By its very nature, drug addiction is not something you can get rid of very easily. The condition itself compels you to keep taking your substance of choice, or maybe even experiment with other drugs you haven’t tried yet.
But it’s not like getting high on drugs is worth the pain caused by the adverse effects of addiction. Some people can’t quit, simply because they can’t quit. It’s physically impossible for them to do so. It’s not just the compelling aspect of drug abuse that’s preventing them from getting better. There is another element that maintains their drug addiction—and it’s what we’re going to talk about today.
This article is all about withdrawal, and how it maintains drug addiction.
What is Withdrawal?
To understand withdrawal, you need to know about the concept of dependence. When a person abuses a substance, they slowly become dependent on it. It’s like a step up from drug tolerance.
A person takes large doses of a drug to get high and become euphoric. In the process, their body learns to adapt to its presence, lessening the effects of the drug over time. Once they become tolerant, the user will try to recreate the sensations they used to feel by taking more and more of the drug.
After a while, the person becomes physically dependent on the drug. At this point, their body has grown used to having the substance, and now reacts negatively when it is not detected in the system. Withdrawal is what we call the negative reaction that happens when a dependent person attempts to quit the drug abruptly.
Withdrawal prevents a person from actively pursuing sobriety. Some may get discouraged by it and stop trying altogether. Some people see it as a wakeup call and start seeking professional help.
If you are physically dependent on a substance, it is never a good idea to try and quit on your own, especially if you do it abruptly, because withdrawal can be fatal.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawal?
Dealing with withdrawal is very difficult. Trying to manage it on your own is dangerous, and can only lead to relapse. Drug dependent individuals won’t be able to function normally without taking it. They will also feel intense cravings whenever they go for extended periods without it.
Identifying the symptoms of withdrawal can help you understand what to do about it.
Withdrawal symptoms may vary depending on the person’s drug of choice, health condition, and substance abuse history. But common withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, sweating, hot flashes, weakness, body aches, headaches, and coma.
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How to Deal with Withdrawal
The best way to deal with withdrawal—and addiction itself—is to seek professional treatment. The addicted person will need a combination medical detox and behavioral therapy in order to safely manage their dependence.
During rehab, the patient’s drug intake will be lowered gradually, so that withdrawal symptoms don’t become deadly. These symptoms will be treated by experience medical staff. The patient will also learn various ways to stay sober through techniques like counseling and addiction education.
If you or someone you care about is suffering from addiction, dependence, and withdrawal, you should know that all hope is not yet lost. It’s hard to beat addiction, but it’s certainly possible. Look for an addiction treatment center near you and fight the effects of drug abuse today!