how to deal with withdrawal symptoms

Dealing with physical withdrawal symptoms is a huge challenge for many people who are trying to recover from an addiction. Shakes, sweats, nausea and muscle cramps are just some of the symptoms of withdrawal from drugs and alcohol. Some drugs create a physical dependency so powerful that it’s necessary for a health care provider to supervise the withdrawal process to ensure it’s done safely.

In this guide, we’ll look at how to deal with withdrawal symptoms, why they happen and what support is available to people who are looking to beat addiction and form healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Understanding Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can vary significantly depending on the substance the person is withdrawing from, how long they were using it and the type of detox process they go through. In some cases, the withdrawal process lasts just a few days, but in others, it can be a longer process.

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Muscle aches
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shakes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Cravings
  • Chills
  • Pale and clammy skin
  • Anxiety or depression

A person may experience some or all of these symptoms starting as soon as 24 hours after the last dose. Symptoms are typically at their most severe for the first 48 hours, but in some cases, they can last longer than that. Medication can be used to reduce the severity of the symptoms, and medically supervised withdrawal is recommended for those with severe substance use disorder. Attempting to stop using opioids or other powerful prescription medication cold turkey isn’t recommended due to the potential for severe and long-lasting health risks.

Medical Support for Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

If someone has been misusing long-acting opioids, drinking heavily or considering attempting benzodiazepine withdrawal, it’s important they seek professional medical assistance. Abusing prescribed medication is already a high-risk activity, and making a sudden change to the way a drug is used could present serious health risks.

Working with a qualified health professional at a luxury rehab center makes the withdrawal process much safer. The patient can be monitored for issues such as low blood pressure or delirium tremens and helped to manage any negative thoughts or anxiety as their body rids itself of the drugs.

Medications can be used to alleviate the most severe symptoms and help the patient as their endocrine system returns to normal. This can be a slow process, but the human body is quite resilient. Many people do make a successful recovery with proper treatment at a rehab center, especially if they get ongoing support once they return to their normal lives.

With some drug abuse issues, going through a supervised withdrawal is essential to prevent lasting health issues. Delirium tremens is a serious issue for people who’ve been misusing alcohol for a long time, and it can occur with other drugs, too. Skilled medical professionals can take action to manage seizures and reduce the risk of ill effects.

Self-Care Techniques to Alleviate Withdrawal Symptoms

In addition to medical supervision and drugs to help the withdrawal process, there are many things people can do on their own to ease the recovery process.

Time spent in a residential recovery center is the ideal opportunity to learn about nutrition, exercises and other lifestyle choices that can mitigate depression and improve a person’s well-being. Insomnia is a common issue for those struggling with substance abuse and something that can often be conquered with regular, gentle exercise and good sleep hygiene.

In addition to boosting a person’s physical health, exercise can also be an effective way to alleviate stress. Combining these lifestyle changes with other coping strategies, such as meditation and mindfulness, creates a self-care system that can set up a person to stay healthy for life.

It’s not unusual for someone struggling with substance abuse issues to find it hard to motivate themselves to engage in self-care. Even small steps, such as keeping a regular bedtime and taking a short walk every day, can boost a person’s mood and give them the confidence and energy they need to take bigger steps toward improving their lifestyle.

Emotional and Social Support group During Addiction Recovery

Emotional and Social Support

A medical detox program can help with the early stages of recovering from a drug abuse issue. Supervised opioid withdrawal, for example, can ensure someone safely gets through the severe withdrawal symptoms that are common when stopping drug use. However, there are psychological symptoms to deal with, too. Medical professionals often focus purely on reducing the physical pain without addressing what happens when the patient returns home. Looking for a center that offers aftercare services can help with long-term recovery.

Drug addiction isn’t just a physical issue, and one reason people relapse is that the underlying mental health causes of substance abuse weren’t addressed. To have the best chance of overcoming addiction, it’s essential to find emotional support, either from friends and family members or from counseling or support meetings. Simply having a family member who’s willing to do regular check-ins and remind other family members to organize alcohol-free social activities can go a long way when it comes to making the recovery process easier.

Preventing Relapse

Once the physical withdrawal symptoms have passed, the next challenge is to maintain healthy habits. It’s not uncommon for people to relapse when they leave a detox center and return to their daily routine.

While some medical detox programs focus purely on mitigating the physical symptoms, others also look at mental health and teaching good coping strategies. For example, it’s useful to understand the triggers that may lead to returning to alcohol or drug use. If social drinking is an issue for you, avoiding environments where people consume alcohol may be important during your early stages of recovery.

Many people find it beneficial to continue therapy or attend support groups where they can communicate with people who understand their experiences. These groups can form the foundation of an ongoing support network that will help with abstaining from drugs or alcohol in the long term and encourage the recovering person to find new, healthy coping mechanisms.

When to Seek Emergency Help

Seek emergency medical support if your withdrawal symptoms are severe. Drug or alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as hallucinations or seizures can be a sign of delirium tremens, which can be life-threatening if not treated. Mood changes and suicidal thoughts can also occur during drug withdrawal. Don’t ignore these symptoms. Professional support is available.

How Recovery Life Group Can Help

If you or someone you care for is struggling with substance abuse, remember that help is available. At Recover Life Group, we offer a variety of programs to help people beat their addictions and stay sober and drug-free in the long term. Contact us online or call us at 301-686-3233 to learn more about our rehab programs and aftercare services.