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Overcoming Withdrawal Symptoms

Aug 20, 2020

Individuals with a substance use disorder who eliminate addictive substances from their lives will often feel the physical effects of what’s known as “withdrawal symptoms.” According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, withdrawal is the onset of predictable signs and symptoms following the abrupt discontinuation of or decrease in the dosage of a psychoactive substance. Understanding the importance of the detoxification or “detox” process is critical to a successful recovery. Once your body is rid of the harmful substances that used to encompass you, you will have to relearn how to function without that particular substance. The physical and psychological effects of alcohol or drug use can continue long after these substances have been removed from the body. Without proper treatment, those with the disease of addiction are unlikely to achieve lasting sobriety.

What is detox?

Detoxification, or a medical detox, is the process of addictive toxins leaving your body. The goal is to end the initial symptoms of withdrawal, which can range from minor to life-threatening. Symptoms depend on various factors, including the substance being used, as well as the lifespan of use. Detox is often one of the first things you’ll encounter when entering inpatient treatment. For many, this is considered to be one of the more uncomfortable and even painful experiences of recovery. Studies show that during the first week of treatment, when detox takes place, many substance users decide to leave treatment.

Medical supervision is essential.

Because substances, such as alcohol and drugs, can have adverse effects on both the body and the chemicals in the brain, it is imperative to complete this detoxification process under medical supervision. A team of doctors and nurses can evaluate and help oversee the patient’s withdrawal process and help lessen the discomfort of detox. Additionally, immediate medical intervention at the first sign of dangerous symptoms or complications will be possible.

Co-occurring disorders frequently will present themselves during detox.

In many cases, co-occurring disorders will become present during detox. Once you have eliminated the substances that were suppressing emotions, it is not uncommon for specific disorders to become apparent. Once you are no longer under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can begin to think more clearly and rationally. Substance use often hinders the ability to see underlying mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Because both substance use disorders and mental health disorders impact a person’s well-being, diagnosing both disorders can be difficult. Many times, their symptoms overlap. People often receive treatment for one disorder, while the other remains untreated. The detox process can play a crucial role in diagnosing underlying mental health conditions, in turn resulting in a more definitive treatment plan.

Recovery is possible.

Completing detox and overcoming withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and drug use is a vital and courageous first step in long-term recovery. Understanding detox and withdrawal symptoms can better help prepare you or a loved one when entering a treatment.


Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 866-875-1558.

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