While overcoming addiction is one of the most rewarding and beneficial things anyone can do, it’s also one of the most challenging. Unfortunately, overcoming addiction often comes with a second obstacle: withdrawal. Withdrawal occurs in the period shortly after you’ve stopped using drugs or alcohol. Though the symptoms can vary, withdrawal is still one of the most difficult periods in the recovery process. Thankfully, anyone can overcome the withdrawal stage with the right treatment, information, and help. Read on to find out more about the withdrawal process, its symptoms, and how to cope with withdrawal as easily as possible.
What Is Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal?
When you regularly abuse drugs and alcohol, your body adjusts its functions and brain chemistry to accommodate these harmful substances. For example, in the cases of alcohol addiction, the liver accumulates fat and scar tissue while the brain starts blocking alcohol-released neurochemicals to minimize intoxication—also known as “building a tolerance.” In other words, if your body is used to overcompensating for addiction, overcoming addiction will leave it to overcompensate with no substance to overcompensate for. As a result, your body will feel a little “confused” while it gradually returns to normal.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
Since every addictive substance has a different effect on brain chemistry and the body, everyone’s withdrawal process will be different. However, most people suffering from addiction will experience similar changes in brain chemistry, which often result in withdrawal symptoms such as:
Many people undergoing withdrawal experience depressive symptoms such as sadness, fatigue, and an overall lack of enthusiasm for life. While withdrawal-onset depression is often temporary, it can sometimes indicate a case of underlying chronic depression. Depression can be dangerous: If you or a loved one is having harmful or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Withdrawal can also cause severe mood swings: One moment you might feel depressed, and then feel extremely energetic the next, and angry and frustrated shortly thereafter. While mood swings are largely unavoidable during withdrawal, therapy, patience, and outside help can help make the process much easier.
Between depression, mood swings, and your body working overtime to return to normal, withdrawal often causes heavy fatigue. While fatigue is a natural part of the withdrawal process, various treatment methods such as rest, exercise, and a balanced diet can help restore your energy.
Anxiety and Nervousness
When you take drugs or alcohol to relax, your body slowly becomes dependent on those substances to relax and wind down. Once those “relaxing” substances are taken away, however, your body will naturally feel tenser than usual as it adjusts to back to normal.
Best Ways to Cope with Withdrawal
While there’s no easy way to get through withdrawal, learning how to cope with withdrawal can make the process much easier. Plus, many of these coping mechanisms can also become long-lasting healthy changes to your lifestyle.
Drug Detox Treatment Program
Drug detox treatment programs help your body flush out any lingering toxins and bad bacteria while replacing them with a bountiful supply of helpful nutrients and, in some cases, good bacteria. As a result, detox treatment helps your body recover from addiction faster and eases the withdrawal process.
Regular exercise is a great way to kick both your mood and metabolism into high gear. Plus, through exercise, you’ll improve your mood, correct imbalances in brain chemistry, and make your body better equipped to repair the physical damage caused by addiction.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Your body needs a massive amount of nutrients and energy during withdrawal, which can become problematic if addiction has caused the body to become malnourished. With a healthy diet, you’ll give your body the nutrients and energy it needs to make a full long-lasting recovery.
Rest and Relax
Give yourself some time off to rest and relax during the withdrawal process, and be sure to forgive yourself when you encounter setbacks. Meditation and therapy can also help.
Find Connections and Support
No matter your situation, you’re not alone: There are millions of people in recovery who’ve shared your experiences and want to help you make it through withdrawal. Contact your local rehabilitation program for more information.
Inpatient Drug Rehab
It’s difficult to go through withdrawal alone. Inpatient drug rehab is often the best way to cope with withdrawal, providing you with the resources to not only cope but also establish long-lasting healthy habits. For more information on Apex Recovery’s rehab programs, call our recovery team at 877-798-4404.