After taking the very courageous steps of admitting to themselves that they have an addiction and then asking for help, the next step in recovery for an addict is detoxification. Detox is the first step in the tiered addiction recovery treatment system. In detox someone will come off of the drug they have been taking and abstain from taking it and while doing so allow the toxin they have been taking in to purge from their bodies.
They will likely experience some variance of any number of withdrawal symptoms. Some folks try to do this at home, but doing it without the supervision of a medical staff at a detox facility can prove to be a treacherous undertaking and at best lead to an unsuccessful detox where the addict does not successfully detox, and at worst lead to death. A dedicated medical staff can monitor an addicts vitals and well being as they deal with the difficulty of withdrawal.
Drug Co-Dependence in North Dakota
For long time addicts, what is known as a drug co-dependency can form. In extremely severe cases, it is possible that a user is actually unable to fully detox without causing serious bodily harm. Some extreme developments of addiction to alcohol, for instance, can require a very lengthy ramping down of use. Quitting ‘cold turkey’, as it’s called, could potentially put them into a worse state than they are when they use. Strong opiate addictions have had many users that require exceptionally long detox periods.
For those that have such a strong dependence to drugs that do not have medication assisted treatments to detox patients, professional medical staff familiar with the effects of detox for a variety of drugs will carefully monitor and give allowances to the patient to slowly adjust their body to not having the drug. The patient will still experience some symptoms of withdrawal, but they will be managed so as to not be life threatening or induce a rejection of treatment altogether. The kinds of co-dependence vary from drug to drug as do the withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawals in North Dakota
Withdrawal is a term used to describe physical and mental conditions that occur when an addict is longer using drugs or alcohol immediately after a lengthy period of heavy or daily usage. Common withdrawal symptoms across all drugs include extreme depression which can internally persuade a user to return to their drug of choice. In almost every case, addictions trigger the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain which can overload receptors of it. When the receptors, which trigger feelings of pleasure and happiness, are overloaded through drug use stimulating massive and unhealthy levels of dopamine, a kind of tolerance internally can develop. The normal operation of these sensations becomes skewed so that an above normal release of dopamine is required to even feel ‘normal’ as a non addict experiences sensations and normal amounts of dopamine, in effect, create a depression.
Insomnia is often accompanying withdrawal for most drugs, as well. This, too, can become a health issue if an addict in recovery doesn’t sleep often. People who have never used drugs who suffer from insomnia or force themselves to avoid sleep often induce physical problems and psychosis. Drug withdrawal induced insomnia is no different and can sometimes require medical intervention to ensure the patient gets the rest they need.
Drug specific withdrawal symptoms have a wide variety of effects on addicts. One of the most widely known symptoms of alcoholics attempting to abstain from use is known as ‘the shakes’. Alcoholism can affect a drinker’s ability to control their muscles. Their brain has to work extra hard while on alcohol to perform normal motor skills. When alcohol is removed, the brain is ‘overreacting’ and correcting these muscle movements, attempting to adjust to a body without the nervous system depressant in it. It’s often observable in the hands, which will rhythmically shake. When an alcoholic reaches this stage of their addiction, proper medical supervision during detox becomes highly important as there may be other withdrawal symptoms, including the aforementioned depression, which can become dangerous or even life threatening to the patient in recovery.
Heroin withdrawal has an extremely wide variety of symptoms based on the level of use before seeking treatment. On the severe side, hypertension and rapid heart rate are of extreme concern for medical staff. Muscle spasms can also complicate the person’s ability to simply accomplish normal tasks. Anxiety frequently accompanies a recovering heroin addict, along with depression. If not carefully monitored, this can easily spiral out of control into suicidal tendencies. Loss of appetite, vomiting and fatigue can also lead to other health problems that make maintaining good health difficult for the patient.
Why Supervised Treatment Is Important in North Dakota
Withdrawal shouldn’t be attempted alone due to these kinds of physical and psychological reactions the body has when deprived of a drug that the person has developed co-dependence to. Even when an addict is firmly aware of what kinds of symptoms may occur when they decide to become sober, there are health concerns and behavior that still cannot be effectively controlled alone and require outside assistance. Medical monitoring along with mental health assistance can not only provide a more effective withdrawal from dependence on the drug, but empirically provides a much higher possibility of effectively managing addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms are, in many cases, the entirety driving factor for the continued use of a drug. Heroin users, especially, report that after a certain point, the only reason they have to use it is specifically to deal with the feelings and sickness of withdrawal, in order to maintain their ability to even function on a normal day. When someone says that anyone can ‘just quit’, know that they are likely thinking that there’s no physical barrier to the process of recovery, that it’s all in a person’s head. Piles of medical evidence, observations and research have proven that there’s more than ‘just stop using’ to recovery and withdrawals are a large reason why medical treatment is necessary for addicts and why addiction is classified as an illness.
Contact us for more information about addiction recovery and treatment in North Dakota.