The use of drugs and substance of abuse will eventually produce some effects on the user. Most importantly the user will suffer intoxication that is common to users of drugs for a long time. Withdrawal symptoms will be reached when a person’s neurotransmitters have been affected by the use of the drugs so much that certain signals cannot be sent without the use of the drug. This is called dependence; it is a situation where a person ceases to exist without the drug. The drug becomes the driver of life and whenever he has not used the drug he will be sick and his body will cease to work normally. In this instant if a person tries to stop using the drugs then the withdrawal symptoms will set in making it hard for them to quit using the drugs. In this article we are looking at some of the signs and symptoms that are associated with intoxication and withdrawal.
Clinical signs and symptoms of intoxication and withdrawal
According to World Health Organization (WHO) intoxication is a condition that follows the administration of a psychoactive substance and results in disturbances in the level of consciousness, cognition, perception, judgment, affect, or behavior, or other psychophysiological functions and responses. Withdrawal is a known term as it has been defined in previous articles. Here are some signs and symptoms of intoxication and withdrawal. Different drugs will cause different signs and symptoms of intoxication and withdrawal;
The intoxication in alcohol will vary depending on the amount taken. When taken in low risk levels the person may feel reduced levels of anxiety and sedation but as the blood alcohol content increases so do the severity of the symptoms. These are some signs and symptoms associated with alcohol intoxication.
- Coordination difficulties
- Expansive mood
- Impaired memory
- Poor judgment
- Sense of well-being
- Short attention span
- Slurred speech
- Unstable gait
Signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal
- Hallucinations – the user will have hallucinations of sights, sounds, or physical sensations on the skin. He will also experience abnormal changes about the temperatures.
- Hand tremor
- Insomnia- the sleep may be hard to come by or too short to let the brain rest and get refreshed.
- Nausea, vomiting
- Autonomic hyperactivity. This may include sweating and pulse rate greater than 100.
- Delirium tremens showed as anxiety, increased heart rate, sweating, trembling and confusion. Delirium tremens is the most severe withdrawal symptom associated with alcohol.
- Difficulty performing tasks involving coordination
- Grand mal seizures– convulsions resulting in loss of consciousness and muscle contractions.
Cocaine is a drug of recreation that is normally taken for its euphoric effects. It gives a person an induced sense of well-being and may give a person an increased sense of sexuality. However as it is addictive anybody using it may become tolerant, taking in more and more which may result in severe intoxication. The following are signs and symptoms of cocaine intoxication.
- hyperactivity and muscle damage
- hyperthermia -seriously elevated body temperature
- kidney damage
- irregular heart beats
- Anxiety and agitation
- Chest pain or pressure
- Enlarged pupils
- Feeling of being “high” (euphoria),
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- sudden death
Signs and symptoms of cocaine withdrawal
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are not so severe and they last for a shorter time possibly a week but still it depends on the immunity of a person. Just like any other drug when you stop using cocaine you are bound to experience some of the symptoms of withdrawal. These are some withdrawal symptoms that you will go through if you stop using cocaine.
- Body aches
- Tremors and shakiness
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Challenges in concentration
- Intense craving for cocaine
Opioids are pain drugs. They are clinically used to help pain patients manage the pain. Opioids are commonly used by cancer patients and other chronic pain patients. However in some situation a patient may be overwhelmed by pain so much that he takes more than the prescribed dosage. When this happens intoxication will take place. The degree of intoxication will depend on the amount of the drug you have taken. Your level of intoxication depends on how much of the drug you take. Opioid drugs that are commonly used are: methadone, morphine, oxycodone, codeine and heroin. Some of the signs and symptoms of opioid intoxication include;
- small (constricted) pupils
- slowed breathing
- absent breathing
- extreme fatigue
- changes in heart rate
Signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal
As said earlier opiates are used in clinics to help patients with chronic pain. These patients may use these drugs for a long time that their bodies’ will get desensitized to opioids. The body will need more of the drugs to feel the pain relief, this is called tolerance. In the long term use you will become dependent so much that if you try to creep out of opioid use then you will suffer the withdrawal symptoms. These signs and symptoms may include;
- nausea and vomiting
- dilated pupils and possibly blurry vision
- rapid heartbeat
- high blood pressure
- inability to sleep
- yawning very often
- abdominal cramping
- goose bumps on the skin
- muscle aches
- lacrimation (eyes tearing up)
- runny nose
- excessive sweating
Access treatment and management
There various ways through which intoxication and withdrawal symptoms can be managed and treated. Visit us at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center, located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and get attended to by Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) who has vast experiences in integrative medicine having worked with different addicts chained to different drugs.