Dealing With Withdrawal During Treatment

by | Apr 25, 2021 | Addiction, Recovery


Withdrawal is uncomfortable and leaves your mind, body, and spirit feeling tired. The most critical choice you can make regarding your recovery is to get professional help during detox and withdrawal. These periods are crucial. According to information provided by the United States Library of Medicine, individuals in withdrawal have the highest risk of relapse. By choosing to attend a rehab facility instead of going through it alone, you will significantly increase your odds of success. At a professional facility, a care team will help you plan for your withdrawal, and they will be on hand 24/7 to prescribe treatment for any severe side effects. 

Common Withdrawal Symptoms 

The treatments for your withdrawal are going to vary based on what options are available in your area, insurance coverage, and the severity of your symptoms. What type of discomfort you endure during this period is going to be highly dependent on what it was that you were taking. During withdrawal, you can expect mood, behavioral, cognitive, and physical changes, including:

  • Irritability, restlessness, and anxiety
  • Sleeping disturbances, weakness, and tremors
  • Mood swings, depression, and difficulty focusing
  • Flu-like symptoms like shakiness, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, muscle pains, cold flashes, and headache
  • Changes in appetite, cravings, and intrusive thoughts 
  • In rare cases, hallucinations, seizures, and dangerously high blood pressure 
Risk Factors Associated With Withdrawal

Withdrawal has several risks associated with it depending on what type of substance you were taking and how long you were addicted. Some common risk factors that can impact this stage in your recovery include:

  • Previously diagnosed with a mental health disorder
  • Past experience going through withdrawal
  • Family history of addiction
  • A lack of coping skills 

Relapse prevention education is standard in treatment centers because it explains the physical processes of withdrawal and provides coping skills for working through them. Take advantage of these resources to understand what your body is going through and how you can alleviate any emotional distress. 

Focus on the Positives

You will experience uncomfortable side effects, cravings, pain, and intrusive thoughts during recovery, but these are temporary symptoms. They are caused by changes your brain and body are experiencing. Once you have completed the withdrawal process, your body systems will find a new healthy balance. Optimism can speed recovery and help eliminate some mental health risks. Focus on the positive aspects of your recovery through conscious thought. 

Here are a few quick tips for staying positive when you feel physically and mentally drained:

  • Recognize the strength and courage it took for you to get help and go through the detox and withdrawal process. Let this achievement motivate you.  
  • Mark each new stage of recovery as a success in your journey towards long-term sobriety. 
  • Make a mental or physical list of the small things that make you happy throughout the day. For example, someone smiling at you or having a good conversation with a loved one. 
  • If you are attending group sessions, note the progress that others have made in their recovery and remind yourself that you will get there too in time. 
  • Distract yourself from cravings and physical discomfort by doing an easy activity that brings you joy, such as watching relaxing videos or reading something humorous. 
  • Use mindfulness and meditation to keep yourself centered in the moment and find something positive around you. Focus on that instead of doubts or anxieties. 
  • Remind yourself of previous challenges that you overcame in your life and their positive outcomes. 
  • Communicate frequently with loved ones and take their support and encouragement to heart. 
Psychological Impact of Withdrawal and Long-term Recovery

The psychological impact of withdrawal after detox is different for everyone depending on various factors, including age, genetics, substance, length of addiction, and family medical history. Frequently psychological and emotional side effects of withdrawal last the longest – sometimes months after the physical symptoms have entirely faded. According to the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, some common mental health issues that appear during withdrawal include:

  • Depression or other mood disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
  • Sleep disorders like insomnia 
  • In severe cases, psychosis, delirium, or dementia may result

You can get help with these by using talk therapy in one-on-one or group sessions. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication or natural remedies.

Physical Recovery During and After Withdrawal

The timeframe for withdrawal will vary for each individual, but it generally lasts from three to ten days, depending on what substances were used and how long they were used. During that time, your body is under a great deal of stress, and it is essential to look after your physical wellness. Many substances have long-term health effects that you can mitigate by taking care of yourself during detox and withdrawal by eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, and following your doctor’s advice. 

Withdrawal is your body’s response to losing chemicals that it had come to rely on to function. You will experience uncomfortable mental and physical symptoms that can last from a few days to a few months. Most relapses happen during this point in recovery if preventative steps are not taken. You can prepare yourself for the struggles that come with withdrawal by getting educated and working with a professional care team. Many resources are available, including relapse prevention education, facility therapy, and prescribed medications that can lessen more severe symptoms. No matter how difficult your withdrawal feels, you can get through it using healthy coping skills. At Sober Life, we know how challenging this time can be, and we are here to help you get through it. You have what it takes to succeed at long-term sobriety. To find out more about what services we have to offer, call Sober Life today at (619) 542-9542.

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