Trying to detox on your own from any substance is extremely dangerous. Depending on the drug of choice, withdrawal symptoms can be severe. No matter what substance you’re coming off of, you should never try to detox on your own. However, understanding the common withdrawal symptoms will familiarize you with what to expect.
For an extended period of time, your body has been excessively replenishing harmful chemicals with alcohol or drugs. Overall, this affects your body’s equilibrium. For example, the more you use, the more your body must adjust to what you’re consuming. However, when drug use stops, different neurotransmitters in the brain misfire.
Withdrawal symptoms affect the heart, and you may be at risk for cardiac arrest. Additionally, alcohol and benzodiazepines alter brain chemistry, so you’re at risk for seizures as well. These are the primary reasons why medical supervision during detox is so important.
Psychological symptoms of withdrawal vary. However, many people commonly go through anxiety and depression. Anxiety levels increase while you cognitively try to return to equilibrium. Depression occurs because your brain has trouble creating dopamine on its own.
Other psychological symptoms can include:
Over the course of an addiction, chemicals from the consumed substance cause the brain and body to adapt. At first, the body is unused to the presence of a substance, allowing for quick and potent highs. Over time, however, the body adjusts, and it takes more of a substance used more often to achieve the same high. As the body builds tolerance, the brain drives cravings, which in turn fuels the vicious cycle of addiction.
When a physical dependency is unfulfilled, the affected person undergoes withdrawal. Withdrawal is particularly severe for heavy users, and for users of alcohol, heroin, and benzos. This severity is dangerous not only to a person's health, but also to their recovery. If a person undergoes withdrawal but has access to their substance of choice, the urge to relapse will be very strong. Withdrawal is the first, and perhaps the most difficult, roadblock to your recovery.
Since withdrawal is so severe, doctors strongly recommend against going through withdrawal alone, aka "cold turkey." Instead, doctors recommend that patients seek detox treatment. At San Antonio Recovery Center, we offer detox programs for alcohol and heroin, for both men and women.
If you’re coming down from an upper like meth, cocaine, or narcotic stimulant medications, physical symptoms will affect you most. When detoxing from heroin, prescription painkillers, and alcohol you’ll also primarily experience physical symptoms. Some withdrawal symptoms, like seizures or delirium tremens (for alcoholics), can be fatal if left untreated. These symptoms are different for everyone, but the most common ones include nausea, body tremors, and flu-like symptoms.
Detox starts with withdrawal, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. The benefit of detox is that it takes place in a secure, medically monitored environment. Medical professionals monitor detox patients 24/7 to keep them comfortable and safe as their body purges the addictive substance.
Additionally, when detoxing from opiates and alcohol, there are medications that can help. These help you by tricking your brain into thinking it’s still using. Fortunately, they aren’t permanent replacement medications, so a medical professional helps taper you off.
San Antonio Recovery Center offers more than a heroin rehab program in San Antonio, Texas. We can guide you through the harrowing detoxification process involving any substance. Once you detox, we’ll help you easily transition to further levels of care. The comprehensive care we provide includes:
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