Withdrawal

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Psychiatry


Clinical Definition

Withdrawal is defined as the physical or psychological response to the sudden absence or reduction of a substance that can be addicting, such as alcohol, nicotine or drugs. Among the potential symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are depression and anxiety. A more severe form of alcohol withdrawal is known as delirium tremens or DTs.


In Our Own Words

Withdrawal from an addictive substance occurs after a person who has used the material for a prolonged period of time or has used a substance excessively stops or reduces its use. Symptoms can be different depending on which substance is being removed.

 

Withdrawal symptoms are seen after a person stops using excessive amounts of alcohol or opiate drugs (such as heroin, morphine, codeine and others), or ceases smoking cigarettes. A severe form of alcohol withdrawal (DTs) can result in seizures, agitation and hallucinations.

Relevant Conditions
Common Types
  • Alcohol
  • Opiate
  • Nicotine
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)
Side Effects
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sources
  • Harvard Medical School. "Medical Dictionary of Health Terms" 2013. http://www.health.harvard.edu. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • Cleveland Clinic. "Alcoholism." Disorders June 2009. http://my.clevelandclinic.org. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. "Opiate withdrawal." Medical Encyclopedia. May 2013. http://umm.edu. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. "Drug dependence." Medical Encyclopedia. May 2013. http://umm.edu. Accessed Aug. 2013.
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