So you’re character is about to go through some detox or withdrawal. (Or maybe you yourself, or someone you know is about to and you’re wondering what is ahead.)
You know it’s not as simple as 'it was rough for a few days but now I'm just fighting off the cravings' but beyond that, you have no idea what happens or what it feels like. Let’s find out.
Side note: Addiction is a terrible, complicated disease that should not be taken lightly or at face-value. With this post, I’m not looking at addiction from a personal perspective (I am not a recovering addict or currently addicted to any substances), but through a writer’s perspective. I’ve personally only had experience living with a very close family member battling their own addictions -which obviously impacted me in a different way than if I had been the one addicted to something. I do not go into these experiences because of their personal nature. I’m not going to get everything right in this, which I invite anyone who feels comfortable, to add or correct anything that I may have researched wrong.
If you or anyone you know is battling addictions, seeking help or doesn’t know where to turn: Call 1-888-299-8125 to speak to a caring addiction helpline advisor [via www.recovery.org].
Common Prescription Painkiller Withdrawal Symptoms
People who have been taking drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet or Lortab long enough to become physically and emotionally dependent can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Low energy
- Flu-like symptoms
- Tremors or shaking
- Poor appetite
- Trouble sleeping
These symptoms may become evident soon after the person stops taking the drug(s), usually worsening for several days and then remain somewhat constant for as long as a few weeks.
Making Detox as Comfortable as Possible
During detox there are medicines which can ease the discomfort. Methadone is one such medication which may be used to lessen the pain of withdrawal. In addition there are medications like Suboxene which can help to control drug cravings during detox, rehab and beyond. For those who want to give going “cold turkey” a try, most detox and rehab facilities offer a program for treating withdrawal symptoms individually as they arise.
What are the risk factors?
Withdrawal symptoms are usually not life threatening. Some people have heard of delirium tremens, or “the DTs.” Although people experiencing alcohol withdrawal might experience some form of tremors, actual delirium tremens is rare and can involve agitation, severe confusion, hallucinations, fever and seizures.
Complications related to opiate withdrawal includes vomiting and breathing that into your lungs. However, the biggest complication is returning to drug use. Most opiate overdose deaths occur in people who have either just withdrawn or been detoxed. Withdrawal reduces a person’s tolerance to the drug, and those who have just undergone detox can overdose on a much smaller dose than they’re used to taking.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
In general, the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms increases in tandem with the amount and duration of prior alcohol consumption.
Minor alcohol withdrawal symptoms often appear six to 12 hours after alcohol cessation, sometimes while patients still have a measurable blood alcohol level. These symptoms include:
- Shaky hands
- Mild anxiety
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Between 12 and 24 hours after alcohol cessation, some patients may experience visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations which usually end within 48 hours. Although this condition is called alcoholic hallucinosis, it’s not the same as the hallucinations associated with DTs. Most patients are aware that the unusual sensations aren’t real.
For the most part, cocaine addiction is a psychological addiction. Unlike heroin addiction or other opiate-related dependencies, the physical component of the problem is less significant than the psychological component. There are, however, reports by patients of withdrawal symptoms that include:
- Increase in appetite
- General malaise
When a mental health issue is co-occurring, these symptoms can be significantly worse. What makes cocaine detox unique among other detox programs is its ability to help the patient on a personal level to address the symptoms experienced as well as co-occurring issues and find a place of stability from which to begin truly intensive cocaine addiction treatment that addresses psychological issues of dependency.
Emotional Issues While Coming off of Cocaine
The biggest problems that most cocaine addicts experience during detox when they stop using cocaine are extreme emotional issues. Mood swings, intense anger and irritability, deep depression and even violence are not uncommon. The cravings for the drug can leave addicts feeling as if they cannot function without it. They believe that they will never have the energy they need to accomplish everything on their to-do list, much less accomplish their goals with any proficiency.
Increased appetite is a recognized aspect of cocaine withdrawal, and may be exacerbated by not eating properly while you were high on cocaine.
Physical Slowing or Agitation
People going through cocaine withdrawal often experience a kind of physical slowing down, called psychomotor retardation, or conversely, they can feel physically agitated.
Sex Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms & Recovery