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Withdrawals: Is There a Way to Stop Drug Withdrawal Symptoms at Home?

Written by Brandon Okey. Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy.

Drug withdrawal symptoms can hinder the recovery process, leaving many wondering if there is a way to stop these symptoms at home. From migraines to mood swings, you can begin to feel hopeless and lost without substances, making relapse an all too common and unfortunate occurrence. Fortunately, there are ways to suppress withdrawal symptoms, and with your loved one’s help, you’ll be able to get through the most challenging step in the recovery process. 

Why Drug Withdrawal Symptoms Happen 

Once your body has become accustomed to using a substance, it builds up a tolerance to the side effects brought on by the drug. Over time, your body will need more of that drug to feel the effects, and when you take away the substance, that tolerance is reversed— your body will crave those effects.  Experts recommend that someone attempting to stop using drugs taper off them, using less each time until you’re able to stop altogether; the cold turkey approach makes withdrawal symptoms worse and isn’t always efficacious.  It’s important to remember that recovering alone is nearly impossible, and it’s always best to have someone by your side to lean on during the recovery process— self-regulating or tapering can be challenging due to the compulsive nature of addiction. 

Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms can be different for everyone, and they can depend on how heavily you’ve used a particular drug. Some common symptoms that you may face during a withdrawal include: 
  • Irritability and agitation. 
  • Restlessness.
  • Intense cravings for the drug.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Nightmares.
  • Disturbance in your sleep patterns. This includes excessive sleep and insomnia.
  • Fatigue.
  • Depression.
  • A decrease or increase in your appetite.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Chills.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Tremors and shakiness.
As you can see, there are many withdrawal symptoms you can experience, and the amount is what makes self-detoxing so tricky. This also leaves people wondering if there’s anything they can do at home to treat their symptoms. 

Over-the-Counter Remedies for Drug Withdrawal Symptoms 

You’ll find comfort in knowing that there are several over-the-counter options when it comes to withdrawal suppression. These include: 
  • Acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen for aches and pain. 
  • Meclizine, dimenhydrinate, or Benadryl for nausea.
  • Loperamide for diarrhea. 
It’s essential to have someone in your support system monitor your intake. You should never take medications for longer than they’re required, nor should you exceed the daily dose. You can also choose more natural alternatives such as acupressure and herbal medicine. Things like Tai-Kang-Ning can help with more severe withdrawal symptoms. It’s essential to prepare for a detox ahead of time, so make sure you have at least a month’s worth of these medications.  Contact a medical professional if you feel that the regular dosage isn’t helping.

The Importance of Comfort

One of the best things that you can do to alleviate withdrawal symptoms is to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible to relax your mind and body. Comfort can mean something different for everyone, but some great recommendations include: 
  • Keeping your mind busy: read books, watch movies, work out, write, do crossword puzzles, or any activity that takes concentration. 
  • Keep extra blankets handy for chills and a fan ready for excessive sweating.
    • You can also use clothing items like t-shirts, cardigans, bathrobes, and sweatshirts.
  • Staying hydrated and eating a healthy, balanced diet. 
    • You should avoid drinks like coffee or soda. These drinks contain addictive chemicals and can even worsen shaking.
  • Make sure that your living space is clean. People underestimate how much more relaxed you can feel in a clean room. 
You’re less prone to notice drug withdrawal symptoms when you’re comfortable. Comfort will allow you to think clearly and make more rational decisions. 

Recognize When You Should Call a Doctor 

It can be a frustrating and risky process to detox at home. While withdrawal symptoms themselves aren’t life-threatening, they can be difficult to manage and may trigger a relapse— a relapse, on the other hand, can be life-threatening to a recovering addict.  If at any point you feel your drug withdrawal symptoms are too much, you should seek professional help immediately. A doctor can run several tests to evaluate any damage to your system and suggest medical solutions under challenging situations.  One significant side effect that can come with detoxing is dehydration. Severe dehydration can lead to abnormal heartbeats and circulatory problems. Dehydration can be identified by: 
  • Extreme thirst. 
  • Little or no urination.
  • Sunken eyes.
  • Parched mouth.
  • Fever.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Irritability or disorientation.
To avoid significant detox issues, you should avoid self detoxing if you have preexisting heart conditions. A doctor may also suggest that you check into a rehabilitation facility if they notice that your symptoms are severe enough and believe you can fall into a relapse. 

What to do When Self Detoxing Isn’t Working

At-home detox isn’t an easy endeavor, but it should not feel impossible or put you at greater risk. If you notice that your self-detox is doing more harm than good and that your drug withdrawal symptoms are only getting worse, you should look into a detox facility.  These facilities have the best resources when it comes to detoxification. They can monitor your health and provide a personalized treatment plan for a safer and more effective detox. More importantly, a detox facility will work to ensure that your recovery lasts. 

Count on the Professionals at Ardu Recovery Center

The recovery process can be physically, emotionally, and mentally strenuous when faced alone. If your drug withdrawal symptoms prove to be too much to handle on your own and you feel like you may relapse, contact Ardu Recovery Center. Our state-of-the-art facility near Salt Lake City in northern Utah provides comprehensive, inpatient addiction recovery services that use traditional and holistic approaches to the recovery process.  We help you every step of the way and won’t let you fall back into your addiction. If you’re ready to change your life for the better, don’t hesitate to get in touch— we’re here to help. 
Brandon Okey

Brandon Okey is the co-founder of Ardu Recovery Center and is dedicated to empowering people on their journey to sobriety.