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Withdrawal: Types and Symptoms

Many individuals who are struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol have a difficult time stopping use of the substances due to fear of withdrawal. The types of withdrawal can affect how a person feels during the process and how long it lasts.

Other factors play a role in withdrawal as well, and those factors can include age, overall health, mental health, the substances being used, and the amount being used. However, regardless of the type, withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, especially if done without medical supervision.

Why Withdrawal Occurs

Withdrawal, or detox is the first and one of the most crucial steps in addiction recovery. Individuals who struggle with drugs and alcohol must remove the substances from their body in order to grasp and implement new coping skills.

Using substances regularly, whether it be alcohol, prescription medications, or other illicit substances, can lead the body to become dependent on the substance. When someone undergoes a detox regimen, they remove these substances in a safe environment. Withdrawal occurs because the body becomes dependent on the substances, and requires it in order to feel “normal” and function properly.

When the substance is abruptly stopped, and no longer introduced to the body, it then is essentially in a state of shock. The body becomes accustomed to a certain substance and when it is no longer available, it begins to work to remove it from the system. This is where the different types of withdrawal can occur.

Post-Acute Withdrawal

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS, is a condition that can affect individuals who struggle with substances. Acute withdrawal is what individuals who undergo detox endure. It is characterized by symptoms like fatigue, nausea, muscle aches and cramps, as well as mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety.

PAWS is a condition that can occur as a result of the brain rewiring and learning to function without the substances. The symptoms of PAWS can generally occur a few weeks into addiction recovery and affect the individual’s mental health greatly.

This is one of the types of withdrawal that can be dangerous. Due to depression and anxiety, many people return to using the substance. This is why it is highly suggested and crucial to receive proper care and support to maintain long-term recovery.

Protracted Withdrawal

Similar to PAWS, protracted withdrawal is also characterized by persistent mental health effects that can impact a person’s everyday life. Often, people who undergo detox and remove the substances from their system experience depression, anxiety, and extreme mood swings.

Managing these symptoms is crucial. Professional detox can help these individuals manage the symptoms and learn positive coping skills to prevent relapse in the future if these symptoms persist.

Physical Signs of Withdrawal

The types of withdrawal that occur due to substances like drugs and alcohol have their symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal occurs when an individual abruptly stops using substances that the body has become accustomed to, and is dependent on. The signs of withdrawal can vary by the substances being used, however they can be similar.

The signs that could be indicative of withdrawal can include nausea, sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting. Lack of appetite, muscle pain, restlessness, and tremors can also be signs of withdrawal. Addressing these symptoms is vital for healing and learning how to live without the substances. 

Mental and Emotional Signs of Withdrawal

Mental health concerns that could be indicative of withdrawal can include depression, anxiety, and disorientation. Other signs can include insomnia as well as impaired cognitive functionality.

Bursts of anger and extreme mood swings are also signs indicative of potential withdrawal. They should be addressed to prevent further impacts to the individual’s wellness.

The types of withdrawal can be managed if done in a professional setting. Additionally, monitored by medical professionals can reduce the symptoms. Healing is possible, and addiction treatment can help.

The Value of Treatment and Detox

The different types of withdrawal are best managed and treated in a professional detox setting. Professional detox provides a safe and healing environment that can be beneficial for those just starting their recovery journey.

Removing the substances from their system, while having medical monitoring to address any new symptoms that may arise can help. Once detox is completed, treating the root causes of addiction can begin.

This is done through group and individual therapies as well as holistic approaches that can benefit anyone struggling with addiction. Through residential, PHP, and outpatient programs, necessary life skills can be gained, and long-term recovery can be achieved.

Transform Addiction and Heal 

Addiction is a condition that affects the lives of thousands of people across the country. It can impact every aspect of the individual’s life. From interpersonal relationships to physical and emotional health. Many aren’t aware that help for overcoming addiction is available.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol, we can help. At Enlightened Recovery, we strive to provide a safe and healing environment. Here, individuals can begin a journey of recovery to grow and heal.

Reach out today and begin your journey to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Begin Your Recovery at Enlightened Recovery

Enlightened Recovery is here to help you or your loved one overcome drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders. Our holistic treatment programs treat the whole person in recovery. We have locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Get the help that you deserve now with Enlightened Recovery.