11 Helpful Ways to Cope With Drug Withdrawal

Some people say the hardest part about addiction recovery is recognizing there's a problem in the first place. Actually, that part is pretty simple. When a substance use disorder gets out of hand, its effects are clear to see.

The hard part comes in the transition from substance abuse to the beginning stages of recovery. This is when the effects of drug withdrawal kick in. Withdrawals vary depending on the substances being misused and the level of severity of the substance use disorder. Still, there's nothing easy about this stage of recovery, but there are ways to help yourself through this time.

Here are 11 helpful ways to cope with drug withdrawal.

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1. Relax, Relax, Relax

First things first, you have to relax.

Any form of drug withdrawal is really just your body detoxing from the drug it's been dependent on. This creates mental and physical challenges that you have to be resilient about. 

Some withdrawal symptoms include nausea, headaches, trouble sleeping, and loss of appetite. Other, more extreme things may be tremors, mood swings, intense anxiety and vomiting.

Whatever you're going through, remind yourself why you're quitting. Prepare for this part of recovery by setting up a relaxing environment and practicing healthy habits.

2. Practice Yoga and Meditation

One thing you can try to help relax the mind and body is yoga.

Yoga is a form of meditation that was created to awaken the muscles and the mind. If you feel weak during your withdrawal period, there are various forms of gentle, slow yoga and stretches to try.

You can go to a studio to feel the sense of community and support yoga offers, or do it at home. Stick to a routine that works for you and make it a part of your daily habits.

3. Change Your Diet

Another way to give your body support for withdrawal is to change your diet.

This is especially important if you have a low appetite. You have to make an attempt to at least eat something, and it's best to eat wholesome natural foods over processed meals while handling a drug recovery.

Healthy eating helps your body recover from the effects of your substance use disorder. Healthy foods can't solve all your problems, but eating wholesome meals will be a great step in the right direction.

4. Stay Hydrated

Remember to drink plenty of water.

Water is necessary for all functions of the body, whether your body is going through withdrawals or not. 

Regardless of the withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing, you need to drink water. This can help give you a bit more energy, mental clarity and facilitate your flow of oxygen if you're having trouble breathing.

5. Get Moving

If your body is feeling good enough to move around, do some form of a workout to help with any withdrawal symptoms. This helps you focus your mind on other things and achieve some sense of mental clarity.

You may get this through running, lifting weights, cycling or even rock climbing. Whatever kind of activity you're doing, just make sure it's a good one. The more time you spend working out and clearing your mind, the less of a chance it has to get cluttered with things like drug use or withdrawal symptoms you feel.

6. Pick up a New, Healthy Habit

For an even better distraction, try out a new hobby. Again, just make sure it's a healthy alternative to substance misuse. 

This could be anything from creative activities — like drawing or playing music — to gardening, cooking or even just reading. Anything that gets your mind off the withdrawal phase and helps you achieve a sense of clarity.

7. Rely on Your Community

The thing about clearing your mind while experiencing drug withdrawal is that some form of temptation to give in is bound to come up. It doesn't matter how well you think you're doing, the experience can overwhelm anyone with its intensity.

One moment, you're fine, and the next, you could be experiencing a stronger symptom than you might have anticipated. That's why having a support system is crucial to getting through withdrawal.

In fact, this is one of the most important tools you'll need throughout your recovery. Talk to your close friends and family about your decision to quit. Have someone hold you accountable and maybe even be there with you as you take on the first few steps in dealing with your substance use disorder.

8. Seek Professional Detox Support

There's the support you get from friends and family, and then there's the help of professionals who have guided many people with substance use disorders through detox and withdrawal. Those are the people you want by your side.

Of course, this is not to say your loved ones aren't helpful resources. Rather, reaching out to professionals gives you the best opportunities and resources you need to aid recovery and manage the symptoms of withdrawals in a controlled environment.

There are plenty of detox centers available to help you. Places that specialize in intense withdrawal treatment, particularly when an individual is experiencing multiple strong symptoms at once.

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9. Get Ample Rest

Sleep is one of the most effective ways to deal with withdrawal symptoms. 

Sleep helps regulate your mood, reduce blood pressure and give the cells in your body time to repair and recover. Naps can help you combat feelings of restlessness and irritability. Even if you just lay on your bed or couch and meditate for a few minutes, you help your body and mind reset and relax.

10. Give Your Body Some TLC

Your body needs tender, loving care during withdrawal.

Baths are soothing and can help manage symptoms like chills. Cold showers are refreshing and alleviate sweating or flushes often experienced during the detox process. 

Getting a massage helps relieve sore muscles, and human touch may also feel comforting while relaxing tension in your body.

11. Journal It Out

Writing down your feelings helps you handle withdrawal symptoms. Getting your thoughts and emotions on paper is therapeutic. Journaling occupies you when you are feeling overwhelmed and keeps your hands busy. 

Journals also help you keep a record of why you want to detox and why you want to manage your substance use disorder. Revisiting your whys may be helpful when triggers happen or withdrawal symptoms are severe.

Getting Through Your Drug Withdrawal One Day at a Time

The silver lining about drug withdrawal is that it doesn’t last too long. This stage usually lasts anywhere from 24-72 hours. Still, withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and you shouldn’t have to do it alone. Knowing how to deal with your symptoms is a step in the right direction — but getting professional support is the best way to handle withdrawal.

Diamond House Detox is here to help. We offer medically assisted detoxes at our facilities in Northern California. Our team includes medical experts in psychiatry and addiction recovery, providing individualized treatment plans and medication adjustments.

Contact us online or call 800-205-6107 to get help managing your withdrawal symptoms and substance use disorder. 

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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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