While recreational drug abuse and excessive drinking are unfortunately normalized in American society, it’s easy to fall into cycles of harmful behavior. Someone can consume these substances to the point of becoming addicted without thinking of themselves as an addicted person, and it’s always shocking to reach this point. The realization may come along when someone first has notable withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal is a Symptom of Dependency
At the bottom line, what it means when you have a withdrawal is that you’re suffering from addiction. Addiction is essentially a state of dependency that goes beyond psychology and becomes physiological as the drug becomes part of the regular functioning of your body. At this point, drug abuse has rewired your body to the point that going long without using a drug causes it to go into revolt more or less.
How Drug Dependency Works
Drug dependency occurs with prolonged, frequent use of any addictive substance. While the exact symptoms and nature of withdrawals can be remarkably different, the basic dynamic remains the same. Essentially, constantly-present levels of a substance that alters your mood or bodily function result in your body changing its baseline activity to compensate.
This is also where increasing tolerance for drugs comes from. As you constantly consume something that dulls your nervous system or provides a jolt to the reward system, the body increases natural nervous system activity or decreases the natural production of reward compounds. As you go through withdrawals, you’re experiencing the effects of this harmful altered state that your substance abuse has hidden up to now.
The amount of drug use, both in terms of quantity and duration that it takes to develop an addiction varies. Furthermore, many people can develop an addiction while using prescription drugs in the manner ordered by their doctor. This legitimate drug use is currently one of the key driving factors in the opioid abuse epidemic.
Understanding Different Types of Withdrawals
There are many different types of addictive drugs and each affects the brain in its own way. As such, each drug also has its own withdrawal symptoms. While it would be impractical to provide a look at each of these conditions, here are some of the most common addictions and withdrawal symptoms to look out for.
Opioid drugs replace reward compounds that can soothe pain when used properly and induce feelings of euphoria when taken to excess. However, severe usage causes the body’s natural production of important neurotransmitters to decline. When someone goes through unmanaged opioid withdrawals, they experience muscle fatigue, sensitivity to pain, nausea, and symptoms such as diarrhea.
Alcohol is a depressant that achieves its desired effects by essentially slowing down the body, from your thought processing faculties to your nervous system. As a person commits prolonged alcohol abuse, they develop alcoholism and can experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Seizures are a common occurrence of the nervous system going out of control in the days and weeks it can take the body to recalibrate and repair your baseline functioning.
What to Do if You Experience Withdrawal
If you experience withdrawal, it’s important to get help. While withdrawal was once seen as something a person needed to get through by willpower, dealing with this on your own can lead to harmful, long-term consequences. Medical detox can mitigate these risk factors and keep you healthy and safe as you undergo withdrawals, with supervising professionals who can intervene at the sign of any complications.
After you complete detox, you should consider seeking addiction treatment for your underlying drug abuse problem. It can be difficult to make the transition directly from detox to attempting to live life normally, and a stint at an inpatient care facility can make a real difference. However, outpatient counseling, therapy, and group meetings can also be a valid way to pursue recovery.
At America’s Rehab Campuses, we provide a comprehensive set of treatments for addiction. Everyone’s recovery process looks different, and this is why we strive to help people find the exact tools they need. Get in touch today to start building a personalized treatment plan with our help.