Disclaimer: The material and information contained on this website is for educational purposes only.

What To Expect When Quitting Drugs?

Discover what to expect when quitting drugs: from withdrawal symptoms to overcoming challenges. Get the support you need to start a new chapter!

What to Expect When Quitting Drugs?

When someone decides to quit using drugs, they may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. Understanding these symptoms and the factors that can affect their severity is important for individuals on their journey to recovery.

Understanding Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms commonly occur when drug use is abruptly reduced or stopped. The specific symptoms can vary depending on the type of drug used, the duration of use, and individual factors. Some commonly experienced withdrawal symptoms include sweating, shaking, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and muscle aches. It's important to note that withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and can differ from person to person.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms
Muscle Aches

Source: Mayo Clinic

Factors Affecting Withdrawal Severity

The severity of withdrawal symptoms can be influenced by various factors. These factors include:

  1. Type of drug: Different drugs can produce different withdrawal symptoms and timelines. For example, withdrawal from opioids may involve flu-like symptoms, while withdrawal from benzodiazepines can lead to seizures.

  2. Length of use: The duration of drug use can impact the intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms. Long-term and heavy drug use may lead to more severe withdrawal symptoms.

  3. Method of use: The way drugs are used, such as smoking, injecting, or snorting, can affect the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Methods that result in faster drug delivery to the brain may lead to more intense withdrawal symptoms.

  4. Underlying medical or mental health disorders: The presence of any pre-existing medical or mental health conditions can impact the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Individuals with these conditions may require additional support during the withdrawal process.

  5. Genetic makeup: Genetic factors can play a role in how an individual responds to withdrawal. Some individuals may be more prone to experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms due to their genetic predisposition.

By understanding these factors, individuals can better prepare themselves for the potential challenges they may face during the withdrawal process. It is important to seek professional support when quitting drugs, especially when withdrawing from substances that may pose significant risks. With the right support and resources, individuals can navigate the withdrawal period more effectively and move towards a healthier, drug-free life.

Seeking Help in Quitting Drugs

When it comes to quitting drugs, seeking professional support is crucial for a safe and successful recovery. Healthcare professionals, counselors, support groups, and family members can provide the necessary guidance and assistance throughout the process. Treatment options for drug addiction may include medications, behavioral therapies, and support services.

Importance of Professional Support

Professional support plays a vital role in the journey to recovery from drug addiction. It offers individuals the opportunity to work with trained and experienced professionals who can provide personalized guidance based on their specific needs. These professionals can help individuals understand the underlying causes of their addiction, develop coping strategies, and address any co-occurring mental health issues.

Additionally, seeking professional support ensures that individuals have access to the necessary resources and treatment options. Healthcare professionals can provide medical supervision during the withdrawal process, especially when withdrawing from substances like alcohol, GHB, benzodiazepines, or ketamine. It is important to consult with a doctor or an alcohol and other drug treatment service before starting the withdrawal process to ensure safety.

Treatment Options for Drug Addiction

Treatment options for drug addiction vary depending on the individual's specific needs and the substances involved. Some common treatment approaches include:

  • Medications: Medications may be prescribed to help manage withdrawal symptoms, minimize cravings, and treat co-occurring mental health conditions. Examples include methadone for opioid addiction and naltrexone for alcohol dependence.

  • Behavioral Therapies: Behavioral therapies aim to modify an individual's attitudes and behaviors related to drug use. These therapies can be delivered through individual counseling, group therapy, or family therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and contingency management are some commonly used approaches.

  • Support Services: Support services such as support groups and peer counseling provide a sense of community and understanding. These services allow individuals to connect with others who have similar experiences, share advice, and receive encouragement throughout their recovery journey.

  • Residential or Inpatient Treatment: For individuals with severe addiction or those who require a structured and supportive environment, residential or inpatient treatment programs may be recommended. These programs provide 24/7 care, intensive therapy, and a drug-free environment to facilitate recovery.

It's important to note that each person's journey to recovery is unique, and treatment plans should be tailored to their specific needs. Consulting with healthcare professionals and addiction specialists can help individuals navigate the available treatment options and choose the approach that is most suitable for their circumstances.

By seeking professional support and exploring the various treatment options available, individuals can significantly increase their chances of successfully quitting drugs and achieving long-term recovery. It's important to remember that quitting drugs is a challenging process, but with the right support and resources, it is possible to overcome addiction and lead a healthier, drug-free life.

Challenges Faced in Quitting Drugs

Quitting drugs is a courageous and transformative journey, but it is not without its challenges. Understanding and preparing for these challenges can help individuals navigate the path to recovery more effectively. Here are some common challenges faced when quitting drugs: dealing with withdrawal symptoms, social and emotional challenges, post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), and the risk of relapse.

Dealing with Withdrawal Symptoms

When drug use is abruptly reduced or stopped, withdrawal symptoms may occur. The severity and duration of these symptoms can vary depending on factors such as the type of drug used, the length of use, the method of use, the presence of underlying medical or mental health disorders, and individual genetic makeup. Common withdrawal symptoms may include sweating, shaking, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, muscle aches, and more. It is important to note that withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. Seeking professional support and medical supervision during the withdrawal phase can provide individuals with the necessary guidance and care to manage these symptoms effectively.

Social and Emotional Challenges

Quitting drugs can bring about significant social and emotional challenges. Individuals may experience difficulty in adjusting to a new lifestyle and may face strained relationships with friends, family, and loved ones. Feelings of isolation, guilt, shame, and low self-esteem are common during this time. It is crucial to develop a support system that includes understanding family members, friends, or support groups. Seeking therapy or counseling can also help individuals address and navigate these emotional challenges effectively.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)

Even after the initial withdrawal phase, individuals may continue to experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). PAWS can persist for weeks, months, or even years after quitting drugs. Symptoms may include mood swings, sleep disturbances, cognitive impairment, low energy, and difficulty concentrating. Recognizing and understanding that PAWS is a normal part of the recovery process can help individuals develop coping strategies and seek professional help when needed.

The Risk of Relapse

Relapse is a common challenge faced during addiction recovery. Research indicates that 40-60% of individuals in recovery from substance use disorders will experience a relapse. It is important to approach relapse as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than as a sign of failure. Developing a relapse prevention plan, engaging in therapy, attending support groups, and implementing healthy coping mechanisms can help individuals minimize the risk of relapse and stay on the path to recovery.

While overcoming these challenges may seem daunting, it is important to remember that with proper support, guidance, and perseverance, individuals can successfully navigate the journey of quitting drugs and embrace a healthier, more fulfilling life. Seeking professional help, building a strong support network, and utilizing strategies to cope with emotions and cravings can greatly contribute to long-term success in recovery.

Benefits of Quitting Drugs

Quitting drugs can have a profound impact on both physical and mental health, as well as provide financial benefits. Let's explore these advantages in more detail.

Physical and Mental Health Improvements

  1. Better Focus and Memory: Becoming sober can lead to improved memory, focus, and mental clarity, resulting in enhanced cognitive abilities. This can increase productivity in work activities and hobbies.
  2. Reduced Risk of Heart Attacks and Cancers: Quitting drugs and alcohol can contribute to a longer and healthier life by reducing the risk of heart attacks, liver problems, and various types of cancers, such as liver, breast, mouth, esophagus, and pharynx cancer.
  3. Improved Physical Appearance: Giving up drug or alcohol habits can lead to a rejuvenation in appearance, potentially making individuals look younger and aiding in weight loss. This can result in healthier skin and a reversal of age-related signs.
  4. Better Sleep: Overcoming addiction to drugs or alcohol can lead to improved sleep quality, addressing issues like insomnia and facilitating a more restful sleep cycle. This can have positive effects on energy levels, work performance, and social engagement.
  5. Increased Self-Esteem and Mental Health: Getting sober can boost self-esteem, enhance confidence, and contribute to mental well-being. It can also aid in alleviating underlying mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, leading to greater mental clarity and emotional health.

Financial Benefits

  1. Cost Savings: Quitting drugs can result in significant financial savings. Substance abuse often involves substantial expenses related to acquiring drugs. By eliminating these costs, individuals can allocate their money towards other essential needs or save for the future.
  2. Improved Work and Career Prospects: Overcoming drug addiction can lead to improved work performance, reliability, and increased chances of career advancement. By maintaining sobriety, individuals can create a stable work history and build a positive reputation, opening doors to better job opportunities and financial stability.

By quitting drugs, individuals can experience a range of benefits, including improved physical and mental health, enhanced appearance, better sleep, increased self-esteem, and financial advantages. These positive changes can contribute to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. Seeking professional support and utilizing available resources can greatly assist individuals on their journey toward a drug-free life.

Resources and Support for Quitting Drugs

When embarking on the journey to quit drugs, it's important to have access to the necessary resources and support systems. In Canada and Australia, individuals can find various services tailored to help with substance use and addiction recovery.

Support Services in Canada

Canada offers a range of support services for individuals seeking help with substance use. These services are designed to provide assistance, information, and resources to those who are ready to quit drugs. Here are some key support services available in Canada:

Support Service Contact Information
Hotlines - National Crisis Hotline: 1-800-668-6868
- Text Crisis Services: Text 686868
Parent Support - Parent-to-Parent Support: Available online
Mental Health Support - Text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults)
- Text 686868 (youth)
Harm Reduction Centers - Harm Reduction Helpline: 1-902-470-8888 or 1-888-470-5888
- Location Finder: Call 1-833-292-3698
Naloxone Distribution - Naloxone Finder - Take Home Program: Available at participating pharmacies

These services offer a combination of helplines, text services, online support groups, and harm reduction resources. They are accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time, providing support throughout the journey of quitting drugs [5].

For emergencies related to substance use, such as overdose situations, individuals are advised to call 9-1-1 or visit their local emergency department for immediate assistance.

Support Services in Australia

In Australia, there are also support services available to assist individuals in their journey to quit drugs. These services provide guidance, information, and support tailored to the needs of those seeking to overcome substance use. While specific services may vary by region, here are some examples of support services in Australia:

Support Service Contact Information
National Hotlines - National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline: 1800 250 015
- National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre: (02) 9385 0333
State and Territory Services - Contact your local health department for information on services available in your specific region

These hotlines and state/territory services can provide individuals with the necessary guidance and support on their journey to quit drugs. They offer valuable resources and information to help individuals make informed decisions and access the appropriate support networks.

For individuals in Mexico seeking support to quit drugs, it is recommended to consult local resources and organizations that specialize in substance use and addiction recovery. These resources can provide tailored assistance and guidance to individuals based on their specific needs and circumstances.

Strategies for Overcoming Challenges

Recovering from drug addiction can be a challenging journey, but with the right strategies and support, it is possible to overcome these hurdles. Here are some key strategies to help individuals overcome common challenges they may face during the process of quitting drugs.

Coping with Difficult Emotions

Dealing with difficult emotions is one of the biggest challenges people face during their recovery journey. Emotions such as stress, shame, anger, grief, sadness, and anxiety can be major hurdles. Learning effective strategies to manage stress and cope with challenging emotions is crucial in addiction recovery. Some strategies that can help include:

  • Seeking professional counseling or therapy to develop healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Engaging in stress-reducing activities like exercise, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Building a support network of friends, family, or support groups who can provide understanding and encouragement.

Managing Cravings

Coping with cravings is another significant challenge individuals face when recovering from drug addiction. Cravings often feel intense and hard to resist, but there are strategies that can help manage them. Some strategies to consider include:

  • Identifying and avoiding triggers that can lead to cravings, such as certain people, places, or situations associated with drug use.
  • Using behavioral strategies like distraction techniques, engaging in hobbies, or practicing relaxation exercises to redirect thoughts away from cravings.
  • Seeking emotional support from a sponsor, counselor, or support group to navigate the challenges of cravings.

Transitioning to Normal Life

Transitioning from a treatment facility back to normal life can be more challenging than anticipated. Individuals may face difficulties as they return to an environment where past substance misuse occurred. To ease this transition, consider the following strategies:

  • Engaging in transitional care programs, such as intensive outpatient programs or sober living environments, to provide ongoing support and structure.
  • Building a supportive network of friends and family who understand and encourage a sober lifestyle.
  • Developing a routine that includes healthy habits, such as regular exercise, nutritious meals, and meaningful activities, to replace old patterns.

Dealing with Financial Challenges

Substance use problems can significantly impact an individual's financial well-being. High expenses associated with drugs and alcohol, along with secondary costs like debts, legal bills, and lost income, can persist even into recovery, causing additional stress and challenges. To navigate financial challenges, consider these strategies:

  • Seeking financial counseling or assistance to develop a plan for managing debts and rebuilding financial stability.
  • Exploring employment or vocational training opportunities to enhance financial prospects in the long term.
  • Creating a budget and sticking to it, prioritizing essential expenses and avoiding unnecessary expenditures.

Resuming Treatment After Relapse

Relapse is a common challenge in addiction recovery. It is important to remember that relapses do not have to signify permanent failure, and many individuals recover after multiple attempts [6]. If a relapse occurs, consider these strategies to resume treatment:

  • Reaching out to a supportive network, such as a counselor, sponsor, or support group, to regain motivation and guidance.
  • Learning from the relapse experience to identify triggers and develop additional strategies to prevent future relapses.
  • Seeking professional help, such as counseling or therapy, to address any underlying issues that may contribute to relapse.

By implementing these strategies, individuals can better navigate the challenges they may encounter during their journey of quitting drugs. Remember, seeking professional support and building a strong support network are essential in overcoming these challenges and maintaining long-term recovery.


Recent Articles

Have Questions or Ready to Get Help Today?


We're ready to assist 24/7 with any questions about treatment for you or a loved one.

There is no cost or obligation to enter treatment when you speak with one of our admissions representatives.