Having been through a number of withdrawals myself, I deem it necessary to enlighten others on the process, what it entails and what you can do about it.
Withdrawal indicates dependence on a substance and withdrawing from alcohol or drugs may cause unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms vary in severity and depend on several factors. Signs of withdrawal can begin as quick as a few hours after the last use or they may take days to appear. They can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Withdrawal symptoms usually have several stages which includes an acute withdrawal period where the symptoms begin and are most intense, this lasts anywhere from a couple of days to a week. Then a prolonged withdrawal period after physical symptoms subside, this includes long term symptoms like cravings and depression. Lastly a protracted withdrawal period where symptoms are at their worst and start to fade.
The concept of tolerance helps us to understand why withdrawal symptoms happen. You are considered physically dependent on a substance when you can’t stop taking it without withdrawal effects. It is also known as chemical dependency, and it becomes worse the more that your tolerance builds. Tolerance means you need to take more of the same drug to experience the same high. Most people who regularly use drugs or alcohol develop tolerance.
The severity of alcohol withdrawal depends on how severe your addiction is. Light to moderate drinkers will experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms. Heavier drinkers are at an increased rate of developing seizures, delirium (confusion and psychosis) and other life threatening symptoms. There is still a high risk in light drinkers who have been drinking over a long period of time. Because there is always a risk of seizures in drinkers, it is important when going through withdrawal that you are monitored by a trained doctor.
For an opioid withdrawal, for example heroin, oxycodone and fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can be extremely distressing although not considered to be fatal. A person’s tolerance to opioids increases rapidly, if you have been chronically abusing opioids, you may have a high tolerance. This allows you to take a high amount of the drug that may be fatal to someone without tolerance. The major risk associated with opioid withdrawal, is that as symptoms persist, it heightens the chance of relapse. Since your tolerance would have decreased you increase the chance of fatal overdose. Other risks include self harm and dehydration.
Common stimulants include substances such as cocaine, meth and amphetamines typically cause more emotional symptoms than physical but you may also experience sweating, nervousness and lethargy. For most people withdrawing from stimulants produces extreme mood swings and cravings which greatly increase your chance of relapse. As part of a medical detox, medication will be administered to aid tiredness and help control cravings.
A medical detox program can reduce your risk of relapse in the early stages, but is not enough to maintain long term recovery. Relapse rate for all substance misuse disorders at an all time high. The potential to relapse is significantly decreased if you participate in treatment following detox. Generally this means getting involved in some sort of addiction treatment program where therapy is the backbone. In therapy you will address the type of
issues that caused your substance misuse in the first place. You will learn strategies to deal with these issues. In my personal experience, the longer you stay in treatment, the more you heighten your chances of long term recovery.
Are you looking to detox from alcohol or drugs in a safe and controlled environment? At UK Detox we work with a wide range of rehabilitation facilities and detox centres around the country to suit your needs and circumstances and provide home detox’s. We are a premier service with an extremely high success rate, offering addicts the opportunity to get clean and sober and live a successful life. We are living proof that it is achievable and now we are here to help you on your journey into recovery. Change your story, change your life.