Withdrawal from attempting to quit a drug can produce some of the most uncomfortable sensations like anxiety, chills, fevers, and intense psychological cravings to use the drug again. All of these frequently push the user into relapse and using the drug again, because this action is the quickest escape from the growing pains of withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms depend on the drug that was used.
Alcohol, opiates, and tranquilizers produce strong physical withdrawal symptoms, whereas cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy produce emotional withdrawal. Emotion, or psychological, withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and cognitive impairments like frustrated concentration. Physical withdrawal symptoms are headaches, dizziness, trouble breathing, racing heart, nausea, muscle tension, tremors, and sweating. These are just some of the withdrawal symptoms, but with certain drugs like opioids, withdrawal symptoms can become life-threatening.
- Heart attacks
- Hallucinations (can prompt the individual to die by accidental injury)
Medical assistance is strongly recommended when it comes to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Quitting right away without weaning out the drug often leads to dangerous physical reactions because the body is placed into a state of shock. When it comes to addiction, the body is dependent on a substance so even when that substance is taken away, the body needs it to continue to function normally.
To handle withdrawal, it is best to not go through it alone. If you cannot or do not want professional help, find a trustworthy friend or loved one to help you get through withdrawal with emotional support. When alone, the individual struggling with withdrawal may impulsively take too much of the drug and overdose. Having someone else present can not only prevent relapse or overdose but offers a distraction from the drug as well as a support for all the frustration the comes with quitting a substance. However, it is highly recommended that individuals seek professional help when it comes to quitting drugs because rehabilitation centers have trained staff that knows what to do when something goes wrong, and they even offer medications that can relieve the painful withdrawal symptoms.
From a subjective point of view, remind yourself that the withdrawal and cravings will pass in time and may only last a few minutes, no matter how intense they may seem at the moment. Avoid any exposure to the drug whether that be the actual drug laying out, pictures or video of the drug, people using the drug in front of you, or people talking about the drug. Almost anything tied to the drug, even things that remind a person of the drug, can set off a chain reaction in the mind that can lead the individual to relapse. Try to find a substitute for the drug like candy, chewing gum, or a hobby. When cravings get intense, try breathing slowly while counting to ten. This common technique is used almost like a reset button for the mind, which can take the mind away from a drug using mindset.
If you feel that quitting the drug is impossible, consider visiting a drug treatment center like Asana Recovery, where a supportive staff offers detox and residential rehabilitation. They offer multiple levels of therapy and provide support groups for families. Call (949) 438-4504 to learn more about their treatment programs.