Why Withdrawal Is Uncomfortable
At the point of a tolerance or dependence, depending on the drug abused, someone’s brain can be so altered, they cannot cope without the drug. The individual undergoes harsh effects of trying to suddenly get sober while shocking the body and depriving it of the drugs it has become used to. Furthermore, if they decide to suddenly quit and attempt to detox by quitting “cold turkey,” they can have problems functioning as the body and mind may intensely crave the substance.
In cases of strong substances like Opioids and alcohol, individuals enduring addiction can find withdrawal a challenge, sometimes relapsing if attempting to quit. It should be noted that withdrawal symptoms will vary based on the type of drug abused, the quantity, frequency, and when someone has last abused the drug. Lastly, if drugs have been combined, this will impact withdrawal symptoms, all which can be helped with detox.
What Detox Does
The purpose of medically supervised detox is to restore the body and mind to a healthier state before treatment. Individuals use medication to manage and lessen symptoms associated with withdrawal and cravings. Combined with the company of medical staff and support groups, medically supervised detox done right can make withdrawal a better experience. The result can be a smoother transition into recovery and a more comfortable journey while feeling any withdrawal symptoms. The intensity and discomfort of withdrawal can be decreased, and any challenges the individual faces can be met with care.
Detox is typically best done with the help of a medical professional who provides medications and hands-on support. Many are encouraged to make frequent check-ups on patients so they are able to help them as needed.
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How Detox Makes Alcohol Withdrawal More Comfortable
In cases of alcohol abuse, those who suffer from alcoholism can undergo changes in the brain chemistry, which make withdrawal symptoms more intensive. Symptoms of withdrawal can happen within a 6 to 24 hour range, stretching up to 10 days. In some cases, withdrawal effects of alcohol can be fatal, which is why detox and medication is vital. Detox can help someone feel both safe and comfortable undergoing alcohol withdrawal by giving them care to ensure the individual is healthy as possible. Individuals get support for seizures and hallucinations that, if experienced in an unsupervised setting, could be extremely scary and potentially deadly. Getting medically supervised detox can provide relief by introducing medication to offset alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as:
High blood pressure
Delirium Tremens is a severe effect of alcohol withdrawal which causes extreme visual and auditory hallucinations. Furthermore, individuals experience agitation, confusion, seizures, and cannot withstand light. It is highly severe and often difficult to endure. Detox can help provide a feeling of safety while enduring such challenges.
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Due to the unpredictability of alcohol withdrawal, detox medications should be administered in a controlled and measured manner. Drugs like Librium and Benzodiazepines can offset the impact of alcohol cravings and withdrawal. These medications should be taken in the care of professionals who can monitor how they are affecting the patient. Lastly, medically supervised detox makes withdrawal more comfortable as patients can feel a sense of safety knowing they are professionally-monitored and assisted through their recovery process.
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How Detox Can Make Opioid Withdrawal More Comfortable
Opioid abuse has taken the lives of millions. Often stemming from an addiction to prescription Opioids, patients who suffer chronic pain and begin with OxyCodone or Hydrocodone get addicted, and if they run out or crave stronger Opioids, transition to street Opioids like Heroin or Fentanyl. Once someone begins experimenting with Opioids, they may increase their frequency of use. Once they become addicted, it is extremely difficult to stop. As a result those battling Opioid dependence become used to the euphoric chemicals that they begin to crave; once they stop, they may begin to feel the following:
Drugs like Heroin and Fentanyl produce intense withdrawal symptoms. Those battling PAWS that stem from Heroin or alcohol withdrawal go through a series of side effects ranging from sweats to anxiety. These will depend on short or long acting Opioids and the frequency or Opioid drug abused. Drugs like Naltrexone, Methadone, and Antidepressants can be beneficial for Opioid withdrawal.
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Emotional Support During Detox
Emotional support in times of distress and uncertainty can provide the motivation and encouragement needed to commit to a detox plan. Enduring such withdrawal symptoms can be difficult; as a result, some can relapse or experience depression, anxiety, and isolation. Medical detox includes staff who are available to guide patients and comfort them during the intensity of withdrawal.
This allows patients to be in positive environments with staff who can provide validation and reassurance as needed. Being in the care of such staff during dark times can inspire and encourage patients to commit and see the value in detox. Patients can choose inpatient or outpatient care, both offering different benefits.
Detox And Drug Dependence
Addiction can occur due to genetic factors, emotional imbalances, or chemical impulses in the brain. In other cases, some who abuse drugs can purely enjoy the euphoria that stems from drug abuse. Once an addiction occurs, the individual is under the influence of a substance which emit chemicals that can alter behavior, physical appearance, and brain function. Withdrawing from substance use disorders causes individuals to crave drugs which have harsh effects on the body and mind.
Get The Help You Deserve
The idea of detox may seem intimidating and uncertain. Fortunately, there are many ways to get the comfort you seek when making a decision to get sober. If you or a loved one seeks recovery from harmful chemicals, contact a treatment provider to get answers to treatment related questions. Make the life-changing decision to get clean and get the help and support you need.
Ashish Bhatt, MD, MRO
Doctor of Addiction Medicine
Learn about Dr. Ashish Bhatt
Dr. Bhatt has been Addiction Center's Medical Content Director for more than three years, providing his expertise to ensure quality and accuracy.
Doctor of Addiction Medicine
Expert in adult and child psychiatry
Over 20 years of professional experience