear in mind that depending on what substance it is, it is usually not advisable to withdraw its consumption in a hasty way, but rather it must be done gradually.

As you can see, the withdrawal syndrome can produce complicated effects to overcome when the substance to which one is addicted is dispensed with. However, with proper help and supervision, it is possible to cope.

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