Recovery from different drugs causes different symptoms. These symptoms occur when a person has taken the drug enough times to develop a chemical dependency to it. The way the drug was administered can also play a role in determining how a person will respond physically and emotionally during rehabilitation and recovery. Withdrawal from alcohol, tranquilizers, and heroin can cause significant physical symptoms such as profuse sweating, heart palpitations, muscle tension, chest constriction, tremors, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Dangerous physical symptoms such as seizures, strokes, or even heart attacks in some patients have been known to occur if a person who is addicted to alcohol or tranquilizers abruptly stops ingesting them. This method of immediately stopping the use of any drug is usually referred to as “cold-turkey” and is not recommended.
Withdrawal from drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy produce minor and often short-lived physical symptoms. Each person will respond differently during rehabilitation. Some people may have more of an emotional response than a physical response to their rehabilitation process.
All drugs have the capability to produce the following emotional responses during rehabilitation: headaches, insomnia, anger, depression, anxiety, lack of focus, agitation, and a desire to isolate oneself from others. These emotional responses can occur with or without the presence of any physical symptoms.
Oxycontin, heroin, and morphine are some of the drugs that can cause immensely uncomfortable physical symptoms but are usually not dangerous unless other drugs have been abused as well.
There are two stages of withdrawal, the acute stage, which usually lasts for a few weeks, and the post-acute withdrawal stage (PAWS). During the acute stage, most if not all of the physical symptoms are experienced. During the post-acute stage most of the physical symptoms have passed and the emotional and psychological symptoms begin to take place. This occurs because during the course of the addiction, the brain’s chemistry was changed. During the progress of rehabilitation, psychological responses are caused by fluctuating brain chemistry as brain function slowly returns to normal.
PAWS can last up to two years so unfortunately it is not a fast process to get through. Mood swings, low energy, trouble concentrating, fatigue, and restless sleep are all common symptoms someone may experience when going through this stage. PAWS can seem impossible to get through so it is best to take each day as it comes, try to understand that the uncomfortable symptoms are an indication that the brain is repairing itself, and that recovery cannot be rushed. It is important to remember that resentment and anger will only make the emotional response worse and will slow down recovery. A person recovering from drug or alcohol addiction should remember to take care of themselves, enjoy the good days, and stay focused on their recovery.
They most effective method for treatment of drug or alcohol addiction is through an in-patient rehabilitation center. These facilities offer physical and psycho-therapeutic treatment. Withdrawal from drug addiction can be uncomfortable and unpleasant but if the desire for recovery is genuine, success can be gained one day at a time.