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What is withdrawal from alcohol or drugs?

Alcohol or drug withdrawal occurs when a person stops drinking or taking drugs after using them for a long time. Because their body (including their brain) has become addicted or dependent on the substance, they are likely to have a range of uncomfortable or painful symptoms when they're no longer getting enough of it. This may include anxiety, depression or irritability, fatigue, confused thinking, sleep problems, shaking, headaches, nausea, dilated pupils, a fast heartbeat and sweating. Alcohol withdrawal can also cause hallucinations and seizures. People withdrawing from opiate drugs, such as heroine or codeine, may also have a runny nose, excess tears or yawning during withdrawal. People with withdrawal symptoms should see their doctor for supportive care and to avoid serious problems. Sometimes medications or hospital treatment are needed. Alcohol or drug treatment programs may also be recommended.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.