The Dangerous Fantasy of Facing Withdrawal and Recovery Alone

Residential Drug Treatment Center |

Although there might be many good reasons doing a drug or alcohol withdrawal by yourself, ending an addiction isn’t easy. Sure, it’s inexpensive, quick, and you won’t have to deal with the stigma and judgment that you might get from friends and family. So, why not just bite the bullet and force yourself to get clean and sober on your own?

Addiction Requires Drug Treatment

Actually there are many significant reasons not to enter recovery by yourself. In the majority of cases, addiction requires drug treatment. In other words the symptoms of withdrawal are so severe that you need to have medication to ease those symptoms. Having a physician, drug counselor, and therapist nearby facilitates the withdrawal process so that your body and mind don’t suffer.

Also, it’s important to remember that even with drug and alcohol treatment, some people still find themselves chronically relapsing. They end up continuing their substance use. Of course, there are many factors that play a role in whether an addiction comes to an end, such as the length of substance use, drug of choice, severity of the addiction, physical health, and any presence of mental illness. However, the benefit of having a team of people around you to help in the withdrawal process is that they can tend to your psychological and physical health as you move through the process.

Vulnerable to Relapse

One primary obstacle to ending an addiction is the change in the brain that takes places as a result of long-term drinking and drug use. In other words, an addiction has a strong biological component where triggers and cravings for the drug occur almost without notice. Even if someone has made the decision to end their using, it’s easy for stress, relationship concerns, family issues, environmental cues, running into old drinking or drugging friends, and even a smell to trigger an intense craving. Essentially, you are incredibly more vulnerable to relapse if you attempt to withdraw at home. Whereas, if you are attending a residential treatment center, you are in environment that all about supporting a healthy withdrawal and long-term sobriety.

Another significant reason to avoid recovery by yourself is that you never know what might happen. If you are in withdrawal (depending on the length of your addiction), there might be health complications that lead to an emergency. If you are by yourself, that emergency could lead to a serious health situation, or even death. However, having a medical team at your disposal minimizes the dangers that come with initial withdrawal as well as future complications.

Withdrawal Challenges

Lastly, going through drug or alcohol withdrawal is not only a physically challenging experience, but there are also psychological and emotional challenges to withdrawal as well. You may experience mood changes, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and an increased appetite. You may feel depressed, anxious, and irritable. Depending on the substance you are addicted to, you may experience very low moods as a compensation for the euphoria experienced while addicted. The body is trying to recover its sources of energy. As a result, you might feel very tired during withdrawal. Also, withdrawal may interrupt a regular sleep schedule. Some withdrawal experiences, depending on the drug, can cause vivid and unpleasant dreams, insomnia, or hypersomnia (the experience of sleeping too much). Lastly, withdrawal might also include a physical slowing down, little energy, or agitation.

Because of the various experiences that come with withdrawal, it’s strongly encouraged to admit yourself to a residential treatment center, or at the very least, speak to a medical professional about your intentions to get sober. If you decide to speak to your doctor, be sure to also consult a mental health provider who can tend to your emotional and psychological experience as you go through withdrawal. Having as much professional support as possible is essential to avoid risks and ensure your well being.

Healing from addiction requires emotional, psychological, and at times, even spiritual development. For this reason, going through the drug addiction treatment process can be challenging at times. Many clinicians will tell their clients that sometimes life will get harder before it gets better. Not because it’s intended that way, but simply because you’re going to finally face inner material that was likely ignored with an addiction. And this alone can make ending an addiction hard to do on your own.


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