The period of physical withdrawal from all substances – drugs, medications, and sugars – is called detoxification, or detox for short. If you have been putting an addictive substance into your body on a daily or reoccurring basis, abstaining from that substance will cause some level of physical withdrawal symptoms to occur.
Your body (mainly your liver, lungs, and skin) will detox you naturally. Toxins leave the body at varying rates of speed, and depending on the type of toxin, can cause a range of physical complications. Commonly during a hard detox, symptoms vary from mild physical discomfort to those similar to a severe flu. It’s best to be under a physician’s care when detoxing, especially when abstaining from drugs like alcohol, barbiturates, opiates, and benzodiazepines, which due to their chemical properties, require monitoring by a medically trained professional. Detoxing is a necessary stage of recovery, but be careful to follow medical guidelines, especially if you’ve had a history of seizures, cardiac issues, or other complications related to detoxification. Get evaluated for conditions such as hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Most people detox at home or in a hospital. There are private programs or publicly funded detox centers that have medical backup. Contact your physician, local treatment program or hospital, or look for “Addiction. . .” “Alcoholism. . .” or “Drug Abuse. . .” in your phone book or on the Internet.
Note: It can be dangerous to refrain from all drugs, especially if you’re on medications for a severe mental illness or a physical condition. Ask for advice from respected and informed professionals and follow it during early recovery.
Relief of Withdrawal Symptoms
All methods discussed below are effective in relieving physical withdrawal symptoms in the detox recovery stage. Each method can be used alone or together with other options.
Not all withdrawal symptoms are physical. There are also emotional withdrawal symptoms. Addicts build an attachment, or affection, to a particular substance or behavior. Letting go of the substance or behavior can prompt a sense of loss, causing emotional pain. Both emotional pain and physical withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated through the methods below.
Nutritional supplements are a prime option for relieving physical withdrawal symptoms due to their immediate and effective results, minimal side effects, and no potential for abuse. For optimal results, it’s best to work with a nutritionist, whose knowledge will be helpful and sometimes necessary. Many physicians do not have an extensive knowledge of nutritional supplements. If possible, talk to your physician regarding your desire to try alternative approaches, or at least keep him or her informed of the alternative approaches that you are taking.
Most people can experience powerful symptom relief from basic amino acid supplements. An amino nutrient blend is even more effective, but costs more. Amino acids can relieve physical and emotional pain, and they can reduce or stop cravings, anxiety, and depression. They also stabilize blood sugar and promote the rebuilding of your brain and body to a healthier state. Amino acid supplements are sold over-the-counter; the higher the purity (in the mid 90% range), the better. But ensure your source for nutritional supplements are from a reliable supplier!
When it comes to the dosage, be cautious. Test with 1⁄4 of the suggested dose and wait 30 minutes to see how you feel. The only way of knowing the exact amount you need is with a blood test, which is expensive, trial and error should also work well to help you decide what dosage works best for you. The body’s response to amino acid supplements is rapid. Some people claim to have taken higher than recommended dosages of amino acids with no serious side effects, but to begin, do not exceed the recommended dosages listed on the package. Powdered Vitamin C can eliminate side effects.
An intravenous amino acid drip is known to be effective for extreme withdrawal of difficult substances, but at this time, there is limited documentation and availability of the procedure in the US.