For many people who struggle with substance abuse, a life that feels like it’s led by addiction is a challenge. Even if they still feel pleasurable sensations when they use the drug, the negative effects to their health, career, relationships, and finances are probably taking a toll on their lives. Some people have trouble stopping their drug use alone, however. They may feel terrible when they try to quit, leading them to ask, “What is withdrawal?”
What Is Withdrawal?
If you’ve ever tried to stop using drugs, you might have felt sick, nauseous, shaky or extremely irritable. This could have been due to an illness. It’s more likely that you were going through withdrawal.
To understand withdrawal, it’s important to recognize how drugs affect your body. Many drugs change the way your brain operates. They can replace natural chemicals that your body produces to make you feel good. When this happens, your body starts to rely on the drugs in order to feel normal.
Some substances cause your brain to change physically. Others, like alcohol, slow down the operation of your major organs. Opioids trick your body into thinking that it’s getting pleasure, and you stop naturally producing feel-good chemicals.
If you eliminate a drug from your system, you throw it out of the equilibrium that has been created by the substance abuse. Your body reacts violently. The natural processes that keep you physically and psychologically well have been altered, and it takes time for you to regain balance. During that time, you’ll experience symptoms of withdrawal.
How Quickly Can Withdrawal Occur?
Every drug has a different withdrawal timeline. Symptoms and duration depend on the individual’s level of dependency and the length of time for which the person has been using the drug. Medical and psychological factors can also play a role in withdrawal.
On average, withdrawal symptoms come on within 6 to 12 hours after the last dose. People who have been using drugs with a short half-life, like cocaine or Xanax, might experience withdrawal symptoms within 90 minutes.
What Is Withdrawal Like?
How do you know if you’re going through withdrawal after you’ve stopped using a drug? Most people feel like they have a bad case of the flu. You may experience tremors, nausea, anxiety, and headaches. A telltale sign of withdrawal is an intense craving for more drugs. In most cases, using the drug again will alleviate the physical symptoms. However, it will send you into the downward spiral that you’re trying to avoid.
If you’re afraid to go through withdrawal alone, you can get compassionate support. Serenity House Detox & Recovery offers substance abuse treatment programs to ease you through withdrawal from various substances:
If you have been wondering, “What is withdrawal?” Call Serenity House Detox & Recovery at 866-294-5306. We can explain what to expect so that you can begin your route to recovery with confidence and comfort.