What is the withdrawal definition as it relates to addiction? Knowing what withdrawal means and how it will affect you gives you a good idea of what to expect when you stop abusing drugs and alcohol. Moreover, if you’re like other people who are suffering from addiction, you want to quit using. However, you also have some anxiety about what happens when you stop. Crest View Recovery Center in Asheville, NC would like to walk you through the various withdrawal symptoms.
Exactly What Is the Withdrawal Definition?
The withdrawal definition refers to what happens to your body — physically and psychologically — when you stop using a substance you’ve grown dependent on. Specifically, the symptoms you’ll experience range from mild to severe.
The more you abuse a drug, the higher your tolerance grows. Over time, you must take more of it to feel the same effects. In fact, this is how addiction takes hold.
When you stop taking an addictive substance through detox, your body reacts to its absence. The longer you’ve abused drugs and alcohol, the more intense your withdrawal symptoms will be.
For example, common symptoms include:
- Body aches
Detox isn’t the most pleasant experience, but it’s very necessary if you want to get well. However, the good news is the most uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms rarely last longer than a few days. After a week or so, you’ll feel better.
Be aware that long-term and heavy substance abuse often lead to some symptoms lasting weeks or even months. Therefore, this is why receiving professional rehab treatment is so important.
Why is Withdrawal Dangerous?
Those who are unfamiliar with the process of withdrawal often do not realize how dangerous the process can be. During active addiction, drugs and alcohol cause damage to your body, particularly the heart. While experiencing withdrawal, your heart begins to work even harder because it’s trying to regain homeostasis. On top of this, certain substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines can lead to withdrawals that can be potentially lethal.
With a weakened heart and without the help of substance abuse treatment programs, you may experience heart failure. Aside from heart failure, the neurotransmitters in your brain are misfiring. This causes many of the withdrawal symptoms that you experience when you get clean. More importantly, misfiring neurotransmitters can lead to you having an unexpected seizure.
Withdrawing From Specific Drugs and Substances
Again, the withdrawal symptoms people experience will vary depending on different factors. Withdrawal symptoms vary based on:
- Type of substance
- Length of use
- Severity of addiction
- Co-occurring disorders
It’s important to keep this in mind when thinking about withdrawal and how it may affect a person. One critical item on the list of differentiating factors is the type of substance. A person who is using cocaine may experience different withdrawal symptoms than someone who is abusing alcohol.
Withdrawing From Cocaine Use
When a person uses cocaine for a while, the drug affects his or her brain and body in very serious and life-altering ways. After an individual uses this powerful substance continuously, he or she will eventually develop a high tolerance for the drug. As a result, the person will continue to use the drug and, at some point, become addicted to it.
Hopefully, the individual will reach out for help in order to end cocaine abuse in his or her life. But, when people stop using cocaine for even a short amount of time, they experience uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Some of the most common cocaine withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Suicidal thoughts
- General discomfort
- An increase in appetite
- Nightmares and bad dreams
- Intense cravings for cocaine use
Sometimes, individuals who are withdrawing from cocaine may experience a slowing of activity. They may struggle to move quickly. Many individuals in withdrawal from cocaine become fearful, suspicious, and entirely uncomfortable.
Withdrawing from Opiate or Opioid Abuse
Unfortunately, many people find themselves struggling with opiate or opioid abuse. Drugs in these categories include heroin, codeine, Oxycontin, Percocet, morphine, and more. It can be difficult to stop abusing these substances once tolerance and addiction develop. However, individuals can certainly take a step toward recovery by ending the use of these substances. It is important, though, to be aware of the effects of this decision.
While abstaining from opioid and opiate use is the healthy choice for those who want to end addiction in their lives, withdrawal symptoms may occur. These symptoms might include:
- Runny nose
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle aches and pains
- Sleep problems (i.e. insomnia)
- Stomach pain and cramps
Although these withdrawal symptoms are not exactly dangerous or life-threatening, they can certainly be uncomfortable and difficult to manage.
Ending Alcoholism: About Withdrawal
Alcohol is a legal substance and many people consume it occasionally, while some use it regularly. However, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is sadly common in the United States of America. Many individuals find themselves suffering from alcohol abuse, also known as alcoholism, every year.
When a person who suffers from AUD chooses to end alcohol use, he or she may experience very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Some of them might be:
- Clammy skin
- Lack of appetite
- Feelings of nervousness
- Sleep problems (i.e. insomnia)
It’s also common for people in alcohol withdrawal to be irritable and easily agitated. Some individuals suffer from nightmares while in withdrawal. Fatigue and jumpiness are also common symptoms of withdrawal.
In some severe cases of alcohol withdrawal, individuals may suffer from fever, seizures, and confusion. Hallucinations may also occur.
Withdrawing From Meth Use
Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a very powerful drug. It’s a stimulant, which means it affects the central nervous system (CNS) of the person who uses it. Stimulant drugs often cause individuals to become alert, talkative, nervous, and energized. So, when a person uses meth, he or she feels many of these symptoms as well as euphoria.
When people stop using meth, they suffer from serious and difficult withdrawal symptoms. Some of the symptoms a person may feel when withdrawing from methamphetamine use might include the following:
Sometimes, individuals who stop using meth after a period of continued use suffer from hallucinations. Confusion and a lack of motivation might occur. Some people may even have suicidal thoughts while withdrawing from meth.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal: Symptoms and Effects
Benzodiazepines, often called benzos for short, are pharmaceutical drugs. People usually use them to treat various illnesses and mental health disorders. Some individuals use benzos to treat anxiety or panic attacks while others use them to treat seizures.
Although benzos are medical substances that are prescribed by doctors, many individuals find themselves suffering from benzo dependence and abuse. When a person develops an addiction to benzodiazepines, the effects can be life-altering. So it’s important to end benzo abuse as soon as possible. However, ending benzodiazepine use can be a very difficult process.
When a person is in withdrawal from benzodiazepines, the effects might include:
- Panic attacks
- Sleep problems
- Muscular discomfort
- Lack of concentration
- Stiffness in the muscles
In some cases, individuals can experience more severe symptoms of withdrawal. These might include hallucinations, seizures, suicidal thoughts, and other symptoms of psychosis.
Safe Detox as the Beginning of Recovery
Is detox really as simple as no longer using drugs? While that’s basically what detox is, it’s far from the only thing you should do to overcome addiction. In addition, it’s vital to go through detox the right way.
Trying to detox by yourself at home often sets the stage for relapse, especially if you don’t attend rehab treatment as well. Detox alone doesn’t get to the root causes of addiction or teach you how to cope with stress in a positive way.
Moreover, it can also be unsafe to detox without supervision. The body develops a physical and chemical dependency on addictive substances. Going cold turkey can be dangerous in some cases, which is why it’s recommended to detox in a qualified facility.
Get Help for Withdrawal Symptoms in Asheville, NC
Crest View Recovery Center offers hope for anyone wanting to beat addiction and become whole and healthy again. Located in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, our facility provides the peaceful atmosphere you need to fully focus on achieving sobriety.
For example, our substance abuse treatment programs include:
- Rehab treatment program
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- Men’s alcohol rehab center
- Women’s alcohol rehab program
- Addiction recovery
What is the withdrawal definition and how can it help you overcome the fears of detox? In fact, we are ready to assist you through the challenges of addiction recovery. Contact Crest View Recovery Center today at 866-327-2505 and learn more about the compassionate treatment you deserve.