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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ NewBridge Recovery Blog

Stopping using drugs and alcohol is a life changing event. Working at an outpatient treatment center I have the benefit of talking to people who call and want to get sober. Many of them do not know about detox and others think it unnecessary. Another portion of patients are eager to find relief from the pains of withdrawals that detox can offer. Some patients don’t really require a medical detox. However, the reality is that most incoming patients need a medically assisted detox, whether they agree or not. Depending on the type of drug, withdrawals can be miserable, dangerous, and even fatal. Discover what type of drug/alcohol abuse demands a medical detox, like the services offered here at NewBridge.

The Dangers of Withdrawals

The level of danger of going through unassisted withdrawals varies with drug type. The symptoms of withdrawals and the negative effects produced also differ. Although typically not life-threating, one of the most painful and excruciating withdrawals is from opiates. Heroin and opiate users who stop using these drugs will experience a massive absence of dopamine, resulting in both physical and mental side-effects. Withdrawals from opiates has been described as flu-like symptoms, with vomiting, fever, shakes, and sweating.
The opiate user will also experience hopelessness, numbness, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. Drugs like cocaine and meth have less obvious withdrawal effects. Users often report feelings of fatigue and apathy, although it goes away quickly. The danger with withdrawal from stimulants is minimal. The more dangerous drugs to withdrawal from are benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and alcohol. These drugs can even result in seizures and death if stopped without medical detox. These class of drugs,
depressants, all work to slow down the central nervous system and GABA activity. This is why these drugs cause feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. When these drugs are stopped, the brain responds by rapidly increasing the activity in the central nervous system. Due to the deficiency of activity from abuse of depressants, the brain overstimulates without these drugs. The effects are shakes, anxiety, and more. The real risk of withdrawals from these type of drugs is the danger of having a seizure. By increasing activity in the brain to dangerous levels, the person is at risk of having a seizure and death. Getting medical detox for these drugs is of high importance. The quantity of substance abused and the frequency of use is an important consideration, but with depressants it is better to play it safe. Many alcoholics do not feel they need detox. However, if they have been daily drinkers for even a month, then their body will be at serious risk of seizures quitting alcohol. Binge drinkers are not at as much of a risk for seizures, but caution should be used.


Benefits of Detox

Detox programs, like those at NewBridge Recovery, offer the person quitting drugs and alcohol a wide range of benefits. First, detox offers the person the relief of physical withdrawal effects. By offering medical assistance and tapering from the drugs, the person is relieved of the awful side-effects of quitting drugs/alcohol. Also the mental stress, such as anxiety, depression, apathy, are lessened when detoxed medically. At NewBridge we give our patients medication to reduce anxiety and mental stress of withdrawals. Our patients are monitored and treated if any physical or mental problem arise during the crucial detox period. The chance of giving up and returning to using drugs or alcohol is very high without detox. The physical and mental pain becomes too great and the person seeks relief in drugs/alcohol. At NewBridge we seek to reduce relapse during detox by making our patients as pain-free and comfortable as possible. Results show that people who undergo a medical detox have a greater start on getting sober. Perhaps the most important benefit is the reduction of risk and fatality provided by medical detox. With a full-time nurse and two resident doctors, NewBridge is available to assist our patients in the case of medical emergency and also to prevent such a crisis from occurring. If you are considering stopping drugs or alcohol, please consult with NewBridge or another detox center before going ‘cold-turkey’. Outpatient service offer other benefits to someone trying to someone struggling with addiction.

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Posted by on in Other Addictions

I have spent the last month unable to tear myself away from streaming a popular TV series that I didn’t watch while it was on the air weekly. There are 142 episodes and I am almost finished with the lot! Some days I have watched as many as 5 episodes. I am annoyed with my behavior and what a waste of time it is. Yesterday I tried to stop and couldn't.

Then it dawned on me that I am using compulsive TV watching to escape because I am going through withdrawal from my reading addiction! I have run out of books that interest me; most of the book stores in town have closed down; and the library is closed tomorrow. I guess that I will distract myself with a few more hours of TV and hope for the best while my Kindle is charging.

I am ashamed to admit that I am a book junkie. I mean the "hard stuff," the paper books, not the audio books. I love to lose myself in a good story or fascinating biography. The feel of turning the pages and the weight of the book is so satisfying. There is nothing like the sense of expectation I feel when I start a 500-page book!

I have been an avid reader since childhood. I remember how happy I used to feel going home from the local library with my arms filled with books. When I gave birth to my son I knew that I was going to have a c-section, so I went to the library ahead of time and made sure I put some books in my suitcase to take to the hospital since I was told that I would be there for up to one week. I knew that I wouldn't be able to get out for a while once we were home, therefore I needed a stockpile.

When I have nothing to read I experience withdrawal. I tend to feel antsy, anxious and sometimes get grumpy when away from my “fix.” My worst withdrawal experience came many years ago, before Kindles were invented, when my husband and I were invited to visit one of his friends who had moved to a nearby city. Chuck picked us up at the airport and drove us to his new home on top of a hill.


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