Understanding & Treating Withdrawal Behavior in Addiction Recovery
The opioid epidemic in the United States has devolved into a pernicious public health emergency exacerbated by emerging challenges. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 650,000 people have died from opioid overdoses since 1999, and the reformulation of fentanyl into a designer drug makes things more difficult for Carlsbad addiction recovery specialists. Also, according to a 2023 research analysis conducted by physicians at the University of Pennsylvania, one in six patients admitted for opioid use disorder (OUD) are leaving the hospital before completing treatment, and this can be attributed to the terrible withdrawal episodes they experience. This kind of research is essential in understanding how dangerous street fentanyl has become. After all, avoiding lapse and relapse are at the heart of addiction recovery strategies.
Understanding Withdrawal & Pain in Substance Abuse
When excluding nicotine, the CDC estimates 20 million Americans live with substance abuse disorders. In 73 percent of these individuals, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the main driver of withdrawal and pain, two of the most potentially problematic obstacles to recovery.
AUD and OUD cause intense cravings and physical discomfort that combine into withdrawal conditions. The mechanisms of these obstacles are mostly neurochemical. However, they can be even more difficult to overcome when they’re compulsions caused by underlying mental health issues. When withdrawal is tied to a behavioral syndrome, therapeutic approaches such as detoxification and medication aren’t sufficient.
Signs & Symptoms of Withdrawal
When the brain’s reward pathways are activated by an addictive substance such as liquor, the absence of this neurochemical state results in a sort of mental tantrum. This is how desperate cravings set in. The nervous system will try to adjust, thus triggering anxiety and depression.
Then we have the sleep disturbances of horrific nightmares and insomnia, which are closely tied to the perceived emotional response of despair. There’s also pain caused by persistent physical reactions such as nausea, vomiting, tremors, and sweating. Delirium tremens are the riskiest withdrawal symptoms associated with AUD, and they can result in critical health emergencies.
Compulsion & Withdrawal Behavior
Most withdrawal symptoms can be addressed at the clinical level during the detoxification phase, which is when brain chemistry begins to return to the state that existed before substance abuse. While many patients emerge from detox ready to continue their journey to recovery, others may still get cravings even though their most severe physical symptoms have been alleviated. These patients may no longer feel like they’re dying, but their lingering cravings can fuel a powerful compulsion to use again. This usually begins with a lapse, something that happens to many patients in recovery, but it can worsen into a relapse. The problem with withdrawal behavior is that patients will try to hide it and even lie to themselves just to stay in the vicious circle of compulsion.
Treating Withdrawal Behavior with Sober Lifestyle Coaching
When patients in recovery develop compulsive withdrawal behavior, they may not react positively to cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling. Patients who fear judgment when they relapse will resort to hiding their cravings and manipulating situations to control their urges while secretly yearning for sobriety. This is when sober lifestyle coaching can offer an effective treatment tool. This holistic approach combines counseling with mindfulness exercises and personalized plans to develop solid coping mechanisms.
For strength-based support with addiction recovery, including the help of a trained interventionist, Carlsbad residents can rely on the recovery coaches at Sober Lifestyle Coaching. We know precisely what it takes to get sober, stay sober, and live the healthy lifestyle you deserve. We specialize in working with clients with active addictions as well as clients already in recovery. Our sober coaches help clients work through potentially challenging events such as going to work and attending family gatherings while providing encouragement, accountability, insight, and understanding through our own recovery experiences. To learn more about how a sober lifestyle coach can help you or someone you love, call us today.