Coping With Withdrawal Anxiety, Don’t Wait for “Rock Bottom”
Coping With Withdrawal Anxiety, Don’t Wait for “Rock Bottom”
Going to rehabilitation isn’t the problem, it’s having to go through drug and alcohol withdrawal that scares everyone away from the prospect of getting better. Withdrawal is the root of most anxieties surrounding initial addiction recovery, because it is often described as a grueling process only medical treatment can safely guide one through.
While it’s true withdrawal should always occur under the care of a certified medical professional (because many times withdrawal can aggravate underlying medical conditions left untreated, result in seizure, or damage to critical organs in some circumstances), surviving withdrawal isn’t as awful as you may think.
Withdrawal is the body’s way of shedding its physical addiction to addictive substances.
Alcohol withdrawal is typically the most (potentially) deadly among all addictive substances, yet the severity of symptoms are dependent upon the length in which one has remained dependent on their substance of choice.
Sometimes addiction is physically established early on, and hits harder in one individual as opposed to another. Addiction is different for everyone, and must be treated as so. The fact remains, everyone must go through withdrawal to eventually overcome crippling substance use disorders.
We’re here to show you withdrawal isn’t the enormous impossibility you think it is! Letting go of your anxieties revolving withdrawal is critical to speed recovery and allay fears, which may not have solid ground to stand on.
Truth: You Need to Go Through Withdrawal
If you think you can escape withdrawal and recover, you are sadly mistaken. Withdrawal is the body’s natural process to regain control of its biology. Addictive substances change our brain chemistry and malign many of our internal functions.
As the body adjusts to no longer having the substance it has become dependent on to function, you will feel some changes, that are unpleasant.
Myth: Withdrawal Is the Worst Experience You’ll Ever Have
However unpleasant you think withdrawal may be- especially for those who have never gone through the process, it’s not nearly as bad as you think it is.
Take it from our very own Clinical Director of Harbor Village, Dr. Holly Vasquez-Cortella,
“Think about your first breakup. You think you’re never going to get over it. Did I get over it? Did I die? It’s the same with withdrawal.
You think you’ll never get over it, but you will.
You just have to think, ‘I’ve been through so much more and have gotten through it, so what do I have to be scared of?’”
Girls, think of withdrawal as just another monthly gift from nature, that happens to last a week- just like normal!
And guys, withdrawal is like a severe cold, we’ve all had one of those- and look, you lived! All light hearted attempts to encourage you aside, the fears and anxieties swirling around withdrawal truly do make the experience more formidable. If you can reasonably tell yourself withdrawal is near to a severe cold, you will be able to calm yourself into doing what needs to be done.
You don’t want withdrawal stopping you from achieving your life’s goals, do you?
Withdrawal is simply one more stepping stone to getting back to: you.
Truth: The More You Know, The Better
The more you actually speak to people who have gone through withdrawal, the better! My go-to resource is a compilation of doctors who regale their withdrawal stories- published by MinnPost.
It’s true, some withdrawal symptoms can seem unbelievably daunting, like the potential of seizures or bodily convulsions, but the truth of the matter is, in a detox center, you will be continually monitored by nurses and medical techs who care about your wellbeing.
That’s the entire reason to go through with it! In the event of a medical emergency, there are trained professionals who will ensure you recover without a hitch. You have nothing to be afraid of.
If your only reference point of withdrawal stems from watching YouTube videos of people attempting to get clean on their own- that’s not an accurate portrayal of withdrawal.
Simply put: we don’t have the resources, nor the know-how of how to safely withdrawal on our own- so those who do, will understandably have a difficult time getting through it.
It’s like attempting to treat strep throat at home without antibiotics.
Myth: All Withdrawal Symptoms Are Fatal
No, silly! Not all withdrawal symptoms are fatal. In fact, many are not!
Truth: You CAN Overcome Withdrawal
Thousands of people go through withdrawal everyday, and they do so to reclaim their lives from addiction. You can too. Withdrawal may not be a pleasant experience, but is sacrificing your life continually living under the possibility of suffering a fatal overdose really worth it?
Are you willing to let go of your family and loved ones. forever?
You can either think of withdrawal as a necessary evil, or accept withdrawal for the cleansing process it is. Going into treatment with your goals in mind will help you remain determined to complete recovery, and will help you brave anything withdrawal can throw your way. Maybe you want to:
- Finally write that book
- Reconnect with your family
- Go back to school
- Confront the demons forcing you to use
- Help other people overcome addiction
Whatever your intention, wielding them firmly against the anxiety of going through withdrawal is a powerful tool at your disposal:
Your will is stronger than your fears.
Myth: I’m Never Going to Be Ready
You can prepare yourself right now by holding onto all of the goals and ambitions you want to achieve. If you want to change your life, you are ready. Right this very second.
There is no magical time where withdrawal is somehow more attainable. You are always ready to change your stars, and commit yourself to live a life worthy of you.
It’s not that you don’t deserve to be happy, it’s that you’re afraid of your worth.
When we tell ourselves we’re not ready, what we’re really saying is that we don’t deserve to be happy. We don’t deserve to go to treatment, when so many will never have the opportunity, or the chance, or the desire to.
You don’t have to carry around the self guilt that is preventing you from breaking free.
You are worth it, you are ready, and,
You DON’T Have to Wait for “Rock Bottom”
The myth of waiting for rock bottom is a dangerous one. The longer substance use disorders remain untreated, the more likely permanent physical and lasting psychological damage will be cemented, and difficult to remedy.
If you so happen to be at the storied “rock bottom,” please, go to treatment- you are worth it. And for those of you who may begin to believe you don’t need treatment until your entire life is in shambles, please, reconsider.
It’s never too early for treatment.
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.