When a person decides to get help for a drug or alcohol habit, one of the first concerns that may arise is around the process of withdrawal. There are many stories about the discomforts and challenges of withdrawal, and many people who don’t know what to expect from withdrawal might be tempted to give up their hopes of recovering from their addictions.

There is also the chance that people may try to detox on their own and experience bad withdrawal symptoms that lead them to relapse. Research shows that staying in treatment for an adequate amount of time is an important factor in drug abuse and addiction recovery. People who leave treatment early are more likely to return to drug abuse.

getting treatment

Withdrawal can be an uncomfortable time, but with an understanding of the symptoms, why they occur, and how best to manage them, a person working to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be prepared. Treatment approaches can help minimize the effects of withdrawal, making it more possible to move through treatment and achieve recovery.

What Is Withdrawal?

When a person stops taking a drug, in order for the effects of that drug to cease, the body must clear out the remnants of the substance in the bloodstream. This process is referred to as detox.

Because of the way drugs work in the body, the process of detox can result in some physical and psychological symptoms that are often uncomfortable. These symptoms are collectively referred to as withdrawal. The World Health Organization defines withdrawal as the physiological and psychological symptoms a person experiences as a result of detox from psychoactive substances that have been consumed at high quantities and/or over a long period of time.

Withdrawal symptoms vary based on the type of drug taken, the amount taken, how long the substance has been taken regularly, and other factors related to the individual taking the drug and the degree of abuse or addiction.

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