Drug withdrawal is not only uncomfortable – it can also be dangerous. Learn about withdrawal causes and symptoms to understand why receiving professional treatment for drug addiction is so important.
Causes of Withdrawal
While heroin, cocaine, alcohol, methamphetamine, and other such substances have the ability to wreak havoc on an individual’s life, there are certain substances that can render monumental damage that could be life-threatening. Drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine can cause a woman to become addicted after just a few uses. Conversely, some substances, like alcohol, may be used for a long period of time, but not cause her to display the signs of addiction right away. However, regardless of how long it may take a person to develop an addiction, chemical dependency is a concern that warrants professional care in order to overcome it.
Drugs such as heroin, prescription painkillers, and methamphetamine, as well as alcohol, can lead to addiction and cause a person to develop a tolerance for them. Tolerance means that an individual’s system has adapted to the presence of the substance and requires it in order to maintain functioning. In the absence of the substance, however, her body will then have to readjust to performing without it. Known as withdrawal, an individual’s psychological and physical functioning are interrupted during this process of readjustment, and a person is likely to experience a wide range of symptoms that can be both distressing and uncomfortable, and sometimes even fatal.
The presence of withdrawal symptoms almost always signifies that a person is grappling with a form of chemical dependency and is in need of professional help. And because these symptoms can pose a great deal of risk to a person’s health, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of withdrawal so that proper care can be sought and received as quickly as possible.
Signs of Withdrawal
Emergency medical attention is often warranted when a person displays symptoms of withdrawal. When an individual begins to experience the effects of no longer having a particular substance or substances in her system, these effects can be severe depending on the substance or substances that were being previously used. For this reason, it is crucial to be able to identify the signs of withdrawal and know when medical treatment is needed.
The following are a few examples of withdrawal symptoms that a person may display once the use of drugs and/or alcohol has stopped:
- Sleep disturbances
- Vision problems
- Weight changes
- Shakiness / tremors
- Overwhelming cravings for the substance
- Stomach cramping
- Changes in appetite
- Accelerated heartrate
- Bone pain
- Runny nose
- Noticeable shifts in mood
- Self-harming behaviors
- Suicidal ideation
- Memory impairment
- Poor concentration
- Teary/watery eyes
- Lethargy / Fatigue
- Muscle pain
- Dysregulated body temperature
If you are unsure as to whether you or someone you care about is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, it is best err on the side of caution and call 9-1-1 in order to be safe.
Why Seek Treatment for Addiction
Generally speaking, addiction can destroy a person’s life if treatment and engagement in recovery are not sought. Prolonged addiction to drugs and/or alcohol can render a number of potentially irreversible outcomes. Withdrawal symptoms can become more severe if an individual’s addiction worsens and if that that person stops using the substance of without help. Additionally, the ever-present risk of overdose remains high. An overdose can occur if the individual ingests more of a drug than her body can handle at a time. Fortunately, there are options for care that can mitigate these effects and save a person’s life.
Residential treatment, for example, is a treatment option that has transformed the lives of countless women who have struggled with addictions to substances. Within this level of care, women can step away from their everyday lives to focus on healing and recovering so that they can develop the skills and confidence needed to live the sober lives they deserve. Residential treatment also features invaluable interventions that are able to help individuals understand chemical dependency in a meaningful way. Additionally, this level of care allows women to participate in detoxification services, or detox, so that the process of withdrawal is less distressing and as comfortable and safe as possible.
As a leading provider of eating disorder, substance abuse, and mood disorder treatment for adolescent girls and adult women, we at Timberline Knolls understand how difficult it is to battle an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. For this reason, our world class center supplies the type of treatment that is truly needed to defeat a wide range of substance use problems so that those entrusted into our care can both reach and exceed their treatment goals.
If you would like to learn more about our programming, feel free to contact us today. At Timberline Knolls, a brighter future in recovery awaits.