FEB 23, 2016 12:08 PM PST

The Science Behind Withdrawal Misery

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
3 9 2354

Addictive substances can be as dangerous as opioids or heroin, or as commonplace as alcohol or caffeine. Though the effects of these drugs are different, they all have the potential to cause addiction through triggering neurotransmitter release and altering how the brain functions. With regular exposure, the brain builds up a tolerance to these substances, which is partly why the body can react so violently if the substance is taken away in a flash.

Withdrawal syndrome is the body's response when a frequently-used drug is suddenly removed from the system. Symptoms of withdrawal can be very physical, manifesting as nausea, sweating, shaking, and even hallucinations. These unpleasant side effects can come within hours and can last for as long as months, making it extremely difficult to quit these substances, especially for opioids and other dangerous narcotics. Watch the video to learn how the brain's compensation system plays a big role in addiction and withdrawal.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 06, 2018
Videos
JUL 06, 2018
The Impact of Junk Food on the Brain
Researchers have found that junk food stimulates neurons in our brains that cause a sense of reward.
JUL 13, 2018
Technology
JUL 13, 2018
Watch: HEXA Robot Takes Care of Plants
This spider-like robot will shift your succulent plants into sunlight or shade.
JUL 17, 2018
Videos
JUL 17, 2018
Encouraging Progress on HIV Vaccine
In the quest to find a vaccine against HIV which causes AIDS, most attempts have failed. The HIV epidemic began about 35 years ago and in that time only fi
JUL 24, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 24, 2018
What is UV Photography?
Human eyes see visible light, whose wavelength ranges between 400 and 750 nanometers (nm). To visualize anything lower than 400 nm, one can resort
JUL 30, 2018
Videos
JUL 30, 2018
Is it Good to Open Your Windows During a Hurricane?
You might’ve heard the idea that opening your windows during a hurricane can reduce the stress on your home’s roof and walls as it’s bein
AUG 02, 2018
Videos
AUG 02, 2018
Which is More Damaging to Your Health, Alcohol or Weed?
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the federal government, making it a challenger for scientists to conduct further studies and gather stat
Loading Comments...