Addiction & Withdrawal

Drug & Alcohol Addiction

Millions of people are addicted to drugs. Some of the drugs that people can become addicted to include pain medications, anti-anxiety medications, heroin, cocaine, muscle relaxers, alcohol, marijuana, and more. Drug addiction will negatively impact the user’s brain, body, and life.

Causes of a Drug Addiction

It is possible for people to become addicted to a drug after using it only once. For instance, someone might use cocaine at a college party and become hooked. Someone else might get drunk one time and it helps to relieve their anxiety, so they continue to get drunk often. There are numerous reasons why someone might become addicted to drugs. Some of the many reasons include the following:

  • Family history and genetics
  • Environmental influences
  • Peer pressure
  • Trauma
  • The way it makes them feel
  • Pain

There are numerous reasons why someone might become addicted to drugs. With this being said, there are ways to overcome a drug addiction if you have fallen into this lifestyle. Before learning more about those options, it might be helpful to know about some facts regarding drug addiction.

Facts Regarding Drug Addiction

If you feel like you are alone with your drug addiction, it is important to know that you aren’t. Learning more about some of the facts regarding drug addiction could help you to see that there are others who share your struggles. Some of the facts that you should be aware of include the following:

  • Over 19 million people (age 12 and older) from around the United States have struggled with a substance use disorder in 2017.
  • Around 38% of those people were abusing illegal drugs.
  • Approximately 5 million adults had a co-occurring disorder (abused drugs and had a mental health condition)

You are not alone in your addiction. There are others out there who struggle with drug abuse. There are also millions of others who have sought out help for their drug addiction and lived years clean and in recovery. This could be a route you want to take, as well.

Symptoms of a Drug Addiction

If you aren’t sure whether you have a drug addiction, learning more about some of the symptoms of this type of addiction could help. Some of the drug addiction symptoms that you should be aware of include the following:

  • Feeling the need to use drugs frequently
  • Needing to use more drugs than you used to take for a specific effect
  • Spending a lot of money on drugs (even when you shouldn’t be spending that money)
  • Not taking care of your responsibilities (family, work, etc.)
  • Stealing cash or property from others in order to fund your drug addiction
  • Spending a lot of time trying to acquire the drug
  • Stressing out or even panicking when getting low on the drug
  • Realizing that no matter how many negative effects drugs are having on your life, you continue to use
  • Not talking to people in your life who accuse you of doing drugs

These are just some of the many symptoms of a drug addiction. If you are addicted to drugs, it is important that you do your best to seek out proper treatment for the addiction. The sooner you can get yourself treatment, the better things will be in your life.

Treatments for Drug Addictions

Maybe you have come to the realization on your own that you need to get treatment for a drug addiction. Someone in your life might have talked to you about your drug addiction and they want you to get help. You could have gotten into legal trouble for your drug use and this led to you getting treatment. No matter what the situation might be, there are many treatments for a drug addiction. Some of the options that you might want to consider include the following:

  • Drug detox programs offer withdrawal therapy and detox services to help you get drugs out of your system completely and in the safest way possible.
  • Treatment programs will combine group and individual therapy, along with other treatments, to help you overcome a drug addiction.
  • Self-help groups such as NA (Narcotics Anonymous) can offer you the support you need to get clean, stay clean, and live a recovering lifestyle.

These are some of the treatment options you have if you are suffering from a drug addiction. No matter which type of drug you are addicted to, there are treatment programs that can help you to get clean. If you are worried about paying for the treatment program, talk to the detox or recovery center today. They can help you to figure out how you will pay for it. Some insurance plans will cover the cost of detox and recovery programs. There are also some government assistance or local programs that might help to pay for your treatment. Other centers will offer payment plans to individuals who need them.

Drug & Alcohol Withdrawal

If you, or someone close to you, experiences withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, the process can be both scary and confusing. Substance abuse disorders, addiction, and dependence are all very complicated topics, requiring the guidance of trained medical professionals to recover. While the detox and withdrawal process can seem overwhelming, it is manageable with the right information and team of medical providers.

Before committing to detox, you probably have a lot of questions. Withdrawal symptoms affect each individual differently, and one person’s experience may not match another. Some may experience more mild withdrawal symptoms while others deal with severe physical and emotional withdrawal. Keep reading to learn more about withdrawal from drugs and alcohol.

What is drug and alcohol withdrawal?

The first step to sobriety is detox. However, when a person suddenly stops using a substance that they are dependent on, withdrawal can occur. Over time, your brain adapts to the presence of drugs or alcohol, and the production or neurotransmitters is suppressed. When someone stops using drugs or alcohol, the brain reacts to the absence. An increase in adrenaline production is common as well as other withdrawal symptoms.

While withdrawal symptoms seem daunting, the process is often necessary for recovery. Detoxing in a controlled, medical environment can help a patient safely management symptoms of withdrawal. A doctor can prescribe medications to combat withdrawal symptoms and keep the individual comfortable throughout a difficult process. Attempting to detox at home or without proper medical supervision can lead to serious problems, including seizures, dehydration, and even death.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

Throughout the detox process, the body is eliminating toxins and attempting to purify itself. In some cases, a person may think they are ill or getting worse when they are actually experiencing normal withdrawal symptoms. The exact withdrawal symptoms experienced during detox will vary by individual, but there are some common withdrawal symptoms.

  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Cravings
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Severe withdrawal can sometimes manifest as delirium tremens, or DTs. DTs are serious and potentially deadly without proper medical care. Delirium tremens can cause agitation, confusion, hallucinations, fever, and confusion. Recognizing DTs early is essential for safely treating them.

Physical Withdrawal

Physical withdrawal refers to the symptoms felt in the body throughout the detox process. Detox is uncomfortable for the patient, and the severity of symptoms depends on the type of drug used, severity of addiction, and patient information.

Withdrawal can affect several areas of the body, including the head, chest, heart, stomach, muscles, and skin. Common physical withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Trouble breathing
  • Racing heart
  • Heart skipping beats
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ache
  • Tension in muscles
  • Muscle twitches
  • Muscle tremors or shakes
  • Aching muscles
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tingling in the skin

Physical withdrawal symptoms can be minimized with the help of a doctor. A medically supervised detox often involves prescribed medications that help keep the patient comfortable despite withdrawal symptoms. Also, the staff at a medical detox center ensures the patient receives the nutrients and hydration needed to stay healthy throughout the process.

Emotional & Psychological Withdrawal

Mental and emotional withdrawal refers to the symptoms that impact a person’s mind, mood, and emotional state. Psychological and emotional factors can certainly contribute to the development of a substance abuse disorder or addiction, including operant conditioning. A behavior can be reinforced, which increases the likelihood of someone repeating that behavior in the future.

Psychological withdrawal symptoms can greatly impact a person’s mental and emotional state, including their mood, sleep quality, and more. Common emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Cravings
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty concentration
  • Panic attacks
  • Restlessness
  • Social isolation
  • Lack of enjoyment
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite

A person’s environment during detox is crucial to mitigating the effects of emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Professional detox treatment facilities create a comfortable and supportive environment, so patients can focus on recovery instead of outside concerns.

Most Common Substances People Withdrawal From

Each drug or substance can produce different physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms. Some drugs may produce greater emotional withdrawal symptoms while others may cause more severe physical withdrawal symptoms. There are many substances that can cause withdrawal symptoms if a person stops using them. Some of the most common substances people withdrawal from include the following.

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Marijuana
  • Meth
  • Opiates/Heroin

Alcohol Withdrawal

As the most prevalently used addictive substance in the country, alcohol dependence and withdrawal are serious issues. Withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of the last drink and last for days or weeks. Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include nausea or vomiting, agitation, insomnia, anxiety, seizures, and tremors.

Prescription Drug Withdrawal

Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are drugs sometimes prescribed by medical professionals to treat anxiety or panic disorder. Misusing benzodiazepines in order to experience a feeling of euphoria can lead to a dependence on the drug. Withdrawing from benzos, like Xanaz or Valium, can cause withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, depression, nausea, insomnia, and muscle spasms.

Illegal Drug Withdrawal

Illegal drugs are often used to produce a feeling of euphoria. These substances affect the reward center of the brain, reinforcing the use of the drug. Drugs like cocaine tend to produce more psychological withdrawal symptoms than physical withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms include depression, nervousness, irritation, psychotic episodes, hallucinations, fatigue or lethargy. Other illegal substances, including marijuana, meth, opiates and heroin, and ecstasy can all lead to withdrawal symptoms when a person stops using the drug.

FAQs on Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal

Drug and alcohol withdrawal can be a very confusing and complicated topic. There are a variety of factors that impact the detox and withdrawal process, including how long someone abused a substance, how severe the abuse was, and the presence of other medical conditions. Because each individual experiences withdrawal symptoms differently, it can be difficult to know what to expect.

Withdrawal symptoms should not deter people with a substance abuse disorder from getting help. When properly supervised by medical professionals, the detox can be safe. Medical detox centers minimize the risks associated with withdrawal symptoms through prescribed medication, medical supervision, and proper nutrition.

Entering a detox facility and experiencing withdrawal symptoms seem scary. It is normal to have questions about the process beforehand. Below are some of the most common questions associated with drug and alcohol withdrawal.

What are “withdrawals”?

“Withdrawals” is often used as a term to refer to the symptoms associated with drug or alcohol detox. As the body eliminates toxins and attempts to return to a balanced state, there are common symptoms associated with the process. Withdrawal symptoms can affect a person both physically and mentally if they stop using a substance or reduce their intake.

What are withdrawal symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms can manifest physically, mentally, emotionally, or in combination. When managed properly by medical professions, withdrawal symptoms are typically not deadly. The most common withdrawal symptoms are listed in the sections above. However, if symptoms are left unmanaged, the health implications can be very serious.

What are withdrawal symptoms like?

Some have compared withdrawal symptoms to symptoms of the flu, including muscle aches, stomach discomfort, sweating, and lack of sleep. The severity of symptoms depends on a wide range of factors. Withdrawal symptoms may be mild for some but more severe for others. Overall, withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable. If treated by a medical detox facility, a patient’s discomfort can be managed by prescribed medications, nutrition, and emotional support.

What does going through withdrawal mean?

If someone is “going through withdrawal,” it means they are experiencing the symptoms associated with stopping the use of a substance. Discontinuance of an addicting drug or alcohol often produces physical and psychological symptoms.

What does having withdrawal symptoms mean?

Like the question above, “having withdrawal symptoms” refers to the experience of physical, mental, or emotional side effects related to withdrawal or detox. If someone is dependent on or addicted to a substance and stops using it, the body reacts.

What does withdrawal feel like?

Withdrawal differs for everyone, but it is generally considered uncomfortable and painful. Common feeling associated with withdrawal symptoms include exhaustion, extreme physical discomfort, intense pain, a burning sensation, irritability, anxiety, and restlessness.

When do withdrawal symptoms start?

Withdrawal symptoms can start within hours of the last time the substance was used for short-acting opioids and alcohol. For longer-acting opioids, like methadone, and benzos, symptoms may not appear for a day or two. How long symptoms last depend on the substance and severity of abuse. For alcohol, symptoms typically peak within 72 hours and last for a week.

What are signs of withdrawal?

Signs of withdrawal include the numerous symptoms listed in the sections above. A person experiencing withdrawal may have more intense cravings for a substance, lack of appetite, and increased agitation. If a person suspects they are going through withdrawal, they should visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Becoming addicted to drugs is going to negatively impact your life in so many ways. It is going to affect your relationships, self-esteem, job, and so much more. If you are dealing with a drug addiction, it is important to know that there are treatment options out there. You can overcome the drug addiction and start a new lifestyle for yourself.

Remember, when it comes to drug addiction, you are never alone. Even if you don’t have people in your life that understand what you are going through, there are others out there who have gone through what you are. You can attend detox programs, recovery centers, support groups, and meetings to get the help that you need. You might also want to get a sponsor to help you through the recovery process.

Drug addictions are difficult and harmful. However, you don’t have to keep living your life in that manner. You can choose to put your addictive lifestyle behind you and step into a healthier future today.