Addiction is much more than a psychological dependence on drugs. Over time, continued substance abuse alters the addict’s physiology producing an overwhelming compulsion to continue using in spite of the consequences. Addicts may try to quit, but when they do, they experience painful, sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms. At Sovereign Health of Texas we help addicts face these challenges and stop using through a process known as detoxification treatment. Our detoxification treatment centers are the addict’s first step on the road to recovery.
Over time, the addict’s body goes through changes as he chronically takes ever-greater quantities of a drug. The addict’s system adjusts in order to cope with the toxins building up in his tissues and organs as a result of continual drug use. No organ is more affected than the brain as its structure begins to change in reaction to the abused drug. As the brain continues to adapt, the addict builds up a tolerance to the drug. Over time he craves more and more of it to achieve the desired effect.
Once these physiological changes occur, the body begins to function based on the expectation that the addict will continue taking the abused drugs. Accordingly, it is a shock to the system when the addict abruptly stops using them. This shock produces painful, even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the abused substance and the amounts taken over a given period of time. They include:
- Anxiety, restlessness, agitation
- Depression, irritability, lethargy
- Tremors, shakiness, dizziness
- Sweating, chills, hot flashes
- Changes in heart rate, palpitations, shortness of breath
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
Extreme symptoms include:
- Heart attack
- Psychotic episodes