The formation of an addiction is a slow one, one that does not show itself right as it starts. It is elusive and hides itself among normal behavior, being maybe an extreme here and there but nothing more. People who have an addiction that is starting to grow do not know it usually until it is further along in it’s development. Addictions can be classified as diseases, with symptoms and causes, usually genetic, and progress much in the same way. They are virtually undetectable at first, but grow into monsters over time.
Trouble slowly starts to show itself in the person in whom the addiction is growing. Maybe they start to get drunk more than usual at parties or bars, or seem to be high more often. They begin to isolate more and more. Family and friends start to feel more alienated from them. They start to show up to work hungover or tried more often, maybe even being late. And then the problems get even worse.
Friends and family are cast out completely. They rarely answer their phone, and seem to be hard up for money rather often. Maybe a job gets lost or a car gets crashed. A DUI happens. An overdose happens. So on and so forth. The disease of the addiction shows itself completely and takes over the life of the person in whom it resides.
Change Means Detoxification
When it comes time for things to change, there is typically one option for people who want to get off of drugs or alcohol, and that is detoxification.
Detox cannot happen alone and/or at home. This is something that needs to occur under the care of professionals in a medical facility. Withdrawals from substances can sometimes be dangerous, and are usually always very unpleasant for the person. Assistance is always required for this kind of thing.
First and foremost, there are places in the country that offer detox programs referred to as rapid or ultra-rapid detox programs. In these, the person is placed under general anesthesia and medications, and detoxes that way- pretty much they are not present during it.
With what the body and the mind are going through at the time, this can be a very unhealthy way to go about it and people have been known to die under these programs. People see them as attractive because they want to get the withdrawals and the detox over with as soon as possible, but this is not recommended at all.
Withdrawing from alcohol addiction is the one and only process of withdrawal that can actually be lethal to someone and has to happen under the care of professionals, otherwise the person going through the withdrawals might not make it. What happens in alcohol detox is the person is slowly weaned off of alcohol by being given decreasing amounts of it over time. Otherwise, they might have seizures or heart failure as a result of the shock to the system from the sudden disappearance of alcohol.
When going through alcohol withdrawals, one may experience the following:
- Rapid heart rate
- Delirium tremens
- Auditory and visual hallucinations
- Decreased appetite
These withdrawals typically do not last for too long, maybe a few days.
Withdrawals From Substances
When getting off of hard substances such as heroin or other opiates like painkillers, or something like cocaine, the withdrawals are extremely uncomfortable but in no way fatal. Typically, when coming off of hard drugs, people can expect to be extremely uncomfortable and irritable, as well as restless and can sometimes experience insomnia. They could have things like muscle and bone pains, as well as diarrhea and vomiting. Cold flashes, a very high or very low appetite, depression, severe mood swings, fatigue, malaise and intense cravings for the drugs they were using are also typical withdrawal symptoms for someone who is coming off of hard drugs.
These don’t last that long- maybe a few days- and subside completely over one week.