signs of drug withdrawal

Whether you use drugs to treat a medical condition or for recreational purposes, you may not always realize when you have developed a dependence. What once eased pain, anxiety, or depression, may have become necessary just to get out of bed in the morning. How do you know when your drug use has transitioned to addiction? Withdrawal symptoms may be the first indication that there is a problem. Awareness of the common sign of drug withdrawal can let you know if you need help from a drug detox center

Common Signs of Withdrawal

When you become addicted to drugs, changes occur in the brain that can alter how you respond to stimuli. Drugs interact with neurotransmitters in the brain to impart feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and relief from pain. Over time, your brain becomes less effective at producing these feelings on its own, and you require drugs to feel happiness, calm, and comfort. If you discontinue using the substance, your brain will resist its absence. As a result, it will produce various physical, emotional, and mental symptoms known as withdrawal.

Once you notice withdrawal symptoms when cut back or stop using a drug, you know that you are dealing with addiction. Below are some common signs of drug withdrawal. 

1. New or Worsening Mental Health Conditions

Because of the changes in your brain, you can develop a dependence on drugs to maintain homeostasis or equilibrium. Once your brain becomes used to the chemically induced good feelings from drugs, it will react negatively when someone stops taking the drug. You may experience symptoms such as: 

  • Low mood
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you are already dealing with a mental health disorder, drug withdrawal can make your symptoms more pronounced.

2. Sleep Disturbances

The chemical changes in the brain caused by drugs can also disturb your circadian rhythm, responsible for regulating your sleep cycles. When you stop using drugs, your body will go through changes again as it tries to adjust to the missing substance. You may have trouble sleeping through the night, if at all. Your sleep may also be restless with nightmares and sweating. This sleep disruption can also worsen anxiety and mood swings.

3. Physical Discomfort

Since some drugs are used to treat pain, such as prescription opioids, quitting them can involve some degree of pain. However, even drugs not intended for pain relief can lead to physical discomfort during withdrawal. If you try to cut back or quit using drugs, you may notice increased aches and pains in your muscles and bones. It may also be challenging to get comfortable as you fluctuate between feeling too hot or too cold, along with sweating and goosebumps.

4. Feeling Ill

If you try to stop using drugs after becoming addicted, you may begin to feel ill. This can feel as minor as a common cold or as severe as the flu. Some of the symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, congestion, runny nose, and fever. 

How Drug Detox Programs Can Help You Get Through Drug Withdrawal

When you experience drug withdrawal symptoms, it can be tempting to return to drug use to get relief. With professional treatment, you can get through withdrawal more comfortably. Addiction therapy programs can help address the mental and emotional symptoms to get your mind in the right place for recovery. You can also receive medication as part of your program in a medical detox center, which will alleviate the physical discomfort of drug withdrawal. 

If you or someone you love is noticing signs of drug withdrawal when trying to quit or cut back, reach out to your local drug detox center for help. With a combination of therapies, medication, support, and case management, you can break free from the hold of drug addiction.

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