Disrupting a pattern in your life means that adjustments have to be made -- much like how our bodies work. If you use alcohol or drugs on a regular basis, your body becomes dependent on it. The longer you use these substances, it becomes increasingly difficult to go without it. Once you undergo detoxification and cut out alcohol or drugs from your life, the brain produces a surge of adrenaline which spurs a series of interactions in the body, causing the symptoms of withdrawal.
Now, you must understand that not everyone manifests the exact same withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the type of substance you took and your genetic make-up, the severity and duration of these withdrawal symptoms may vary widely. Some people experience mild physical withdrawal. Others respond to detoxification more intensely through psychological and emotional withdrawal symptoms.
Aggression is any behaviour that is reckless and impulsive, which often results in breaking the law. The aggressive individual intends to physically harm himself or other people. Bursts of violent behaviour are often unpredictable and can even manifest through verbal means—such as yelling profanities and insults. This behaviour during withdrawal can be triggered by the intense amount of stress undergone by the person during detoxification.
Many patients undergoing withdrawal from drugs have attested to the intense anger and rage they feel throughout the course of the treatment. Experiences, people, subjects or discussions that were not typically disturbing before, may now become upsetting for them. It is unknown what causes this, but this might be attributed to the various alterations in the central nervous system during prolonged exposure to the substances. Others claim that the suppressed feelings of anger and rage burst out after the removal of the drugs.
When you cut out alcohol and drugs from your system, there is a surge of adrenaline in the circulation. This hormone increases a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, it makes the muscles tenser—all these biological changes are symptoms of anxiety. You might feel like you can’t catch your breath or that you’re about to have a heart attack.
Excessive sweating, especially at night, is one of the body’s mechanisms of getting rid of the toxins. This is one of the most common physical symptoms of withdrawal. Sometimes it gets to the point when the person would wake up at night drenched from head to toe in sweat.
During withdrawal, the body feels the effects of months to years of abuse—sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, damage to your organs—these factors lead to feelings of fatigue. The person becomes intolerant of even some of the simplest activities such as walking, grooming, feeding themselves.
Continued abuse of an illicit substance causes alterations in sleep patterns because of hormonal imbalances and changes in the central nervous system. These sleep disturbances may persist even after detoxification, even more so during the first few nights of withdrawal.
During withdrawal, your brain is being rewired. Your entire system has become so dependent on the drug that when deprived of it, you become irritable. This symptom is especially heightened after cutting off uppers like cocaine, which produces intense feelings of euphoria.
Loss of Appetite
Once the withdrawal process fully begins, some of the unpleasant changes in the body are nausea and vomiting. These changes lead to a loss of appetite. People undergoing the process of withdrawal also report that they develop a horrible taste in their mouth and that their sense of smell has been heightened a thousandfold causing them to lose their appetite.
Nausea almost always occurs within the first 24 hours of starting the detoxification process. This is an unpleasant feeling commonly accompanied by abdominal pain, causing an urge to vomit.
During drug withdrawal, paresthesia usually occurs. This is an abnormal physical sensation characterized by a tingling, prickling, sometimes a burning sensation often in the extremities. This uncomfortable sensation makes the patient restless. Rubbing the affected extremity and moving around provides temporary relief.
Tremors and shaking
Tremors are uncontrollable movements of any part of our body, but most commonly observed in the hands—hence the term “shaky hands”. This is because of the neurological problems attributed to prolonged substance abuse and withdrawal. The muscles tense and twitch, which can lead to uncontrollable shaking.
Depending on the length and severity of drug use, symptoms may vary. But, vomiting can be seen as a manifestation of practically every person undergoing the process of withdrawal. This can be especially life-threatening when the patient is unconscious, because there is great risk for aspiration—inhaling the vomitus in the lungs—which can be fatal if not managed promptly.
All these symptoms pose serious health risks which is why it is important to undergo the process of detoxification in a facility equipped with resources to manage any complications and to make things more comfortable for the client. At The Arden Centre, an affordable treatment is offered and also, your safety and comfort are our top priority.
I am an energetic and committed Senior Health Care Manager with a passion for developing staff through education and mentoring.