What Happens to Your Body During Drug Withdrawal?
Drug withdrawal refers to the symptoms your body feels when it is suddenly cut off from substances it has grown dependent on. When you are dependent, your body becomes used to functioning with that substance in regular intervals. When you cut off the supply, suddenly your body no longer knows how to react on its own. Understand that drug withdrawal is a process.
Drugs can alter the process neurotransmitters in your brain normally follow. This means that neurotransmitters are being interrupted and can’t connect with the brain normally when you use drugs. Repeated use of drugs can damage those neurotransmitters permanently. This can make it difficult for your brain to function at a normal level. When you suddenly stop giving your body drugs, the chemicals in your brain become even more unbalanced.
In this unusual state, your body is losing control. Your body gives you signs to show it is missing something it thinks it needs. The goal of withdrawal is to rid your body of a drug it has become dependent on so it can relearn how to function properly on its own. Of course, this is a difficult thing to do.
When your body is missing the drugs it has become used to, then it will give your body physical and mental alerts that something is wrong. Generally, a complete detox of a drug is safe enough to do at home. Withdrawal symptoms may be unpleasant but are easy to manage on your own or with the help of a loved one. In some cases, depending on the drug in question, withdrawal can be dangerous to do alone and you may require medical supervision.
Most Common Physical Drug Withdrawal Symptoms
For most drugs, there are some common physical withdrawal symptoms users will experience. Here are some symptoms you can expect with drug withdrawal:
- Muscle cramps
- Higher blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbances
These are just some of the common symptoms that affect most people when they are suffering from drug withdrawal. Generally, symptoms should improve in the first few days or weeks. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek emergency medical care at your local emergency room. While most of these symptoms are harmless and resolve on their own, they can be life-threatening in rare instances.
Physical symptoms can vary from person to person and can also depend on the level of dependency. Heavy drug users may experience more severe symptoms. For example, heavy drug users may experience shaking and sweating to a more serious degree. If your symptoms are improving, you’re on the right track. If your symptoms are causing you to dehydrate, be sure to drink plenty of fluids or head to the ER for help.
Most Common Mental Drug Withdrawal Symptoms
There are also several mental drug withdrawal symptoms that may affect you. Most common drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, can lead to these common withdrawal symptoms:
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Uncontrollable mood swings
These side effects can last longer than the withdrawal phase. Some mental health problems may linger for months after. If you suffered from mental health problems before your drug addiction problem began, then those feeling may continue even after your body has detoxed from the drugs.
Drug withdrawal symptoms that affect the mind can be worse in the first few days and should slowly begin to improve. You may need the help of a therapist to help you deal with the mix of emotions your body is experiencing during the withdrawal period. If you experience suicidal thoughts, be sure to seek immediate care. Do not wait if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts. This can be a devastating side effect without proper intervention.
How Long Does Drug Withdrawal Last?
Depending on the drug, drug withdrawal symptoms should last anywhere from three days to three weeks. The symptoms will start out more severe but should improve with each passing day. Though they can take weeks to subside completely, the drug withdrawal symptoms will not be completely unbearable the entire time your body is detoxing.
The effects of certain drugs may wear off in a few minutes but they live in the bloodstream for weeks or months. Until your body is completely free of drugs, you may continue to experience some discomfort. It is a good idea to form a support group and get help while you are undergoing drug withdrawal symptoms.
Exceptional Drug Withdrawal Symptoms
While most symptoms are very common, some can be exceptional. Some symptoms, like seizures and hallucinations, are quite rare. But they can happen to varying degrees depending on the user’s dependency. If someone has been heavily dependent on drugs for a long time, they may experience worse drug withdrawal symptoms. Each of the symptoms listed may be exceptionally severe.
But it’s important to understand that even though some people experience exceptional drug withdrawal symptoms, doesn’t mean you will, too. Drug withdrawal symptoms have a lot of variabilities. This means they can affect different people in different ways. Not everyone responds the same way to drug withdrawal.
The type of drug you are addicted to may also play a role. Opioids addiction may cause more severe symptoms than marijuana addiction. The drug withdrawal symptoms for different drug users will be different.
How to Detox from Drugs Safely
If you are considering detoxing from drugs, congratulations. You have taken the first step to live a healthier and happier life. Still, the thought of drug withdrawal symptoms can be scary. There is a safe way to detox from drugs. The first thing you can do is set up a support network, especially if you’re planning a home detox. You may choose friends or family members who can support you through your drug withdrawal.
Users who try to detox with a support system are much more likely to stay sober than those who go it alone. Having the proper support around you is key to achieving success. If you do not have anyone you can trust or rely on, you can seek help from a rehab center like Windward Way Recovery. We can support you through your withdrawal and help you manage symptoms, as well.
Not all drugs can be quit cold turkey either. In some cases, it may be safer to wean off the drug instead. To be sure you are on the right track, meet with a rehab specialist to ensure you follow the safest possible route to recovery.
While most drug withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, some can be. To make sure you are safe and more likely to succeed, consult for help. If you are planning to help a loved one detox, find out more information about the specifics of drug withdrawal with that drug and what is the best way to kick the habit. You can and should be your loved one’s guiding light to attain recovery successfully and safely.
How to Manage Drug Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are experiencing drug withdrawal symptoms, you should be prepared for withdrawal management. For example, make sure you drink ample fluids to prevent dehydration. You may also want to get some anti-nausea medications to deal with stomach troubles. Keep a list of emergency contact numbers handy so you can call out for help if you need it. Ideally, it would be very helpful to at least have someone check in on you.
Try to manage your symptoms by sticking to a very strict bedtime schedule. Getting proper sleep will help manage the symptoms better. If possible, you should also try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Even the tiniest bit of physical activity can help you manage your drug withdrawal symptoms and get over the hump. Exercise can boost endorphin production and help you control your mood and fight off high blood pressure or heart palpitations.
Try to maintain a healthy diet, too. Avoid caffeine, other substances and fatty or processed foods. Try to eat foods that will be easy to digest and fill your body with protein and nutrients while it recovers from drug withdrawal symptoms. A healthy diet, sleep schedule and active lifestyle can help you recover quicker from drug withdrawal symptoms.
If drug withdrawal symptoms have you unable to get out of bed, call someone for help. If you are experiencing seizures or hallucinations, you should not be alone overnight. Having a support system is a very helpful and important part of managing drug withdrawal symptoms. Physical and emotional support is an important element in surviving withdrawal and, of course, in staying sober afterward.
What If I Have Already Experienced Withdrawal But Relapsed?
If you have already gone through the withdrawal and then relapsed, you may be wondering how withdrawal can affect you a second or third time. Your body can adjust to drugs quickly and dependency can go right back to where it once was when you suffer a relapse. If you have relapsed and want to try to quit drugs again, you will experience the same drug withdrawal symptoms as you did before.
Because your tolerance to the drug builds up rather quickly, you are likely to face the same troubles with withdrawal. But keep in mind that withdrawal can vary greatly. It can vary from person to person and can even vary after a relapse. Overall, you can expect more or less of the same thing. Physical symptoms should improve in the first few days or the first week and emotional symptoms may take longer.
To improve your odds of a successful detox, be sure to seek rehab care and find a therapy treatment program to help you get and stay sober, even as you go through drug withdrawal.
How Do I Detox From Drugs?
If you want to detox from drugs, the first thing you need to do is consult with a healthcare professional. Your doctor, pharmacist, or even a rehab therapist can help you develop a drug detox plan that makes sense. You need to follow the right detox plan to ensure your own safety and to ensure you have lasting results. If you are afraid to seek help, know that your healthcare providers must keep your information private.
They are there to help you on your path to recovery. It may seem like a challenge, but you can do this. With you’re the right support system and the right medical advice to ensure a safe detox, you can begin your journey to recovery.
How Can I Help a Loved One Suffering Drug Withdrawal Symptoms?
If you are hoping to help a loved one who is suffering from substance abuse disorder, there is plenty you can do to help. It can be scary and sad to watch someone you love battle with drug addiction. You must first understand that the battle is bigger than them—it is bigger than most any one person. Drugs take hold of the person you knew and turn them into someone else. Start by learning about drug addiction.
If you want to be there to support a loved one suffering through drug withdrawal symptoms, the first thing you need to do is forgive them. You must forgive them for the mistakes they’ve made due to drug abuse and offer your compassion and love. Being there to listen to someone in their darkest hour can do more good than you may know.
You should also make an effort to live through the withdrawal with them from beginning to end. Help them stay hydrated, encourage them to work out with you or go for walks with you. Go to sleep when they go to sleep and help them maintain a healthy diet. Do not discuss their drug abuse problem while they are coming down. Instead, offer your love and support.
An important step to helping someone with drug withdrawal symptoms is to speak to a professional who can explain to you which symptoms are normal and which are not. They can advise you on how to go about providing care and what methods work best for kicking different drug habits.
Get informed and prepare yourself to offer your love and support as your loved one battles this disease. Together, you can find a path to recovery. Look for rehab programs that can help your loved one and help them find the inner strength to attend meetings, go to therapy and finally recover from substance abuse disorder.
How Do I Start Recovery?
If you are contemplating kicking your drug habit or helping a loved one kick theirs, call Windward Way Recovery today. You can explore the different therapy options that are available. Choose from group therapy, individual therapy, art therapy, or even nature therapy. In most cases, a combination of different therapy treatment programs will yield the best results. The key is finding the right therapy or combination of therapies for each individual.
Recovery is a long journey. Drug withdrawal symptoms are the beginning of the journey, but there is so much waiting for you in recovery: love, happiness, peace. Call Windward Way Recovery today to see how we can help. It doesn’t matter if you have relapsed once, twice, or five times. There is always an opportunity to finally get and stay sober.
If you or a loved one are battling substance abuse disorder, know that you are not alone. Millions of Americans find themselves fighting this disease every year. Millions of Americans are addicted to drugs or prescription medications and every year, millions find their path to recovery. This time, you can, too.