Habitual use of drugs or alcohol can alter the chemical composition of the brain and cause dependence to develop. During withdrawal from an addictive substance, the brain’s chemical functions and circuits react by trying to regulate themselves as the blood concentration of the addictive substance is reduced. That change triggers withdrawal symptoms. Completing detox leads to a full recovery from addiction in drug rehab. Let’s look at the fundamentals of how to overcome withdrawal symptoms.
Suddenly stopping the frequent use of opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and some other drug types can be extremely difficult and potentially life-threatening. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even life-threatening. In such cases, detoxification from a drug must be managed by medical professionals specially trained to help people through a safe process of withdrawal that minimizes symptoms.
Symptoms of Drug Withdrawal
Some drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms are alike for users of different types of substances and others vary depending on the specific type of addiction from which a person is withdrawing. Some of the common possible symptoms include:
|Vomiting||Sweating||Short-term memory problems||Weak muscles|
|Insomnia||Respiratory distress||Paranoia||Appetite changes|
|Depression||Cold, clammy skin||Delirium||Agitation|
|Irritability||Fever||Excitability||Irregular heart rate|
|Diarrhea||Pupils dilated||Watery eyes||Low or high blood pressure|
|Abdominal cramps||Severe cravings||Hallucinations||Seizures|
|Muscle aches||Restlessness||Cravings||Nasal discharge|
|Nightmares||Mental confusion||Suicidal thoughts||Shakiness|
|Tremors||Joint or back pain|
How Long do Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
The kinds, intensity, and time-length of withdrawal symptoms depend on the drug a person used, how it was used, the degree of dependence, and any co-occurring disorders involved. Estimates vary on the typical length of detox, depending on the range of drugs included in the estimate. The average period of detox appears to be from 5 to 10 days. Of course, many people with less severe dependency may complete withdrawal much sooner, with 3 to 5 days.
Essentials for Managing Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are undertaking detoxification from an opioid, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, or another type of addictive substance, having medical support can make all the difference. Knowing people are with you who can help you stay comfortable gives you the confidence to enter detox expecting to experience the least amount of discomfort possible. These are some of the important things your medical detox team will help you with:
Medications and Other Medical Support
Without proper medical assistance, detoxification can be dangerous or even fatal. Medications are often used to help manage intense cravings and other symptoms. Assisted detox provides 24-hour medical supervision, emotional support, and other help to keep clients going through detox safe and as comfortable as possible.
Staying Well Hydrated
Withdrawal often comes with dehydration. Drinking plenty of water enables proper healing of the body. Frequently, hunger or thirst is mistaken for cravings. Staying hydrated and nourished can help minimize those occurrences.
Eating Nutritious Foods
Drug or alcohol use depletes the body of the nutrients needed for health and physical functioning. Nutrient-rich foods help restore the health of the brain and body, and reduce cravings, anxiety, irritability, and depression. Taking nutritional supplements can further help replenish the body and improve the self-image.
Sleeping on a Regular Schedule
Enough sound sleep is essential to physical and mental health. Being well rested enables clearer thinking and better mood control. Withdrawal disrupts sleep. Helping regulate sleep amounts by setting up good sleeping habits can help.
Stretching and Breathing
Stretching stimulates blood circulation and relieves muscle tension and stress. Practicing breathing techniques helps people improve mental clarity and focus, and even increases blood flow.
Talking with counselors, loved ones, and friends can be a very relieving form of treatment offered at Arizona rehabs at times during the detox process. It can help to avoid internalizing difficult emotions and thoughts, and it promotes relaxation during detox.
Additional Ways to Make Detox Smoother
- Relaxation Techniques: Regulating breathing and slowing down racing thoughts help many people reduce stress, anxiety, and negative feelings.
- Meditation: Meditation is viewed as alternative medicine. Harvard Health has published opinions that it can help reduce blood pressure and relieve pain.
- Therapeutic Massage: Massage therapy has been shown to have positive effects in managing some symptoms during detox.
- A Little Light Exercise: For some people, exercise during detox may help release endorphins, relieve stress, and enhance mental stability during detox.
- Participating in a Support Group: Some clients may benefit from the support and tips from people who are farther along in their own recovery.
Detox is the first step toward recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD). When withdrawal is managed well, people have a strong start going into their rehab program and an increased potential for long-term recovery. Addiction treatment builds on the healthy habits individuals start practicing in detox. Clients can then begin a highly satisfying journey toward full recovery through rehab therapy after detox.
Next Steps…Renaissance Recovery Center
Renaissance’s outpatient drug rehab center focuses on overcoming the underlying causes of substance addiction. We use customized therapeutic care solutions for each client’s particular needs. Our outpatient rehab team consists of MDs, addiction recovery specialists, and other SUD treatment professionals.