One of the hardest parts of drug addiction recovery is the initial detox period. When someone decides to get clean, this will be the beginning of the long journey to recovery. Depending on the drug used and the individual’s physiology, the period of withdrawals can last anywhere from a few days to a few months.
It’s extremely important to know how to deal with withdrawals because some people going through withdrawals often experience such painful symptoms that they are at risk of relapse. They would do anything to stop the pain.
Why Do People Get Withdrawals?
Withdrawals occur after someone has stopped taking a drug that they were dependent on. The body has to adjust to the absence of the drug by doing whatever it can to rid itself of all the toxins. They can be painful and difficult to endure, so preparing yourself on how to handle withdrawals beforehand will be very helpful.
It’s important to acknowledge that everybody is different. An individual’s physiology (their weight, age, genetics) combined with their substance abuse patterns (what drugs were taken and to what extent) will result in different withdrawal periods and the severity of it every time. However, there are still universal symptoms to identify all of the detox and withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
When planning how to cope with withdrawal, be aware that there will be both physical and psychological symptoms.
Physical symptoms of drug withdrawal include:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Shakiness and tremors
- Hot flashes
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Difficulty breathing
Psychological symptoms include:
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Anxiety and depression
- Panic attacks
Some withdrawal periods only last a few days, but for drugs like Benzodiazepine, the withdrawal period could last for more than a year. Even after the physical symptoms have subsided, it’s likely that the psychological symptoms will prevail. That’s why it is important to know how to deal with withdrawal because it’s hard to say for sure how long they will last.
Certain drugs also have more intense withdrawals than others. Withdrawal from opiates, alcohol, and tranquilizers can lead to strokes, seizures, or heart attacks. However, alcohol withdrawals are among the most severe. If an addict stops drinking alcohol abruptly, they could experience hallucinations, seizures, or even death. The symptoms may even start as little as six hours after the last drink.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that the cravings for the drug will continue even after the withdrawals ended. Some triggers for withdrawals would be being exposed to the drug, seeing old friends you used to use it with and seeing others using the drug.
If you have the ability to utilize professional help at the beginning of your recovery, we recommend specific programs for detox or long-term recovery. If you don’t have professional help at your disposal, there are a few important things to remember when anticipating how to handle withdrawals.
How To Cope With Withdrawal
In general, it’s a good idea to prepare for your withdrawal. Know what to expect, as far as physical symptoms are concerned, and try to stay away from known triggers. Also, try to find out how long the symptoms of withdrawal from that specific drug typically last. Do this when you are first planning how to deal with withdrawals.
As far as coping mechanisms go, there are many that will help all symptoms of withdrawal, but specific measures can be taken for more concentrated areas of pain. For example, taking a hot bath with Epsom salt will help with insomnia and achy muscles, listening to music could help with anxiety, and meditation would help someone maintain a focused mind. Some people even prepare a special box to keep handy, which contains candles, books, and other forms of distraction.
Movies and music can help take your mind off of the pain. Comedies, especially, would be a good idea because the actual act of laughing can strengthen the immune system, as it stimulates the production of antibodies. That’s why many people say that laughter is the best medicine.
Finding support through friends and family could ease the transition and make the emotional and mental pain easier to endure. Just knowing that people who care are there for support and motivation if it is needed is comforting.
A useful skill to learn when anticipating how to cope with withdrawal is self-soothing. Meditation, exercise, and a well-deserved nap are all thing that you can do on your own to calm you down and make time go a little faster. Holistic coping mechanisms such as hypnotherapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture, can also be beneficial. Even giving yourself a pep talk could give you the motivation to move past the cravings.
Above all, remember that experiencing withdrawals does not make someone weak and that this feeling won’t last forever. These bad feelings will slip away and only get easier. Addiction is a disease and it is normal for someone to need time to recover. Try to be optimistic about recovery because there’s a certain victory that comes with it. Whether it takes six months or two years, the feeling of freedom and control over your own life is incredible.
If you or someone you know is need of drug addiction treatment, please do not hesitate to contact Treatment Centers XL today.