Drug detox is the first step towards successful recovery, but it may become one of the most challenging stages of it, too. While its physical effects themselves are far from being easily bearable, it is psychological ones that are able to endanger the whole process and become the most serious obstacle on one’s way to living drug-free life.
It is important to know and bear in mind the fact that as addiction is even more a mental thing than a physical one, psychological withdrawal is a whole big separate issue and process to go through. After all, it is emotional and mental stages that occur in relapse process first. So ensuring proper, responsible approach towards psychological withdrawal and all kinds of support is a vital measure for success.
Severity of psychological symptoms during and after drug detox depends on a number of factors. Those are kind of substance one abuses and how long it’s been done, co-existing physical or/and mental conditions, family history of abuse, if any, and genetic peculiarities, as well as dosage of a drug/drugs in question and way of abuse (for instance, swallowing, smoking, snorting or injecting).
Among frequently occurring symptoms are:
- Emotional turmoil
- Troubles concentrating or inability to focus on things
- Difficulties in orientation and understanding of things that happen around up to extreme confusion
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
- Insomnia or/and nightmares
But while these symptoms are quite well-known to those who have gone through drug detox, there is also a number of things that are not exactly referred to as psychological effects of it. But nevertheless, they are also widely experienced by people who intend to live ‘clean’ life further on.
- Feeling extremely vulnerable and exposed to painful experiences of everyday life. As people often use drug as self-medication, being deprived of or completely cut off it leaves open a black hole that they were trying to close with drugs in the first place.
- Fear of relapse. Going through detox always creates a danger of giving up to one’s addiction once more. Still, it is vital to remember that relapse doesn’t mean failure.
- Realization one has to rebuild individual’s entire life. Drugs are known for occupying terrifying amount of space in person’s mind and activities. Having to start all over again is another serious challenge towards full recovery.
Fortunately, is it perfectly possible to help oneself in overcoming all these effects and obstacles. Measures one can undertake to ease psychological symptoms of drug detox are:
- Individual or group therapy that will help one understand that they are ones of many to go through it and there is still help available at any moment they might need it.
- Creating a supportive environment that will strengthen a person’s connections and also help them to stay sober.
- Learning some life skills to occupy one’s time and involve into productive processes that will give individual’s life another, positive meaning and better purpose.
- Educating oneself about drug abuse, its influence on our mind and body, as well as the process of drug detox in order to better understand what is/was going on with them. As it goes with many other things in life, knowing what you have to face makes it easier to deal with.