Alcohol or drug withdrawal

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Withdrawal is the uncomfortable physical or mental changes that happen when a person who regularly uses alcohol or drugs suddenly stops or cuts down on their use. These changes occur because the body is deprived of the alcohol or drugs that it is used to getting.

The symptoms of withdrawal can last a couple of days up to a couple of weeks. They may include nausea or vomiting, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety. How bad withdrawal symptoms are depends on how long the person has used alcohol or drugs and how much they use each day.

Alcohol or drug withdrawal may require medical care. Severe withdrawal symptoms can be deadly.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.