One of the hardest parts of recovery from addiction is addiction detox, and it is this that often prevents some people from reaching out for help. Many believe that the process is going to be far too painful and unpleasant, so they would rather continue with their addictive behaviour than attempt to quit.
You may have seen images of addiction detox in the movies or on television programmes, where an addict was suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms while going ‘cold turkey’. It is true that most people will experience some withdrawal symptoms when they quit alcohol or drugs, but it is also true that there is no way to know what symptoms a person will experience and how severe these are going to be until the detox begins.
Stages of Addiction Withdrawal
There are usually two stages of addiction – acute withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal. Most people assume that detox is a process that lasts for a few days and then is finished with, but some of the withdrawal symptoms can linger for many months, or even a couple of years.
It is the acute withdrawal symptoms that last for a few days to a couple of weeks while the post-acute withdrawal symptoms that can last for longer. During the acute withdrawals stage, most sufferers will experience physical symptoms that range from mild to severe. These are often described as flu-like and can cause the individual to feel quite unwell. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms tend to be less severe and are usually psychological. They can include the following:
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory problems
- Lack of coordination
- Repetitive thinking
- Mood swings
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Feelings of guilt.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome in Recovery
Developing post-acute withdrawal syndrome can be detrimental to a person’s recovery; this can be for several reasons. Those who are affected by continuing addiction withdrawal symptoms may become unsatisfied with their recovery and could be tempted to use this as a reason to return to drugs or alcohol.
Those who do relapse will be unlikely to find the motivation to get sober again, particularly because they have had an unpleasant or unsatisfying experience the first time around. Others may try to deal with their addiction withdrawal symptoms by replacing their substance addiction with another addiction such as work, shopping, or exercise addiction. Although these activities may seem harmless, developing an obsession with them can have an equally detrimental impact on a person’s life as their addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome can also lead to dry drunk syndrome, which can cause the individual to act in the same manner he or she did when addicted, despite being physically sober.
Why Does Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Occur
Those who have been abusing drugs or alcohol for a long time will take longer to recover. Addiction is an illness that affects the entire body, so regularly abusing a chemical substance will cause the body to adapt to its presence. It will take some time before the body adjusts to these chemicals no longer arriving.
Another reason for lingering addiction withdrawal symptoms is the fact that many addicts experience nutritional deficiencies caused by their substance abuse. Until their body gets back to normal, they may have to contend with ongoing symptoms.
How to Deal with Lingering Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
The thing about post-acute withdrawal symptoms is the fact that they tend to come and go. Some people will think they are over these problems only for them to reappear after a few weeks or even months of being symptom-free.
The good news is that there are many things you can go to deal with lingering addiction withdrawal symptoms as well as to speed up your recovery so that these symptoms subside quicker. One of the most effective methods for getting rid of post-acute withdrawal symptoms is to make sure you eat a balanced diet. Speak to your doctor about nutritional supplements that will help to counter any deficiencies you have because of your addiction.
Exercise and meditation can also help as both help to relieve stress and improve overall mental wellbeing.
Accessing Addiction Detox and Rehab
If the thoughts of detox and addiction withdrawal symptoms are preventing you from getting the help you need to overcome your illness, give us a call here at Addiction Helper. We know how scary the idea of detox can be, especially if you have never detoxed from drugs or alcohol before. We also know that the process can be made much safer and much more comfortable when carried out in a supervised detox facility.
We work alongside a host of organisations providing detox and addiction rehab, and we can put you in touch with a suitable provider in your area based on your requirements. For more information, contact us here today on our 24-hour helpline.