Which Drug Withdrawals Can Kill You? Eveyrthing You Need To Know (2023)

It’s no secret that detoxing from drugs or alcohol isn’t a pleasant endeavor. There is also no doubt that detoxing can be dangerous and sometimes even fatal. However, in the spectrum of which drugs will kill you and when, there are some that are more deadly in the using, and there are others that are more deadly in the stopping.

This is the most common reason as to why most people choose to continue using. People who have struggled with addiction and have tried to stop using on their own have usually found the pain and uncomfortability lead them back to a relapse every time. For those people who have tried to stop on their own in the past, and have failed due to the painful side effects of detoxing, they can start to feel like they will never have hope to stop using.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. If you know you are addicted to a substance that is deadly to detox from, it doesn’t mean that you will never be able to get off of that drug. No person is doomed to live out the rest of their lives, controlled by a substance with no hope. There IS a safe way to detox from these substances when you are ready to do so.

The important thing to clarify here is just WHAT drugs are fatal to withdraw from, and which ones require a drug detox center.


Nowadays, they are more commonly known by the nickname “benzos” or “pharmacies”. These drugs lie in a class of prescriptions that get the job done by being depressants on the central nervous system. They can create a sedative, relaxed, tranquil, and even hypnotic state. These drugs work on the GABA receptors in the brain, which, on its own, releases a natural calming and sedative effect.

Usually, they are prescribed by medical doctors or psychiatrists to treat a range of mental conditions and disorders including insomnia, panic, anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, and they have even been known help treat withdrawal symptoms from alcohol. This is because many of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms are the ones listed above.

Over the last few decades, rates of anxiety, panic, insomnia, and overall stress have been at an all-time high, so the prevalence of these drugs have risen with it. Although antidepressants are not a new thing, benzodiazepine medications have become one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States. The most common of these medications are:

  • Valium (Diazepam)
  • Ativan (Lorazepam)
  • Klonopin (Clonazepam)
  • Xanax (Alprazolam)
  • Restoril (Temazepam)

When these drugs are taken AS PRESCRIBED, and without a combination of other drugs that are not prescribed or when drinking alcohol, these medications have been known to be relatively “safe”.

It is when people use them more than prescribed, or when they use them as a party drug, or even when they use them to ease the effects of detoxing from other drugs, that they begin to become an issue. These drugs are considered to be extremely addictive (so “safe” being a relative word) and many people who start taking the medications find that they either fear the withdrawal effect of coming off of them or that they don’t want to live without them.

The Rise of Benzo Addiction

Right along with the rise of the opioid addiction, the benzodiazepine addiction rates have been rising as well. Not only that, but record numbers of people misusing and even accidentally overdosing on their benzodiazepine medications have increased as well.

  • According to SAMHSA, the number of ER visits that were benzo related increased by 150% between 2004 and 2011
  • By a study released in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice, between 2003 and 2009, the number of overdose deaths that were Xanax related increased by 233.8%
  • In 2011 – the Drug Enforcement Agency released data showing the number of Benzodiazepine prescriptions in the United States with:
    • Alprazolam (Xanax): 49 million prescriptions
    • Lorazepam (Ativan): 27.6 million prescriptions
    • Clonazepam (Klonopin): 26.9 million prescriptions
    • Diazepam (Valium): 15 million prescriptions
    • Temazepam (Restoril): 8.5 million prescriptions

Record highs of benzo prescriptions have been occurring for the last two decades, and a large part of it could be the ever-increasing economic and social demands in the country, as well as a rise in social media.

Which Drug Withdrawals Can Kill You? Eveyrthing You Need To Know (1)

The Benzo Withdrawal Process

If you know that you need to start thinking about getting off of your benzo prescription or habit, it’s is important to be aware that this process can actually be fatal. For people who occasionally pop a pill at a party on weekends, it won’t be so bad, but for those who take the drug daily, even multiple times a day, the process can be much more dangerous. Seeking out a medical detox is absolutely vital.

Just like with any other drug, long-term and frequent use of this medication will result in addiction much faster. This means that the detox process should DEFINITELY take place in a professional medical detox setting. The reason for this is that a sudden stop in using the drugs can actually send the body into shock.

Again, as with any other drug, the severity of the detox process will depend on many factors. Primarily, these include the frequency and amount used, other substances or medications at play, the person’s age and overall health, and the person’s mental state.

The two most dangerous withdrawal symptoms are psychosis and seizures. Other common symptoms of benzo withdrawal are:

  • Anxiety, Panic
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea
  • Tremors, muscle pains, stiffness
  • Headaches and Poor Concentration
  • Heart Palpitations and high blood pressure

Another dangerous side effect that comes from the withdrawal process is what is known as a “Rebound Effect”. This pretty much means that all of the symptoms that the medication was used or intended to treat can come back tenfold, as in anxiety, insomnia, seizures, etc. So if a person with severe anxiety went onto a benzo medication to eradicate these issues, suddenly stopping their prescription could result in a huge rebound of these mental states and lead to severe panic, inability to sleep, and even heart attack.

. It is absolutely crucial that a person intending to detox from their Benzodiazepine medication or habit chooses to do so in a medical detox setting.


Whether you are a weekend warrior or a daily drinker, the short-term side effects of a night of overdoing it are well known. That hangover feeling, nausea, the headache, the stomach cramps, we are all familiar with what that feels like.

However, for the alcoholic, who has been drinking excessive amounts at a frequent rate, the withdrawal process from alcohol can actually lead to death if not managed and treated properly.

For many, an addiction develops the same way it would with any other substance. Usage is increased, a tolerance is developed, and then a physical dependency occurs. This physical dependency can lead to malnourishment, anxiety, paranoia, aggression, and even permanent brain damage.

Alcohol use disorder has been occurring for thousands of years, however, we are just now getting into a period of human history where we are able to fully treat it. The withdrawal symptoms have always been the same, but for those who do not detox in a medical setting, these symptoms can really lead to death.

Those withdrawal symptoms can vary from intensity to each person, depending on the frequency, amount, and length of time spent drinking, but they generally include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors and muscle spasms
  • Nausea, migraines, and fatigue
  • Confusion and agitation
  • Seizures and Hallucinations

The more dangerous end of the detoxification spectrum from alcohol can look like:

  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Seizures
  • Lung Failure
  • Liver Failure

The Overall Benefits of Detox

It is absolutely vital that people taking either of these drugs regular seek medical detoxification when they aim to stop using. A medical detox process is MOST beneficial in that it helps the user prevent going back for a relapse to avoid the pain of withdrawal.

After that, detox is beneficial because there is medical staff on hand, 24/7 to ensure that the individual is remaining in a healthy state by providing nutrition, vital checks, and any medications that can help ease the uncomfortability that comes from detoxing.

This staff consists of highly trained professionals who are able to tune in to the side effects and symptoms that come from detoxing from not just all drugs, but especially alcohol and benzodiazepines. These staff members will ensure that you have the comforts you require, as well as medical care to bring you back to health.

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What is withdrawal syndrome to drug use also known as? ›

Withdrawal syndrome, also known as discontinuation syndrome, occurs in individuals who have developed physiological dependence on a substance and who discontinue or reduce their use of it.

What are rare withdrawal symptoms? ›

In rare cases, severe symptoms of withdrawal (called delirium tremens, or DTs) can occur. Symptoms of delirium tremens may include seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations), confusion and irritability, severe trembling, and seizures.

What medication is best for withdrawal? ›

Buprenorphine is the best opioid medication for management of moderate to severe opioid withdrawal. It alleviates withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings.

What are 4 of the withdrawal symptoms? ›

Symptoms can include:
  • not being able to sleep.
  • irritability.
  • changing moods.
  • depression.
  • anxiety.
  • aches and pains.
  • cravings.
  • tiredness.

What is the most severe form of withdrawal syndrome? ›

Delirium tremens is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal, and its hallmark is that of an altered sensorium with significant autonomic dysfunction and vital sign abnormalities. It includes visual hallucinations, tachycardia, hypertension, hyperthermia, agitation, and diaphoresis.

What are the different types of withdrawal? ›

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are two types of withdrawal: acute withdrawal and protracted withdrawal.

When are withdrawal symptoms the strongest? ›

They are usually worst during the first week after quitting, peaking during the first 3 days. From that point on, the intensity of symptoms usually drops over the first month. However, everyone is different, and some people have withdrawal symptoms for several months after quitting (3, 4).

What is abnormal withdrawal? ›

Withdrawal symptoms: Abnormal physical or psychological features that follow the abrupt discontinuation of a drug that has the capability of producing physical dependence. In example, common opiates withdrawal symptoms include sweating, goosebumps, vomiting, anxiety, insomnia, and muscle pain.

What are three things that can help with withdrawal symptoms? ›

Here are 10 ways to get through your withdrawal symptoms with a minimal amount of discomfort:
  • Attend a medical detox program. ...
  • Exercise regularly. ...
  • Eat balanced and nutritious meals. ...
  • Stay hydrated. ...
  • Stick to a structured sleep schedule. ...
  • Join a support group.
May 19, 2023

What medications should not be stopped abruptly? ›

Below, we'll talk about 10 medications that may lead to serious problems if stopped abruptly.
  • Clonidine (Catapres, Catapres-TTS) ...
  • Propranolol (Inderal) and other blood pressure medications. ...
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor, Effexor XR) ...
  • Paroxetine (Paxil) ...
  • Benzodiazepines. ...
  • Topiramate (Topamax) ...
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
Apr 21, 2022

How long does a withdrawal episode last? ›

The duration of physical withdrawal is typically three to five days; however, emotional withdrawal can be much longer. Some symptoms can be present for many months. Withdrawal symptoms can range widely and include depression, anxiety, anorexia, insomnia, and even suicidal thoughts or death.

What drugs have multiple uses? ›

Some popular medications that have multiple uses based on dosage include sildenafil (Viagra, Revatio), bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), and semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy). It's important to take your medications as prescribed or instructed — especially at your recommended dosage. This helps you get the most out of them.

How long does a withdrawal take? ›

The precise duration of withdrawal is influenced by which substance someone used as well as the magnitude of their dependence on the substance. It may take days, weeks, and—in some cases—months to reach complete resolution of all withdrawal symptoms, depending on various factors and individual differences.

What does major withdrawal symptoms mean? ›

A term used to describe the physical and mental symptoms that a person has when they suddenly stop or cut back the use of an addictive substance, such as opiates and opioids, nicotine products, or alcohol.

How long does detox flu last? ›

Typically, the uncomfortable symptoms of detoxing pass within a few days to a week, but there's no need to suffer one second longer than necessary.

What is the most serious withdrawal symptom associated with alcoholism? ›

The most severe manifestations of withdrawal include delirium tremens, hallucinations, and seizures. These manifestations result from alcohol-induced imbalances in the brain chemistry that cause excessive neuronal activity if the alcohol is withheld.

What are the risk factors for severe complicated withdrawal? ›

(3) The main risk factors for severe withdrawal syndrome are: chronic heavy drinking; a history of generalised seizures; and a history of delirium tremens. (4) Anxiety, agitation, tremor, excessive sweating, altered consciousness and hallucinations are signs of a severe withdrawal syndrome.

What is the mortality rate for delirium tremens? ›

It is now commonly known to occur as early as 48 hours after abrupt cessation of alcohol in those with chronic abuse and can last up to 5 days. It has an anticipated mortality of up to 37% without appropriate treatment. It is crucial to identify early signs of withdrawal because it can become fatal.

What is an example of permanent withdrawal? ›

Permanent withdrawal means leaving the University for good, which you may decide to do for various reasons. For example, transferring to a different university, to seek employment, or even for financial, personal or medical reasons.

What is considered a large withdrawal? ›

Thanks to the Bank Secrecy Act, financial institutions are required to report withdrawals of $10,000 or more to the federal government. Banks are also trained to look for customers who may be trying to skirt the $10,000 threshold. For example, a withdrawal of $9,999 is also suspicious.

What is the 4 safe withdrawal rule? ›

The 4% rule is a popular retirement withdrawal strategy that suggests retirees can safely withdraw the amount equal to 4 percent of their savings during the year they retire and then adjust for inflation each subsequent year for 30 years.

Is withdrawal worse than failing? ›

Is it better to withdraw from a class or fail the class in college? According to Croskey, it is usually better to withdraw from a class. Exceptions may result for students with many withdrawals already if they can create a productive plan to retake the course after failing.

What are the symptoms of extended withdrawal? ›

Common symptoms include anxiety, hostility, irritability, depression, mood changes, fatigue, insomnia, problems concentrating and thinking, decreased sex drive, and unexplained physical pain.

What does it feel like when you go through withdrawal? ›

A person may experience body aches, feel hot or extremely cold, and also experience stomach pains along with nausea and vomiting. Withdrawal can also cause a person to feel extremely fatigued and exhausted. It can be hard to do simple tasks or even just rest. Withdrawal can come with mental symptoms as well.

What is the 5 withdrawal rule? ›

The sustainable withdrawal rate is the estimated percentage of savings you're able to withdraw each year throughout retirement without running out of money. As an estimate, aim to withdraw no more than 4% to 5% of your savings in the first year of retirement, then adjust that amount every year for inflation.

How does withdrawal fail? ›

The number one reason why the pull out method fails is because the penis isn't pulled out before ejaculation (cumming). Many people plan on pulling out, and end up forgetting or changing their minds in the heat of the moment.

What does withdrawal do to the brain? ›

In Summary: The Withdrawal/Negative Affect Stage and the Extended Amygdala. This stage of addiction involves a decrease in the function of the brain reward systems and an activation of stress neurotransmitters, such as CRF and dynorphin, in the extended amygdala.

What wellness drink is like opioids? ›

Highlights. “Kratom” commonly refers to an herbal substance that can produce opioid- and stimulant-like effects.

What is an over the counter cash withdrawal? ›

How do I get cash from a bank? Present the Serve® Pay As You Go Visa® Prepaid Card to a teller at a Visa member bank location and request the amount of cash you'd like to receive. This is known as an over-the-counter (OTC) cash withdrawal.

What is a psychological withdrawal? ›

Psychological withdrawal includes the psychological effects of ceasing to use an addictive substance, and it can also occur when someone quits a habit such as compulsive shopping or gambling.

What happens when you suddenly stop taking a drug? ›

This could include intense cravings, nausea, muscle pain, fever and/or chills, tremors, vivid dreams, flu-like symptoms, sweating and heart palpitations. You may also experience psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as violent mood swings, anxiety and depression.

What happens when a person abruptly stops taking a drug? ›

If you abruptly stop or decrease your intake of the substance, your body is once again thrown off balance and symptoms of withdrawal may result. Such symptoms are often both physical and mental, and can potentially be dangerous depending on the type of drug.

What does a drug zenith mean? ›

Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics: Azithromycin monohydrate (Zenith) is an azalide, derived from the macrolide class of antibiotics. The mode of action of Azithromycin monohydrate (Zenith)is inhibition of protein synthesis in bacteria by binding to the 50s ribosomal subunit and preventing translocation of peptides.

Does withdrawal cause psychosis? ›

Psychosis can also appear during withdrawal in any individual who has suffered from a long-term addiction to many substances that significantly affect brain chemistry. This includes many amphetamines, opiates, and inhalants.

What does dopamine withdrawal feel like? ›

Symptoms include panic attacks, depression, diaphoresis, agitation, fatigue, pain, drug cravings, nausea and orthostatic hypotension [10]. This condition can affect as much as 19% of patients who taper or suspend the medication. Up to 50% will experience symptoms of withdrawal chronically (months or years).

How long does faster withdrawal take? ›

Faster Payments are... fast. Payments usually arrive in the recipient's bank account instantly, or within a couple of minutes. Sometimes Faster Payments can take up to two hours to arrive, but this is uncommon.

What are the three names that most drugs have? ›

There are three main types of names used for pharmaceutical substances: the chemical name, the International Nonproprietary Name (INN) also known as the approved or generic name, and the proprietary or brand name.

What are 10 commonly used drugs? ›

Commonly Used Drugs Charts
  • Alcohol.
  • Ayahuasca.
  • Cannabis (Marijuana/Pot/Weed)
  • Central Nervous System Depressants (Benzos)
  • Cocaine (Coke/Crack)
  • GHB.
  • Hallucinogens.
  • Heroin.
Aug 20, 2020

How many drugs is too many drugs? ›

Taking more than five medications is called polypharmacy. The risk of harmful effects, drug interactions and hospitalizations increase when you take more medications.

Why do people withdraw? ›

A person who is socially withdrawn removes themselves from encounters and interactions with others. There are many reasons why people may choose not to connect with others, including anxiety, fear, shame, vulnerability, potential rejection, and more. It can be a reflection of an underlying mental health condition.

Is a withdrawal taking away? ›

A withdrawal involves removing funds from a bank account, savings plan, pension, or trust.

How long does bamboo withdrawal take? ›

Withdrawals via Mobile Money take 2-3 Business Days. The withdrawn amount will be credited into the Mobile Money account you provided when you registered on Bamboo.

What is one of the first signs of withdrawal? ›

Early symptoms of withdrawal include: Agitation. Anxiety. Muscle aches.

What are two examples of withdrawal symptoms for someone who abruptly stops taking opioids? ›

What are opioid withdrawal symptoms?
  • watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing.
  • yawning and disturbed sleep.
  • hot and cold flushes, sweating and 'goosebumps'
  • feeling anxious or irritable.
  • cravings for opioids.
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and a lack of appetite.
  • tremor (shaking)

Do you pee a lot when detoxing? ›

This pushes out all of the toxins from your kidneys through your bladder through your urinary tract, emptying them. 2. Second, your body does this eradication process faster because the detox drink is loaded with diuretics. This makes you urinate more frequently.

Do you get sick when your body is detoxing? ›

Be aware that as toxins are released, your symptoms may worsen for a short time or you may experience some adverse reactions such as headaches, flu or cold-type symptoms, rashes, skin eruptions or diarrhea. Such reactions are known as the Herxheimer Reaction. Hang in there. Symptoms should pass rather quickly.

What is the classification of withdrawal syndrome? ›

Stages of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) may be classified as uncomplicated withdrawal (first 6 hours), alcohol hallucinosis (8-12 hours), alcohol withdrawal seizures (12-24 hours), and alcohol withdrawal delirium (24-72 hours).

What is an example of withdrawal syndrome? ›

People may recognize symptoms of withdrawal when they stop taking or cut back on a substance. Missing your usual morning cup of coffee, for example, might result in symptoms of caffeine withdrawal such as fatigue, headache, and irritability. Symptoms of withdrawal are an indication of dependence on a substance.

What is the syndrome of drug dependence? ›

Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person's brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medicine. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana and nicotine also are considered drugs.

What is PAWS in medical terms? ›

While acute withdrawal refers primarily to the body's process of healing, a second phase of withdrawal symptoms, known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS, occurs as the brain recalibrates after active addiction.

Does benzo withdrawal cause autonomic dysfunction? ›

Use of sedatives like barbiturates and benzodiazepines can also produce withdrawal responses that resemble alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Autonomic and psychomotor dysfunction often characterize the withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms tend to develop 2 to 10 days after discontinuation of the agent.

What is excessive withdrawal? ›

More Definitions of Excess Withdrawal

Excess Withdrawal is a withdrawal of Account Value that exceeds the Free Withdrawal Amount. This term may not apply to your Contract. Sample 1Sample 2Sample 3. Based on 16 documents. 16.

What are dopamine withdrawal symptoms? ›

Symptoms include panic attacks, depression, diaphoresis, agitation, fatigue, pain, drug cravings, nausea and orthostatic hypotension [10]. This condition can affect as much as 19% of patients who taper or suspend the medication. Up to 50% will experience symptoms of withdrawal chronically (months or years).

How long does benzo PAWS last? ›

There have been reports of benzodiazepine abusers experiencing symptoms of PAWS for years after final cessation of the abuse. Treatment is generally administered over an extended period of time because the symptoms of PAWS can continue for months or years.

Which of the following drug has the highest potential for physical dependence? ›

Opioids. Opioids, such as codeine, are drugs that a doctor may prescribe to treat pain. Although these are effective for pain relief, they have a high risk of causing physical dependence if a person uses them for longer than prescribed.

Which drugs cause physical dependence? ›

Physical dependence can develop from low-dose therapeutic use of certain medications such as benzodiazepines, opioids, antiepileptics and antidepressants, as well as the recreational misuse of drugs such as alcohol, opioids and benzodiazepines.

What is anosognosia in addiction? ›

Anosognosia and Substance Use

Anosognosia typically refers to the denial of a mental or physical health condition, but people who struggle with addiction often exhibit similar tendencies.

What does paws mean benzo? ›

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) was a phrase first used more than 20 years ago to describe a phenomenon of relatively milder, but persistently troublesome withdrawal symptoms that lingered in some individuals who had discontinued benzodiazepine therapy.

What does it mean to paw someone? ›

: to feel or touch someone or something clumsily, rudely, or sexually.

What does paw mean in texting? ›

Summary of Key Points. "Parents are watching" is the most common definition for PAW on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. PAW. Definition: Parents are watching.


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