Why Does Withdrawal Make You Sick?

July 27, 2015

A man curled up in a ball

Drugs affect the way the body functions. Whenever someone uses drugs, she changes her brain and bodily systems. While some of these changes are minor, some are severe and life-threatening. Some drugs change the body in a way that it needs substances to function normally. Quitting these drugs can make people sick, a condition called withdrawal, which is completely normal in the rehab process. The problem is that its effects can be extremely uncomfortable, so it is important for addicts who want to recover to seek professional help to ensure a safe detox.

Causes and Symptoms of Drug Dependence

Some people who use drugs develop drug dependence, which means that their bodies cannot function normally without the drug.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) explain that the following factors can lead to drug dependence:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional or environmental distress
  • Peer pressure
  • Low self-esteem
The NIH also lists the following symptoms of drug dependence:

  • Continued use of drugs despite physical, psychological and social damage
  • Hostility and violence related to drug use
  • Lack of control of drug use
  • Avoiding or performing poorly in daily activities, such as school and work
  • Using drugs alone
  • Need for daily drug use to function normally

Symptoms of Drug Withdrawal

When addicts stop using drugs, her body will respond negatively. As Sherrie McGregor describes, drug abuse affects many different bodily systems, especially the nervous and hormonal systems.

Thus, when drug abuse ends, these systems will be temporarily limited, so a user will experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Elevated or unstable blood pressure
  • Extreme sweating
  • Severe nausea
  • Physical pain

If you recognize any of these symptoms after you go a while without a drug, then dependence might be the culprit.

Drug Withdrawal and Detox

Since withdrawal symptoms are often extremely uncomfortable and occasionally life-threatening, many people go through detox under medical supervision. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 45 defines detox as “a set of interventions aimed at managing acute intoxication and withdrawal.” It also explains that the goal of detox is to clear the drug from the body while minimizing physical harm.

Treating withdrawal symptoms often follows a specific procedure. While each treatment center has its own unique plan, TIP 45 identifies the following three elements of an effective detox:

  • Evaluation: Healthcare professionals should test for drugs in the person’s system and identify any co-occurring physical or psychological conditions. This evaluation should serve as the foundation of the person’s later rehab program.
  • Stabilization: This element is the core of detox, and it involves helping the user manage withdrawal symptoms either through counseling or medicinal therapy. It also involves explaining what the person’s role will be in his own treatment and recovery.
  • Assistance with entry into treatment: Since detox alone rarely ensures long-term recovery, a detox program should emphasize the importance of continuing on to rehab after physical addiction breaks. Treatment may also help users enroll in a long-term program, or it will have the user commit either verbally or in writing to rehab.

With help, you can recover from drug abuse.

How to Get Help with Drug Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms can be excruciating: they make people feel miserable, so they may become obsessed with relapse to feel better. Additionally, withdrawal can endanger someone’s long-term physical health. The most effective way to ensure a safe detox is to do so under medical supervision. Give us a call now at 615-490-9376, to talk with our admissions coordinators about detox and rehab centers that will suit your needs. Do not suffer from the negative symptoms of detox alone; call us right now to get professional help.

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