Drug withdrawal definition: concerns the taking of drugs or substances causing addiction, therefore dependence. These drugs are generally heroin, cocaine, certain toxic products (ether, glue, trichlor..) or any medicinal substance diverted from its initial purpose. Drug Withdrawal is medicinal and physical, psychological and behavioral.
Whatever the method of weaning, it can be short, the body regaining normal functioning within a few days or weeks.
The hard method: weaning is not accompanied by substitution for the product. The doctor is content to fight against the symptoms, and provide psychological support. The drugs will be analgesics and antispasmodics against the pains which can be violent, in particular in the belly. We add anxiolytics to fight against anxiety related to drug withdrawal and insomnia.
The substitute method. It is softer and more popular now. It concerns heroin substituted by methadone or buprenorphine. These drugs are dispensed under medical supervision in specialized centers. They are taken orally, and will avoid the physical symptoms of drug withdrawal, while avoiding the risk of contamination of injections with shared needles. The priority of this method is first of all the prevention of infectious diseases rather than the actual weaning. Many drug addicts remain on substitution for years.
This is the longest, because not everyone becomes a drug addict. It would seem that the origin is a psychological trauma that will have to be dealt with.
Likewise, the switch from hashish to hard drugs depends primarily on the personality of the smoker, and is not specifically related to the weed itself.
To help overcome this very difficult weaning milestone, supportive psychotherapy and very close follow-up in consultations are essential.
To this can be added any rewarding activity that encourages you to surpass yourself, to learn to know sensations other than artificial and increase self-confidence. This is a big job of behavioral renovation.
When the user decides to be accompanied by professionals, several choices are possible.
One is "residential" weaning, based on a stay of varying length (from one week to about three months) in a hospital or in a specialized health center.
The other is "outpatient" weaning, which is based on close medical consultations. The patient takes his treatment and resides in his usual environment.
Some hospitals are able to offer an intermediate modality called "day hospitalization". In all cases, a work stoppage is generally necessary.
The choice of one or the other of the modalities is made in consultation between the professional and the user. Several factors will be taken into consideration, such as the intensity and duration of the use, the user's physical and psychological vulnerability, the environment in which they operate. Whatever modality is chosen, patient compliance is an essential condition for success.
The modalities - residential or "outpatient" - share the same objective: to implement abstinence while limiting the patient's suffering. They use the same drug withdrawal treatments.
Regardless of the product, stopping consumption is generally accompanied by strong anxiety in the user. In order to limit these anxieties, drugs from the benzodiazepine class are most often prescribed. Other drugs are chosen based on the signs of drug withdrawal and vary depending on the product but also how the person feels.
In all cases, it is long-term individualized and comprehensive (medico-psycho-social) support that is most likely to bring well-being to people in difficulty with drug withdrawal.