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A. Drug Withdrawal: Not As Bad As You Think

Narrator: This is Science Today. Psychiatrist Marc Schuckit of the University of California, San Diego has written a book called Educating Yourself About Alcohol and Drugs. It's directed at people who think they or someone close to them might have a drug or alcohol problem. Schuckit says many people are scared of drug treatment programs because they're scared of withdrawal -- but those fears are exaggerated.

Schuckit: The vast majority of drugs do not cause a serious withdrawal syndrome or an abstinence syndrome when you stop.

Narrator: Only three classes of drugs cause withdrawal: stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine, opiates like codeine and heroin, and depressants like sleeping pills and alcohol. Schuckit says withdrawing from any of those drugs is not the nightmare portrayed in fiction.

Schuckit: So one of the things the book can teach you is don't be so fearful that if you go into treatment you're going to go into terrible withdrawal. Most people, A, are not taking drugs that cause withdrawal and B, if they are taking one of those three categories of drugs, the withdrawal is fairly mild and usually fairly easy to treat.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.