Common Withdrawal Side Effects and How Not to Be Afraid of Them

Common Withdrawal Side Effects and How Not to Be Afraid of Them

Abdominal cramping is a late symptom of withdrawal

Even when under the supervision of medical addiction professionals, the side effects of drug withdrawal can be overwhelming. By applying three tips, you can push through the symptoms and begin to regain control of your life. But don’t read this article thinking you will find a quick and easy way to clean life. No such thing exists.

Common Withdrawal Side Effects

The first order of business is to ensure any misconceptions you may have about withdrawals are removed. You have to start from a solid base of facts. There are certain symptoms that are shared when experiencing withdrawal from any addictive substance:

  • Mood disturbances – This might include increased agitation or irritability, as well as mood swings.
  • Sleep disturbances – A common way this is experienced is extreme exhaustion paired with insomnia.
  • Cravings – The most familiar withdrawal side effect; your brain and body yearn for the substances you have abused because it is accustomed to getting it regularly.
  • Physical issues – Chills, sweats, shakiness, flu symptoms, nausea and vomiting are all regularly recurring instances of the physical issues that accompany withdrawals.

Alcohol has a specific set of symptoms more commonly experienced in withdrawal. Jumpiness or an increase in anxiety is common for detoxing alcoholics. Sweating, nausea and vomiting also accompany withdrawals, as do depression and irritability. Lastly, fatigue, headaches and loss of appetite are part of the package of alcohol withdrawals.

Opiates follow a two-stage pattern of withdrawal symptoms. The early withdrawals symptoms include muscle aches, runny nose, sweating, agitation, insomnia and yawning. Late symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goose bumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Withdrawals are Inconvenient not Life Threatening

The first key to overcoming any fears you might have about withdrawals is that they are generally not life threatening. The first few days of detoxification can be dangerous, as you might consider thoughts of self harm or lash out at others. But outside of those early days, withdrawals symptoms are inconvenient or temporary pain. You are making a trade off, in which you experience pain, perhaps even terrible pain, in exchange for freedom from the grips of your addiction.

When you are in the throes of your withdrawal symptoms, it is easy to believe the lie that this is going to kill you. It won’t. The sooner you refuse to allow that thought to have weight in your mind, the quicker you will be able to move forward.

Take the Long Term View of any Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawals are terribly painful, and often result in a sense of despair or increased frustration. But, you have to keep your eyes on the long term prize. The goal, after all, is not to have a life of convenience. The goal is to have a clean life.

If you are able to keep your eyes on the long term goal, this will give you the motivation to push through when things get terrible. Take the time to picture a better future, and allow this to motivate you.  Imagine what it would be like to have some restored relationships, or to move into a better career path.

You are not Alone

There are no shortcuts to a clean life. You didn’t arrive at the point overnight, and you won’t be able to get out in a few minutes. It takes guts. It takes strength. It takes courage. But you can do it, if you don’t quit. When you feel beat up, remember there is help available.

The most important thing to remember as you begin contemplating detox and the resultant withdrawal symptoms is that you are not in this battle on your own. It may feel as though you have been abandoned by everyone, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your family is rooting for you to regain health. Your healthy friends miss the real you, the one that is hiding underneath the addiction. Beyond that, you have professionals who are trained in the process of addiction recovery, and will be with you every step of the way.

At the end of the day, this is a decision you have to make for yourself though. You have to find the strength to push through temporary pain in order to gain the greater good, because you want to have a better life. Nobody can make you push through when the cravings become intense. You have to choose to live a clean life.

If you feel like your strength is gone, there is support available. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about your substance abuse. They can help you find your way.