How to Safely Cope with Drug Withdrawal
Drug withdrawal can be a very difficult experience, and many people struggle with the symptoms without any support or resources. This can be extremely dangerous and, in some cases, lead to relapse. In this blog post, we will provide some tips and resources to help you safely cope with drug withdrawal.
What Is Drug Withdrawal?
Drug withdrawal occurs when someone stops using drugs or alcohol after using them regularly. This can cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms. Drug withdrawal can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the drug(s) involved and how long someone has been using them.
What Causes Drug Withdrawal?
Drug withdrawal is caused by a change in brain chemistry. When someone uses drugs or alcohol regularly, their brain becomes used to the presence of these substances. This can lead to dependence and addiction. When someone stops using drugs or alcohol too abruptly, their brain chemistry is thrown off balance, which can cause withdrawal symptoms.
Substances That May Cause Withdrawal
Most drugs can cause withdrawal symptoms, but some substances are more likely to cause severe symptoms than others. Substance abuse experts typically group drugs into three categories:
- Depressants (such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates)
- Stimulants (such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription amphetamines)
- Opioids (such as heroin, morphine, and prescription painkillers)
Withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the drug(s) involved. Depressants tend to cause sedating effects, while stimulants can cause increased energy and agitation. Opioids can cause a range of effects, depending on the specific drug. Heroin withdrawal, for example, can cause flu-like symptoms, while withdrawal from prescription painkillers may cause nausea and vomiting.
What Are the Symptoms of Withdrawal?
Drug withdrawal can cause a range of unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms. Depending on the type of withdrawal being experienced, these can include:
These symptoms can be extremely difficult to cope with, but it is important to remember that they are only temporary. Withdrawal typically lasts for a few days to a week, although some people may experience withdrawal symptoms for longer.
In some cases, withdrawal may cause more severe symptoms that will require medical intervention. That's why it's recommended to undergo withdrawal as part of a structured and monitored treatment program.
Is Withdrawal Dangerous?
Yes, drug withdrawal can be dangerous. An inability to cope with symptoms may spur individuals in withdrawal to resume their substance use, undermining their attempts at rehabilitation.
Furthermore, some people may also experience severe or life-threatening symptoms during withdrawal, such as seizures. If you are struggling with drug withdrawal, it is important to seek professional medical help immediately.
What Can I Do to Safely Cope With Withdrawal?
Drug withdrawal can be a tough experience to go through. However, there are some steps you can take to help ease your symptoms and safely cope with drug withdrawal.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Drinking restorative beverages like water or tea will help prevent dehydration and flush toxins from your body.
- Get an adequate amount of rest: Sleep will help your body heal and cope with the stress of withdrawal. Plus, while you are sleeping, you will be less likely to feel the compulsion to relapse into substance use. Try to get a restorative 7-9 hours of sleep each night to give your body the time it needs to heal.
- Eat healthy foods: Eating nutritious foods will help your body cope with the physical symptoms of withdrawal while encouraging better energy levels and an overall feeling of wellness.
- Avoid triggers: Try to avoid things that trigger your drug cravings. This can include people, places, and things that remind you of drug use. This is especially important while you are in withdrawal and may be feeling vulnerable. However, it may also be necessary to continue avoiding such triggers in the long term.
- Seek professional help: If you are struggling to cope with drug withdrawal on your own, seek professional medical help immediately. There are treatment centers, support groups, and mental health professionals who can provide a support network and accountability while you go through withdrawal. Additionally, you may want the oversight of medical professionals in case your withdrawal results in a medical emergency.
When to Get Help
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug withdrawal, it is important to seek professional help immediately. Often these symptoms can be too difficult to handle on your own, and in-patient or out-patient services can provide the structure and oversight necessary to successfully navigate withdrawal.
Drug withdrawal can be isolating, especially for individuals who don't want others to know that they are struggling with a substance abuse issue. However, no one has to face the symptoms and dangers of withdrawal alone.
For anyone facing drug withdrawal, there are a number of resources available to help.
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): provides information and resources on drug addiction and withdrawal.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides a directory of treatment facilities in the United States.
- The American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence offers a directory of opioid treatment programs.
- Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two recovery organizations that offer support groups and resources for people struggling with drug addiction.
Remember, drug withdrawal may seem like an uphill challenge, but there are people and organizations who can help you manage symptoms and start your path to full rehabilitation.
Maintain Sobriety with Countrywide Testing
If you believe that a friend or loved one is struggling with withdrawal symptoms and may turn back to their habits of substance abuse, Countrywide Testing can help. Our tests provide confirmation so you can start addressing their risk factors and get them the support they need.
Countrywide Testing is an online retailer providing you with easy access to drug tests and pharmacogenetic testing. We offer an array of products for testing at home, individuals staying clean after rehab, workplace testing, healthcare emergencies, and law enforcement purposes.
Our test kits are convenient, affordable, and ship to you quickly. Plus, our lab is accredited by SAMHSA, so you can rest assured your test results are handled in accordance with the highest industry standards.
Want more information on how Countrywide can support a journey toward full rehabilitation from drug abuse? Just contact our team today.