Withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol make the addiction journey painful. Addiction affects millions of people and interferes with the individual’s everyday life. While the decision to take a drug was made freely, no one decides to develop an addiction. Addiction is a long and lonely journey, even for those on the road to recovery. Often addicts that want to quit can become hesitant due to the pain associated with withdrawal symptoms. Like most things in life, not every person experiences the same symptoms but regardless withdrawal symptoms universally are unpleasant.
In addition, we will discuss what happens during withdrawal, the common symptoms, and how to cope with symptoms. We can help your loved one find assistance for their symptoms, give us a call today at 912-214-3867.
All About Drug Withdrawal
If you or your loved one are battling addiction it is helpful to understand what they may go through in the withdrawal process. What exactly happens to the body during withdrawal? To put it simply, withdrawal is a grueling side effect of prolonged drug and alcohol use. Why is this? Simply put, excessive use of drugs and alcohol can have serious effects on the users’ brain.
The nature of addiction involves the idea that the brain rewires itself to reward negative behaviors, like alcohol or drug use. Once dependence forms, the body needs more of the substance to get the original pleasurable feeling. Due to this process, stopping a drug cold-turkey can have a variety of unpleasant effects.
Moreover, one thing to remember is that withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol are not universal. Just like addiction impacts everyone slightly differently, so does the halting of drug use. However, something that can be useful to every person suffering from addiction is the benefit of professional help.
While drug withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, having a professional in your corner can give you ease of mind. More so, professional help can teach you how to withdraw properly and may aid in the avoiding of some of these negative, more serious symptoms. Now, let us take a deeper dive into the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal to prepare for the process.
A Dive into Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
First, we need to take a look at a common category of drugs known as opioids. According to the National Institutes of Health, “opioids are drugs such as heroin, opium, morphine, codeine, and methadone. Opioid withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and difficult for the patient. It can feel like a very bad flu. However, opioid withdrawal is not usually life-threatening.”
Now, what else do you need to know about drug withdrawal symptoms? While the opioid withdrawal symptoms are not deadly, they can still be quite painful and you should deal with them cautiously. Try to think about withdrawal effects as a few phases the user goes through. So, let us explore what it is you can expect from the first to the final phase of drug withdrawal.
This first phase of withdrawal happens within 24 hours of drug use. According to VeryWellMind.com some of the symptoms you should expect for instance:
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Tearing eyes
- Excessive yawning
- Excessive sweating
These symptoms are relatively easy to cope with but they can intensify as time goes on. Let’s take a look at the next phase and what else you should expect during withdrawal from opiates.
This next phase includes more uncomfortable symptoms for example:
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Dilated pupils (and possibly blurred vision)
However, these are symptoms that will interfere greatly with the individual’s day to day life. While these symptoms are not life-threatening they can make it hard to function. Therefore, activities like driving more dangerous due to withdrawal. Fortunately, the discomfort does not last forever. The final phase of withdrawal is when your body begins to regulate. When there are no long-term issues, you will typically start to feel normal in a week’s time. Contact our experts today to start your new journey to recovery.
Alcohol Withdrawal: Do Not Detox Alone
Alcohol has an instant effect on the user and their behavior. Consuming alcohol impairs judgment and can lead to rapid effects like nausea or vomiting. When thinking about the pain, you may wonder why people still choose to drink. Some drink to handle stress, others drink to feel happy and energetic in situations like a party. Regardless, the numbing effect of alcohol can easily give way to addiction, and with that comes a powerful set of side effects.
Now, alcohol symptoms, like opiates, can range from mild to severe. A variety of factors like age and weight can impact how alcohol impacts the user. For instance, you may have worse withdrawal symptoms if you have an underlying medical condition. For instance, other common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Fast heart rate
You may notice these symptoms within 6-48 hours after your last drink. Mild symptoms like the ones listed should clear up in less than a week. Unfortunately for people dealing with persistent alcoholism, the symptoms can become much more severe.
1 out of every 20 drinkers dealing with alcohol withdrawal will suffer from the effects of severe alcohol withdrawal called Delirium Tremens (DT). Similar to normal alcohol withdrawal, symptoms of Delirium Tremens typically appear within the first 48 to 96 hours after that last drink. They can also occur anywhere from 7 to 10 days following alcohol consumption. However, when the withdrawal symptoms have progressed to this point the brain struggles to return to its normal chemistry. One Harvard article found that DT:
“Creates a state of temporary confusion and leads to dangerous changes in the way your brain regulates your circulation and breathing. The body’s vital signs such as your heart rate or blood pressure can change dramatically or unpredictably, creating a risk of heart attack, stroke or death.”
Symptoms related to DT are among some of the most severe you may face. Moreover, some symptoms may even last weeks. While normal alcohol withdrawal is common, DT is rare and deadly.
However, if you or someone you love is starting to drink in dangerous ways it is important to seek treatment. It is rare for people struggling with withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol to recover on their own. Remember that it is okay to ask for help and be open about how substance use is affecting you. Moreover, contact us today if you would like help getting a handle on your addiction. Our trained experts will be able to help you find the best treatment you need.
Managing Symptoms Safely
Now that you understand the risk and pain that comes with withdrawal, where should you go from here? The simplest way to avoid withdrawal is to avoid substance misuse in the first place. Already dealing with substance abuse? No worries, there are still measures you can take to cope with the different stages of withdrawal.
First, you want to make sure that you or your loved one stays away from anything that reminds them to use or drink. You will want to remove drugs or alcohol from the house and do your best to avoid situations that could trigger the urge to use. Next, the individual will want to find alternatives to help distract from the normal cravings. For instance, great alternatives include:
- Focusing on positive relationships
You will also want to be gentle with yourself and your body during withdrawal. Do your best to eat healthy foods and drink lots of water. Remember to be kind to yourself as well. Alcohol and drugs take a large toll on your mental state, try not to be upset about the recovery process. Withdrawal is one step on your healing journey and the pain will pass.
Let Others Support You
Next, it is best to remember that the most successful recovery includes a support system you can rely on. Often, people receive subconscious influences to misuse substances. Popular culture advertises the “fun” substances bring, but hides the painful risks. Imagine an alcohol advertisement featuring hallucination or vomiting, would drinking still look enticing? Now, substance misuse is not the fault of one particular person or industry but there are triggers everywhere.
Triggers are why it is so important to educate yourself and the people you love. When you understand the true effects of drugs and alcohol withdrawal you can find the appropriate resources to cope. When on the path to recovery, you are forming a new life and new habits. You also want to make sure the people you surround yourself with have lifestyles that match the one you are trying to create.
Ultimately, remember that it is okay to ask questions. Alcohol detox is nothing to be ashamed of. For example, if you are struggling on how to ask for support then consider the following:
- Tell your loved ones not to offer you drugs or alcohol
- Ask them not to drink or use around you
- Ask for words of support and for those around you to withhold criticism
- Communicate that you are not in a place to take on new demands right now
- Look into joining a professional support group
Furthermore, maintaining open dialogue and pursuing professional help are great forms of social support. Other people can help hold you accountable in ways you cannot do alone. You are likely to find far more success if you do not attempt to deal with the withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol alone.
Take Steps to Change Today
Finally, withdrawal can be scary. With a range of effects from simple to deadly, it is important to handle your recovery with care. If you are one of the millions of Americans struggling with addiction do not be afraid to seek professional care. The only real cure for addiction is treatment. Treatment will give you a safe place to go through withdrawal and eventually progress into full sobriety.
To summarize, addiction treatment also provides you with lasting support and your loved ones can learn how to best show up for you at this time. However, if you are ready to change or simply have more questions about the withdrawal process, do not hesitate to give us a call. We can find treatment to best suit yours or a loved one’s needs. Our experts are available at 912-214-3867, waiting for your call. Do not take a chance with your withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol.
By Meccah Muhammad
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