Drug withdrawal is very common in substance abusers. Symptoms
can present themselves in several ways including but not limited
to stress sensitivity, sleep disturbances, memory problems, impaired
concentration, emotional overreaction or numbness and cravings.
Substance abusers in early recovery often struggle with situations
which bring about stress. It is important to remember that addicts
while in active addiction participated in addictive behaviors as a
means to cope or get away from the stressful events. Many times
addicts describe themselves as raw. Treatment needs to include
coping skills to replace the abusive behaviors.
Sleep disturbance should subside as time passes. Non-addictive
medications may be prescribed by a medical provider. Non-medication
interventions such as creating a regular routine and sleep schedule
can be helpful. In addition, exercise is a great way to burn energy
and assist in reducing drug withdrawal symptoms. Forgetfulness is also
common in drug withdrawal and can be stress provoking. It may be useful
to write down a daily schedule or list of activities each day.
Attention-Deficit disorder is not uncommon with substance abusers
particularly during drug withdrawal. These individuals struggle with
focusing and may be easily distracted. Addicts commonly describe feeling
either no emotions or flooded. This can be particularly distressing during
drug withdrawal, however in time it will pass. Those in early recovery are
encouraged to verbalize either their lack of emotions or risk being
overwhelmed by them. Utilizing mood journals can be beneficial. A mood
journal is sometimes used by a therapist in working with a client to
help track thoughts and break thoughts down as rational versus irrational.
Cravings during drug withdrawal may arise from a triggers (physical, sensory
or emotional). Often times anxiety during drug withdrawl refer to triggers
as people, places, and things. The cravings often bring about anxiety and
depression symptoms. Some people in treatment think they won’t experience
any cravings due to being in treatment. Of course, this is usually not the
Talking about triggers in and out of treatment can be helpful. While in
a treatment program, it is important to communicate triggers to family
members. This is important as family members can be helpful in noticing
body cues in the substance abuser when they are experiencing a craving.
Utilizing thought stopping techniques such as rubber band therapy which
may involve placing a rubber band around your wrist and snapping yourself
when experiencing a craving can be a helpful technique as well.
Interestingly, drug withdrawal does not always show itself consistantly.
The symptoms do seem to come about at times of increased stress. It is
important to remember that emotional sobriety is equally as important as
physical. If the emotional aspect of addiction is ignored, relapse may be
more likely. Drug withdrawal should never be attempted alone as it can
be deadly. If you, a family member or friend are considering seeking help,
please contact Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center.