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What is Drug & Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal Really Like?

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The True Experience of Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal

Once you’ve made the decision to become sober after using and becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol, the first challenge you’ll face is the detoxification process. Detoxification refers to what happens to your body and your mind as the substance you were using leaves your body. Withdrawal is almost always a given, although not everyone experiences withdrawal in exactly the same way. There are different types of withdrawal symptoms and some are more common than others. Some people may even experience severe withdrawal that requires medical intervention.

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the reasons many people give up when they start going through the detoxification process is the simple fact that the physical withdrawal symptoms become difficult to handle. These symptoms include rapid heart rate, heart palpitations, tension in their muscles, labored breathing patterns, hand tremors and even nausea and/or vomiting. When the human body is used to getting its regular dose of alcohol or drugs and then that dose comes to an abrupt halt, it’s normal for the body to respond. Fortunately, the severity of these symptoms is often short lived, and before long you begin to feel relief.

Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms

At times, emotional withdrawal symptoms can last longer than the physical withdrawal symptoms. However, many people don’t recognize the emotional symptoms until the physical ones have subsided a bit. Most addicts experience a sensation of loss once they’ve decided to stop using drugs or alcohol. They may know that it’s a good decision and one they should definitely be making, but because they have relied upon their substance of choice for a period of time, it can be difficult to let go. Emotional withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, anger, depression, difficulty concentrating and periods of feeling restless. Addicts will commonly withdraw from social situations for a period of time because they just don’t feel like themselves.

Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms

On some occasions, withdrawal can carry some serious risks. People who are addicted to alcohol or some other types of drugs are at risk of experiencing seizures, strokes, heart attacks or other health problems that require immediate medical intervention.

Regardless of the level of addiction, withdrawal symptoms can be very challenging and extremely difficult to work through. For that reason, many people choose to go through withdrawal while they’re in an inpatient rehab setting. Relapses often occur when people attempt to stop using drugs or alcohol on their own without the professional guidance and therapy that’s available to them in inpatient rehab. Even so, every situation is different, and outpatient rehab has its benefits as well. It also works very well for some people as they recover.


Perhaps withdrawal is one of the things that is holding you back from beginning your own journey of recovery from drugs or alcohol. While it can be scary to think of what might happen, withdrawal isn’t something you have to go through by yourself. Help is available to you through every stage of your recovery.

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By |2018-12-29T05:09:05+00:00April 24th, 2015|

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