5 Tips On Managing Your Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

By David Thompson

Dec 29, 2021 02:43 PM EST

5 Tips On Managing Your Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms(Eric Ward via Unsplash) (Credit: Getty Image)

Today is the day to make the powerful decision to stop using drugs and alcohol! 

When you decide to quit using drugs or alcohol, one of the first steps you'll encounter on your path to recovery is withdrawal. It's normal to feel scared about it. But it will all pass sooner than you think, and you'd have completed one of the biggest steps to your recovery. 

Here are five tips on managing your addiction withdrawal symptoms:

1. Understand what to expect

One of the best ways to manage your withdrawal process is to make sure that you are aware of what will involve. The withdrawal process is no easy one. Yet, keep in mind that it will all go away. 

Typically, the duration of the physical withdrawal is about three to five days. Emotional withdrawal can, however, last longer. 

Symptoms of substance withdrawal can occur when you suddenly stop using alcohol or drugs after regular excessive drinking or use. These symptoms can range from mild to severe: 

Mild and moderate symptoms 

  • Feeling anxious and nervous

  • Feeling depressed

  • Feeling tired

  • Having mood swings

  • Appetite loss 

  • Shakiness

  • Not being able to think clearly 

  • Having insomnia or nightmares

  • Sweating

  • Headache

  • Nausea and vomiting 

Severe symptoms

  • Fever

  • Extreme agitation

  • Seizures

  • Extreme confusion 

  • Hallucinations

  • High blood pressure 

The severity of your symptoms can vary depending on several factors, including your body's chemistry and for how long you've used the substance. Therefore, it is always wise to check yourself in an alcohol rehab facility where specialists can monitor you during the withdrawal process.  

2. Get specialised help 

Attending a medical detox program is the safest way to go through the withdrawal process and become sober. As mentioned above, some withdrawal symptoms can become really severe and even life-threatening, requiring emergency treatment. 

In fact, data shows that about 3 to 5% of people who withdraw from heavy drinking experience delirium tremens, a condition that can be fatal as symptoms only get worse without treatment. 

So, if you've been using substances for a long time or you are scared about how your body will react to quitting using drugs or alcohol, it's best to get specialised from the experienced staff of a hospital or detox centre. 

3. Start exercising 

When you quit using substances after excessive use, your brain's chemistry takes a toll, leading to negative thoughts and reactions in the body. But, there is a healthy way to balance things and go through withdrawal more easily, and that's exercising. 

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, also known as the "feeling good" chemicals. Endorphins act as "pain killers" by simply altering the way you feel pain and giving a general good feeling in the body. Exercising is a great way to remove tension and stress related to the symptoms associated with quitting substance abuse. What's more, working out can also help you sleep better. 

Studies also suggest that exercising decreases relapse and compulsive drug use and cravings, offering excellent support in recovery. 

4. See a therapist 

Mental and emotional symptoms of withdrawal last longer than a few days. You may experience very negative emotions and thoughts that might encourage you to start using the substance again. To make sure that you don't relapse, talk to a therapist and ask for help and support with managing your negative moods. 

5. Surround yourself with loved ones 

Last but not least, moral and emotional support is essential to get you through these difficult times. Luckily, you probably have more people than you imagine that you can reach out to. Even if you've cut your relationships with friends and family members while dealing with your addiction, feel free to reach out to your loved ones for support. 

Isolation is a common social symptom of addiction as substance users try to hide their addiction from their loved ones. Or, sometimes, their changes in behaviour have hurt the relationships, making others get some distance. Yet, when you take the path to recovery, it's also time to mend those relationships and ask for support from your loved ones. Trust your friends and family members that they will find it in themselves to forgive your past behaviour and accompany you on this difficult journey.

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