What is Withdrawal and How Can I Get Through it?

Withdrawal is the term given to the wide range of symptoms we can experience when stopping our drug of choice. Many of the symptoms are physical and have to do with our bodies’ intense reactions to withdrawing from the drugs they have become dependent upon. Some of the symptoms are mental and emotional, such as anxiety, mood swings and panic attacks. For withdrawal from more serious dependencies such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, we can require professional treatment because we can experience seizures and other life-threatening symptoms. Any kind of withdrawal is a test of our strength and our will.

When we are dependent upon addictive substances and behaviors, we come to feel like we can’t live without them. Our physical dependence is exacerbated by our emotional attachment. Our drugs of choice have become a form of security for us. We’ve been running from our pain so long we’re afraid to face it without numbing and self-medicating ourselves.

Making sure to have professional medical treatment if we need it, there are some additional things we can do to help ourselves get through the withdrawal process. For one, we can remind ourselves that this is temporary. This too shall pass. When we are in the middle of it, it can feel like we’ll never get through it. Each day, every hour, can feel like an eternity. Keep telling yourself that it will pass, and you will get through it, just like you’ve made it through other very difficult challenges in your life.

Affirm that you are strong enough to get through it. We adopt limiting beliefs about our strength and our capacity for handling difficulty. We come to believe that we are weak, that our addictions are evidence of that weakness. Your addictions haven’t gotten the best of you yet, though, and you are strong. Encourage and motivate yourself as much as you can.

Surround yourself with support. This is not the time to suffer alone in silence. Take advantage of the love, help and support of the people who care about you. Let yourself be pleasantly distracted by other people’s stories. Let them remind you of the person you were before your addiction took hold of your life. Reminisce about that person and know you will emerge an even better, stronger, more empowered version of that person. Enjoy the company of your loved ones, knowing that in recovery you will be able to be an even better friend to them because you will be happier, healthier and more at peace.

Many people have been helped by our treatment programs, and we can help you too. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.