Are you looking to get sober from alcohol and drugs? If so, one thing you probably have on your mind is the withdrawal process. For many people, withdrawal can be the hardest part of overcoming their addiction. Withdrawal often comes with severe side effects, which can range from nausea to headaches to hallucinations.
Luckily, there are things you can do to make the withdrawal process a bit easier. Check out this guide to discover how to deal with withdrawal.
What is Withdrawal?
Before we talk about how to deal with withdrawal, we first need to answer the question, “What is withdrawal?”
Withdrawal refers to the mental and physical changes someone goes through when they stop using alcohol or drugs after a prolonged period of use.
As we mentioned earlier, the symptoms of withdrawal can vary widely. The symptoms you experience will depend on a number of different factors, including:
- How long you were using
- How frequently and heavily you used
- The type of drugs you were using
- Your general physical and mental health
- Your gender, age, and weight
With that being said, some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Poor appetite
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Poor memory
- Poor concentration
- Dizziness and headaches
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
- Muscle tension, tremors, twitches, aches, or shakes
- Tingling or sweating
There are also some symptoms of withdrawal that can be potentially life-threatening. These include:
- Heart attacks
- Grand mal seizures
- Delirium Tremens
If you experience any dangerous withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.
How to Deal With Withdrawal: The Top Tips
Now that you have a better idea of what withdrawal looks like, let’s talk about some of the top tips that will help you deal with withdrawal:
1. Attend a Medical Detox Program
Attending a medical detox program is considered the best way to deal with withdrawal symptoms and make it through the withdrawal period safely and successfully.
Typically, medical detox programs last between 5 and 10 days. During this time, you’ll be surrounded by medical professionals 24/7. Not only will these professionals help you manage your symptoms, but they can also give you life-saving care should you experience any life-threatening symptoms (such as a stroke or delirium tremens).
Staff will also provide you with emotional support as well as medications to help you manage your symptoms and cravings. While many people are wary of medical detox because they like the idea of staying within the confines and comfort of their own home, this is truly the most surefire way to make sure your detox is successful, and you withdraw safely.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
A loss of appetite is a very common withdrawal symptom. However, even if you’re not hungry, it’s still important that you eat nutritious, well-balanced meals through the withdrawal process.
This will help you keep your energy levels up and keep your brain and body healthy. Your diet should consist of whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Try to stay away from processed foods, refined sugars, saturated fats, and oils. Also, remember to drink plenty of water, as the withdrawal process can often leave you feeling dehydrated.
3. Exercise Regularly
When you’re feeling nauseous, weak, and tired, the last thing you probably want to do is exercise. But, a daily dose of exercise can really help you get through the withdrawal process.
When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins. These endorphins are necessary for restoring the chemical imbalance in your brain.
Plus, exercise can reduce your stress levels, improve your energy levels and self-esteem, and help you regulate your sleep schedule. In fact, various studies published in Frontiers in Psychology show that regular exercise can help reduce compulsive drug cravings and reduce the chance of relapse.
And, to reap the benefits of exercise, you don’t need to kill yourself for hours in the gym. Even just a brisk 30-minute walk can work wonders for your withdrawal symptoms.
4. Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Sticking to a structured sleep schedule can also make the withdrawal process easier.
When you’re well-rested, you’ll be better able to control your mood swings and cravings. To establish a healthy sleep schedule, we suggest going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
Ideally, you want to both go to bed early and wake up early. To make it easier for you to fall asleep early, make sure you’re avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime. Stimulating activities include exercising, watching TV, or scrolling on your phone.
Instead, pick a bedtime activity that helps you unwind such as reading, doing a crossword, meditating, or doing some gentle stretching. It’s also a good idea to set an alarm in the mornings to ensure you wake up on time.
The withdrawal process can be very difficult, which is why it’s so important to surround yourself with a solid support system.
One of the best things you can do is to join a support group in your area, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. These support groups can offer you encouragement as well as tips for staying sober.
Also, if you choose not to detox in a medically-supervised setting, we suggest enlisting a family member or friend to stay with you through the withdrawal process. This person can act as an accountability buddy, and they can also help ensure that you stay safe through the withdrawal process.
How to Deal With Withdrawal: Time to Start Your Journey
Now that you know how to deal with withdrawal, it’s time to start your journey. Before you know it, your withdrawal days will be long behind you, and you’ll be on the road to recovery.
Also, if you’re interested in enrolling in an addiction treatment program as a part of your recovery, contact us today.