Many people who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction have experienced withdrawal before. However, those who have not experienced these symptoms often think that it’s nothing more than a craving or desire to use again. The problem is that since most people don’t understand the effects and definition of withdrawal, they don’t know what’s happening. Once you understand withdrawal, however, you’ll understand why it’s so important to get addiction treatment once you experience these effects.
Withdrawal Definition: What is It and How Does It Affect People?
When you hear about withdrawal, it’s often in the context of someone who uses drugs or alcohol. Because your body is always trying to maintain balance, quitting or going a certain period of time without those substances will lead to withdrawal symptoms. It’s similar to when people who try to quit smoking or stop drinking caffeine start to feel negative side effects. However, drug or alcohol withdrawal is far worse.
While withdrawal symptoms vary, common issues include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Body tremors
Not every single person will experience withdrawal symptoms in this way. Your body can react differently than another person’s body would. But these are some of the most common symptoms across a range of people and substances.
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 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.
The Importance of Professional Detox for Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal can be very serious. The symptoms people experience while withdrawing from drug and alcohol and drug abuse can be so difficult to handle that they eventually lead individuals to relapse. Also, sometimes the symptoms of withdrawal can cause serious health issues and may even lead to death.
For these reasons, it’s important for people to get help in order to end substance abuse in their lives. A professional detox program can assist people in recovering from substance use disorder (SUD). It can help to facilitate a safer and more comfortable withdrawal process. Also, having professional and medical guidance throughout the journey to recovery can give people the tools they will need in order to end substance abuse in their lives for good.
Getting Help for Withdrawal
When you go to a detox facility, you can rest assured that you won’t have to worry about all of the potential issues. The first thing that happens in detox is that you go through a full medical assessment. As long as you’re honest about your medical history and substance use, the assessment can help you tremendously. Professionals will provide you with medications that can help alleviate your discomfort.
Cravings are a normal but difficult part of early recovery. They occur because the receptors in your brain are adjusting to life without drugs or alcohol. The great news is that medical science has created new detox medications that trick the brain by occupying those receptors. Not only does this reduce the initial cravings when you get sober, but it also reduces other withdrawal symptoms.
Crest View Recovery Center can help you overcome negative behaviors that contributed to your addiction. Once you’re stable enough, you’ll be able to start the initial phase of life-changing rehab treatment.
Start living the life you deserve. Contact Crest View Recovery Center today to learn more about our services and how we can help you to overcome substance abuse safely and comfortably.