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What Will Happen to Me If I Stop Using Drugs?

What Will Happen to Me If I Stop Using Drugs?It is common for drug addicts to wonder what will happen to them once they stop using drugs. Unfortunately, many fail to seek treatment because they do not have the answer to this question. When a person uses drugs for an extended period of time, the adjustment to a drug-free life can be challenging. However, the ultimate result of quitting drugs is the achievement of a more fulfilling life.

Drug Withdrawal

When the body becomes addicted to a substance, the brain’s chemicals alter from their usual states. This often involves an increased or decreased production of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers of the brain. The actions of certain hormones and neurotransmitters are affected when a person uses drugs, and the brain eventually attempts to compensate for these changes. If a particular neurotransmitter is ineffective during drug use, more of it will eventually be produced to compensate. When this occurs, drug users experience tolerance and dependence.

Such chemical changes can also lead to dangers when the drug is discontinued. Once the body has increased the rate of certain chemical productions, drug use counteracts the chemicals’ actions. However, when the drug is not being used, the high concentration of those chemicals in the brain creates a very strong effect. This imbalance is what causes withdrawal symptoms.

Because different drugs act on different neurotransmitters, withdrawal symptoms vary between drugs. Alcohol, opiates, and tranquilizers are all depressants and therefore have similar withdrawal symptoms, including the following

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Stroke

On the other hand, those addicted to stimulant drugs like Ritalin or cocaine might experience different withdrawal symptoms. The imbalance of neurotransmitters while withdrawing from stimulants can cause the following symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Hunger
  • Cravings

While these withdrawal symptoms are common for recovering addicts, it is important to note that each person is different. The severity of addiction and the body’s physical reaction can lead to great differences in the withdrawal experience. Because a person’s withdrawal can be so unpredictable, it is important to seek the guidance of a healthcare professional when discontinuing drugs.

Coping Techniques

Along with the physical changes that occur in withdrawal, recovering addicts face a variety of emotional and behavioral changes. Coping techniques that were once effective for the addict may no longer work. In some cases, the addict’s prior coping mechanism was to turn to drugs. These harmful coping techniques must change as recovering addicts turn their lives around. Individual and group therapy are highly beneficial to learning new coping mechanisms. Fortunately, many drug rehabilitation programs offer these types of therapy to help recovering addicts.

Get Help for Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Drug and alcohol addictions are very serious and can be fatal if untreated. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, please call our toll-free number today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about addiction treatment.