Drug and Alcohol - Addiction Recovery

Why Do People Experience Withdrawal Symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms happen when you stop using drugs and alcohol. We’ll help you through them. Contact The Forge Recovery Center today.

Why Do People Experience Withdrawal Symptoms?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

October 13, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

Withdrawal symptoms are a result of prolonged drug or alcohol use.

Using drugs or alcohol causes the neurotransmitters in your brain to respond by releasing chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. However, when you use drugs or alcohol consistently over an extended period, your brain starts to believe that it does not need to produce those chemicals anymore. After all, you are getting dopamine and serotonin, which are necessary for healthy function, from somewhere else.

When your brain is expecting these chemicals, and you suddenly stop taking the substance that is providing them, you will likely go into withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can have physical and mental effects. They can be so uncomfortable that people will relapse to make them stop.

Why Are Withdrawal Symptoms Uncomfortable?

The brain and body need to maintain homeostasis to remain healthy. Without proper levels of dopamine and serotonin, your body and brain can function appropriately. Until your body relearns how to make dopamine and serotonin at the necessary levels, you will likely experience discomfort.

Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the substance you are addicted to and how long you have been addicted. Anxiety, nausea, and insomnia are universal symptoms of withdrawal that can occur regardless of the severity of your addiction. However, more complex addictions can cause psychosis, suicidal ideations, intense cravings, seizures, and other severe medical complications during withdrawal.

In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening.

How Can I Make Withdrawal Easier?

Part of recovery is accepting that withdrawal is not going to be easy. Detox is a complex process that will be unpleasant and cause discomfort. However, completing detox successfully is worth it as it will free you from the financial, emotional, and mental stress the addiction causes in your everyday life. Once you accept that living your life by your addiction’s rules is more uncomfortable than withdrawal, detox will be an easier process.

Besides adopting this mindset, you can make withdrawal easier by choosing to detox at a qualified facility.

How Can a Detox Center Make Withdrawal Easier?

Detox centers across the country can reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings by providing certain medications. Depending on the substance you are addicted to, some medications can be used to ease your withdrawal symptoms and cravings. For example, detox from alcohol and detoxing from opioids may be treated with medically assisted detox.

Other medical interventions may be available to make you more comfortable during detox from other addictions.

Detox centers can also provide you with the support you need as you start your recovery journey. They offer an environment completely free of drugs and alcohol so that you will not relapse during this crucial transition.

They can also take care of your mental health and keep your family updated as you go through withdrawal.

How Do I Know Which Detox Center Is Right for Me?

Going cold turkey without medical supervision can be dangerous and counterproductive. If your withdrawal symptoms become severe, you will be more likely to relapse or experience health complications that could cause serious harm to you.

Whether or not you need to go to a detox facility should be decided by your doctor or another qualified medical professional. For those addicted to nicotine, marijuana, or other substances that do not produce severe withdrawal symptoms, your doctor will likely prescribe you medications to manage your withdrawal symptoms and check in with you occasionally to help you with your smoking cessation efforts.

However, if you are addicted to a more complex substance like alcohol, cocaine, opiates, or methamphetamine, you will likely be recommended to an inpatient or outpatient detox facility.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Detox

In an inpatient detox facility, you will be monitored 24/7 and placed in an environment free of drugs and alcohol. Inpatient treatment is usually reserved for those with severe addictions with severe withdrawal symptoms to ensure that medical intervention can be taken if necessary. Additionally, it is impossible to cave into cravings in an inpatient facility, which can help you avoid relapse when your symptoms become intense.

Outpatient facilities are reserved for those with mild to moderate addictions. People recommended to outpatient facilities usually experience withdrawal symptoms, but they are not debilitating to the extent of needing 24/7 care. In an outpatient facility, you will go to the center two to three times a week to receive medications and support from your care team, but you still be able to continue living your daily life. 

If you are considering going to an outpatient facility, be sure you have a proper support system and are committed to staying clean. Unlike inpatient detox, outpatient detox allows you the freedom to use again while you are experiencing withdrawal. For this reason, it is essential to consult with a physician to ensure it is the best chance for your recovery.

How Do I Find a Good Detox Center?

If you have consulted with a medical professional, they may be able to recommend a good detox facility. However, it is always good to do some research of your own to ensure you end up at a detox facility that matches your values. You have a better chance of making a full recovery when you feel comfortable with the space you are in and your treatment team.

It can be helpful for you to contact a facility you are interested in and then interview them about their program.

This can help you determine if their facility is a good fit for your detox.

The Forge Recovery Center Will Find the Best Detox Center for You

Our drug treatment center partners with the best drug detox providers in our area. With these trusted partnerships, we’re able to ensure our clients’ first steps into recovery are the best possible.

Withdrawal symptoms are rough – and dangerous – alone. Don’t risk it. Contact The Forge Recovery Center today and start your path to recovery.

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