The longer an addictive substance is used, the more the body’s normal chemistry is suppressed. Eventually, natural reward messenger chemical production is almost completely shut down. As shown in Figure 3, feelings of panic result if the substance isn’t present.
Addiction withdrawal symptoms may include an extreme state of irritability, tension and anxiety. Attempts to “make do” without the addictive substance don’t register satisfaction in the brain’s reward system, as the addictive substance has suppressed the chemical messenger for satisfaction. The body then receives a panic signal, indicating that it’s in extreme distress.
Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
The severity and length of withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the amount of damage to the normal reward system. Common symptoms of withdrawal, which can last for several weeks, include:
- Loss of energy
- Need for sleep
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased appetite
With medical treatment, these symptoms can be handled and eliminated much more quickly.