Drug detox & withdrawal is very common in substance abusers. Symptoms can present themselves in several ways including but not limited to stress sensitivity, sleep disturbances, memory problems, impaired concentration, emotional overreaction or numbness and cravings. Substance abusers in early recovery often struggle with situations which bring about stress. It is important to remember that addicts while in active addiction participated in addictive behaviors as a means to cope or get away from the stressful events. Many times addicts describe themselves as raw. Treatment needs to include coping skills to replace the abusive behaviors.
Sleep disturbances will subside as time passes & non-addictive medications may be prescribed by a medical provider. Non-medication interventions such as creating a regular routine and sleep schedule can be helpful. In addition, exercise is a great way to burn energy and assist in reducing drug detox withdrawal symptoms. Forgetfulness is also common in drug withdrawal and can be stress provoking. It may be useful to write down a daily schedule or list of activities each day.
Attention-deficit disorder is not uncommon with substance abusers particularly during drug detox. These individuals struggle with focusing and may be easily distracted. Addicts commonly describe feeling either no emotions or flooded. This can be particularly distressing during detox, however in time it will pass. Those in early recovery are encouraged to verbalize either their lack of emotions or risk being overwhelmed by them. Utilizing mood journals can be beneficial. A mood journal is sometimes used by a therapist in working with a client to help track thoughts and break thoughts down as rational versus irrational.
Cravings during drug detox may arise from a triggers (physical, sensory or emotional). Often times anxiety during drug withdrawal refer to triggers as people, places and things. The cravings often bring about anxiety and depression symptoms. Some people in treatment think they won’t experience any cravings due to being in treatment. Of course, this is usually not the case & use of the drug suboxone may be necessary.
Talking about triggers in and out of treatment can be helpful. While in a treatment program, it is important to communicate triggers to family members. This is important as family members can be helpful in noticing body cues in the substance abuser when they are experiencing a craving. Utilizing thought stopping techniques such as rubber band therapy which may involve placing a rubber band around your wrist and snapping yourself when experiencing a craving can be a helpful technique as well.
Interestingly, drug detox does not always show itself consistently. The symptoms do seem to come about at times of increased stress. It is important to remember that emotional sobriety is equally as important as physical. If the emotional aspect of addiction is ignored, relapse may be more likely. Drug withdrawal & detox should never be attempted alone as it can be deadly.