Drug Withdrawal Management
Drug withdrawal management, commonly referred to as “detox,” is a vital first step toward combating drug addiction. Substances like prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, heroin and alcohol can all cause severe withdrawal symptoms in the initial period after cessation. In some cases, attempting to quit a drug “cold turkey” can have serious health consequences; certain withdrawal symptoms can even be deadly if not managed appropriately.
Undergoing substance withdrawal in a safe and monitored environment can help to minimize discomfort and boost your chances at staying clean and avoiding relapse during this difficult period. It’s also the first step toward staying clean.
What Is Drug Withdrawal?
Certain substances work by flooding your brain’s neuro-receptors with large amounts of feel-good hormones such as dopamine. Over time, repeated exposure to these drugs can lead to your body becoming dependent on these drugs. Your body will stop producing ample quantities of these hormones on its own. This is known as chemical dependency, and it is the first hurdle that many people with substance abuse problems face when attempting to get clean.
In time, your body can return to producing its own hormones and regulating their levels without the help of foreign chemicals. However, in the days immediately following substance cessation, you may experience a number of unpleasant symptoms and effects. These can leave you feeling physically ill, mentally exhausted and emotionally depleted.
Physical drug withdrawal symptoms may include fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, body pain, insomnia and more. Alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal can cause delirium tremens (DTs), which can be fatal.
Drug withdrawal can also cause mental and emotional effects such as anxiety, depression, restlessness and mood swings. Feelings of helplessness and despair can become intense in the days immediately following substance cessation, and these emotions can lead to suicide or self-harm.
For all of these reasons, it is safest to undergo the withdrawal process under careful medical supervision. There is no need to suffer alone.
The Importance of Drug Withdrawal Management
A detox program allows you to undergo the drug withdrawal period under the guidance of medical experts who are experienced in handling these situations. Medical specialists and mental health care providers can help to ease side effects and withdrawal symptoms to allow your body to safely heal from substance dependency.
In-patient detox programs provide medical monitoring and assistance to minimize discomfort and prevent the deadly or dangerous side effects of withdrawal so that you can safely transition into a drug-free lifestyle.
Drug withdrawal management programs also provide you with a safe and secure space in which to begin the path to sobriety without any added stresses and temptations from your day-to-day life. Cravings are at their most intense in the hours and days immediately after drug cessation, and in-patient detox treatment allows you to ride out these symptoms without the opportunity to begin using again. Once you have gotten through this initial trial, it will be easier to fight future cravings and stay clean.
Detox Is the First Step of Many
Withdrawal symptoms generally peak within 72 hours of cessation, and most physical symptoms will be gone within a week or two as your body adjusts and recovers from its chemical dependence.
However, chemical dependency is just one part of addiction. Successful recovery means setting yourself up for long-term success and permanently replacing the habits and behaviors that you may have come to rely on as a substance user. Detox is about getting clean; addiction treatment is about staying clean and learning to live the best version of your life without relying on drugs or alcohol.
Addiction treatment programs may be highly individualized depending on your needs and history. At St. Gregory, we provide a faith-based recovery program that helps to change your thinking patterns and provide you with healthy coping mechanisms while finding the support you need to succeed. A combination of cognitive behavior therapy, new habit development, wellness initiatives and addiction recovery life coaching work together to provide your new life with its best possible foundation.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, know that you don’t have to go through this alone. Contact us today to learn more about our detox and treatment services.