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Every day, people all across the United States make the powerful decision to stop using and abusing drugs and alcohol. In fact, according to a poll highlighted by TIME in 2012, some 10 percent of the American population has overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
For all of these people, recovery began with withdrawal. During this process, the body can digest and eliminate any remaining molecules of drugs, allowing the person to find that clear head that’s needed for the rehab process.
Withdrawal is a natural process, but it can be a little overwhelming. These are steps to follow in order to cope with the challenges withdrawal can bring.
Leaving addiction behind can be a challenge. For example, in a poll done by Gallup, researchers found that 85 percent of smokers tried to quit at least once during their lifetimes, and nearly half have tried to quit at least three times. Stopping that cycle requires preparation. You can:
Not all withdrawal processes are life-threatening, but some are. Alcohol withdrawal, for example, can develop into delirium tremens, and Medscape says about 5-15 percent of people with that condition die because of it. Since addictions can be life-threatening, you will need help to recover. You can get that help through:
You can find these programs by:
Once you have chosen your detox provider, you will need to follow that source’s instructions to the letter. In some instances, that means you must be in mild withdrawal when you arrive for care. If opiates were your drugs of choice, Healthline says you may experience:
Mention these symptoms to your provider, and follow the instructions that provider gives very carefully.
If you are suffering from addictions to benzodiazepines or alcohol, do not suddenly stop taking the substances. Medical detox is required, and you must be under medical supervision before you stop intake of the substances of abuse.
Remember not to bring these things with you to the detox program:
Addictions are often tied to stressful situations, per research published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. If your life has been filled with violence, stress, and worry, you may be accustomed to using drugs as a method of relief and release. During withdrawal, you will need to find new ways to deal with distress. You might use:
Detox timelines can vary, depending on the drugs you have taken and the length of time you have been under the influence. You may know you are ready to move on to the next stage of recovery when:
When your withdrawal is complete, you will:
It is vital that the end of withdrawal and the beginning of rehab overlap. You will be at risk of relapse during any moments in which you delay. Your detox team can assist you with that.
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