What Is Substance Abuse Withdrawal?

When someone takes part in chronic drug use, the body adjusts to having a specific level of a drug in the system and often recalibrates itself to function “regularly” while using the drug. Withdrawal is the condition your body goes through when substance abuse has abruptly stopped. You feel sick or disoriented without the substance in your body.

Here’s more about substance abuse withdrawal and the role it plays in recovery.

What Is Substance Abuse Withdrawal?

Substance abuse withdrawal is the body reacting to the physical dependence of a drug.  As the drug wears off and if the individual doesn’t replenish the drug, they will experience a number of uncomfortable physical and emotional outcomes. The withdrawal symptoms normally go away instantly if the person takes the drug again, but this only intensifies the addiction.

The Difference Between Detox and Withdrawal

Many people associate withdrawal and detox as the same thing. However, they are two different processes that coincide with each other during the beginning stages of recovery.

While withdrawal can be summed up as the condition your body goes through when no longer consuming the substance, detox is the period of time that includes withdrawal. This is when the person removes the drug from their system completely.

Detox occurs during treatment while patients are being cared for to help deal with harmful withdrawal symptoms. Detox lasts until the drug is out of the system and a patient no longer experiences withdrawals. Depending on the person, the drug abuse, and the amount of time the addiction took place, detox can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.

Typical Substance Abuse Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the drug the person is reliant on, the length and amounts of drug use, and your body chemistry.

Unfortunately, many people attempt to detox and go through withdrawal at home. But, this can potentially be extremely dangerous, especially with long-term alcohol abuse and opiate addiction. These circumstances can actually cause death in extreme cases of withdrawal. 

Here are a few withdrawal symptoms for commonly abused substances:

  • Alcohol: anxiety, nervousness, or depression. Others may be jumpy, irritable, or experience mood swings.
  • Opioids: anxiety, insomnia, nausea, tremors, abdominal cramps, and muscle spasms.
  • Cocaine: depressed mood, fatigue, discomfort, vivid dreams, agitation, and restlessness
  • Heroin: vomiting and diarrhea to insomnia and bone and muscle pain. Additional symptoms may include anxiety, abdominal cramping, and muscle aches.

Learn more about withdrawal symptoms from other drugs here.

We highly recommend you seek detox treatment at Beachside Rehab to avoid harmful situations while experiencing withdrawals. Here’s more about how a detox center can help you in recovery.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)

PAWS refers to any symptoms that persist after acute withdrawal has resolved. It can feel like a “rollercoaster” of symptoms, which come and go unexpectedly over a longer period of time.

During post-acute withdrawal, your brain is slowly returning to normal, and patients may experience more psychological withdrawal symptoms. Here are some of the most common post-acute withdrawal symptoms from American Addiction Centers:

  • Irritability and hostility
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Sleep disruption, including insomnia
  • Limited ability to focus or think clearly
  • Lack of libido
  • Inexplicable chronic pain

You can help reduce PAWS by living a healthy lifestyle and seeking help from your counselor when symptoms arise.

Withdrawal Treatment at Beachside

Withdrawal management occurs during our medical detox process. Our medical staff and licensed therapists can help guide you through your withdrawal symptoms and assist you in detoxing your body from harmful substances.

Once the physical withdrawal symptoms begin to subside, and clients are physically able, they will begin their personalized detox treatment plan developed by the nursing staff and therapists. 

We’re ready to help you live a life free of addiction. Contact us to learn more about detox and how to get started today.