A significant number of clients that come to Serenity Recovery Center require alcohol detox. This process can result in significant withdrawal symptoms that may be both intensely uncomfortable and even dangerous at the time. Supervision is vital throughout the process to manage the three phases of alcohol withdrawal:
- Stage One: insomnia, anxiety, stomach pain and nausea
- Stage Two: elevated blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature
- Stage Three: fever, seizures, muscle cramps, agitation and hallucinations
These three stages tend to progress quickly, with the first beginning around eight hours after the last drink and the final one ending about two weeks later. If a person does not go through alcohol withdrawal in a medically-supervised setting can face potentially deadly consequences by the third phase of the process.
The addictive nature of benzodiazepines like Valium, Xanax and Ativan mean that users will develop a tolerance to the substance, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects. When more substantial amounts are in the body, the detox process can be more challenging. Withdrawal symptoms associated with these substances might include:
- Dizziness and headaches
- Excessive sweating
- Irritability and depression
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Psychosis, including hallucinations
These symptoms may last two to three days, with more intense symptoms occurring in clients with more severe addictions and those with large amounts of the substance in the body at the time of detox.
Physicians prescribe painkillers for a variety of legitimate medical issues, but the addictive nature of these drugs make them a risky choice in pain management for some people. Tolerance to the drug also develops over time, which leaves users requiring higher doses to obtain the same “high.” If the user tries to stop taking the drug, the unpleasant withdrawal experience can make the process both dangerous and challenging without medical supervision.
As tolerance to opioids increases, users may look to more potent substances to achieve the effects their bodies crave. Fentanyl addiction has become more prevalent in recent years but is also associated with more dangerous risks including overdose and death. Users may also turn to the street opioid heroin, which can be equally dangerous and difficult to stop.
Withdrawal symptoms of opioids might include:
- Fever and excessive sweating
- Cold sweats and goosebumps
- Muscle and joint pain
- Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
- Shaking, agitation and insomnia
Withdrawal symptoms typically begin about two or three days after the substance is stopped and may continue for a week or even longer.
Cocaine and crack
Both cocaine and crack cocaine are highly addictive substances that result in both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms if a user stops the drug. While the most challenging part of cocaine withdrawal is often dealing with the nearly overwhelming cravings, crack cocaine withdrawal can produce intense physical symptoms as well that require supervised detox in most cases. Those symptoms might include:
- Irritability, agitation and aggression
- Depression and anxiety
- Insomnia and unpleasant dreams
- Difficulty concentrating
- Extreme fatigue
- Suicidal thoughts
Withdrawal symptoms may last three weeks or longer with this addiction, particularly in those that were consuming large amounts of the substance.
DXM and cough syrup
Dextromethorphan (DXM) is an ingredient in cough syrup that people frequently abuse due to its hallucinogenic effects. While this substance is not physically addictive the way other drugs and alcohol are, psychological addiction can lead to the need for detox in some cases before more extensive addiction treatment can begin. In this case, detox usually involves managing the cravings for the substance.
While the physical withdrawal symptoms of meth addiction are not necessarily as intense as those experienced with alcohol or benzodiazepines, the emotional and psychological symptoms can be quite severe. The challenges of withdrawal are why people stopping meth will tend to see more success in a supervised detox program, where cravings and other symptoms can be effectively managed. The worst withdrawal symptoms tend to be seen in individuals that injected the substance or consumed higher doses.
This prescription stimulant is commonly abused today, often by younger users looking for an edge in their studies. Prolonged use of Adderall results in chemical changes in the brain that lead to dependence. To avoid serious withdrawal symptoms, a weaning schedule may be recommended to come off the drug gradually. Supervised detox ensures this process is both safe and successful while minimizing the risk of relapse.
Also known as ecstasy or molly, MDMA is a potent hallucinogen that has become a favorite “club drug.” The substance alters the brain chemistry, which can lead to addiction over time. Tolerance is also a characteristic of this drug, which means higher amounts may be in the body at the time of detox. While the physical symptoms associated with MDMA withdrawal are not usually life-threatening, they can be very uncomfortable and include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Memory problems
- Agitation and paranoia
- Decreased appetite
- Intense cravings for the drug
Withdrawal symptoms typically develop within a couple of days after stopping the drug and may continue for up to three weeks or even longer, depending on the severity of the addiction.