Withdrawal (continued)

Withdrawal symptoms tend to be the opposite of the effects produced by the presence of the drug in the body.

For example the normal effect of amphetamines is stimulation and euphoria, so the effect of sudden withdrawal is often depression. One effect of alcohol is relief from anxiety, so the effect of withdrawal can be increased anxiety.

The severity of drug withdrawal varies greatly with individuals and circumstances. In extreme cases, and with certain drugs (such as alcohol) withdrawal is a medical procedure and can be life-threatening.

How badly someone experiences withdrawal will be influenced by:
  • the qualities of the drug used
  • how much the user has been taking each day
  • the length of time the drug has been used
  • how frequently the user has been taking the drug
  • the user’s expectations of the withdrawal experience
  • the physical and psychological wellbeing of the user
  • the setting in which withdrawal takes place