What is Withdrawal Management?

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What is Withdrawal Management?

Drug and alcohol addictions affect the lives of more than 22 million Americans, their loved ones, and their families. When someone develops a dependency on drugs or alcohol, managing day-to-day tasks and obligations without drinking or using becomes challenging. Without your substance of choice, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms are the unpleasant and sometimes complex physical and emotional effects that occur when you try to reduce or stop using. The type and severity of withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person based on the substance used. While some may be mild, other withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and sometimes fatal. Without help from a medically managed withdrawal program, you may not have access to the help and support you need in the event of a medical emergency while detoxing.

What Is Withdrawal?

When you use certain drugs or alcohol repeatedly for an extended time, your brain and body adjust to having a certain amount of that substance circulating in your system. Eventually, chronic substance use causes physical and functional changes to the brain and how it works. The most significant change is how the brain produces dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness. Drugs and alcohol trick the brain into releasing abnormally high dopamine levels, leading to the “rush” or “high” people feel when drinking or using.

Untreated substance abuse generally leads to dependency and addiction. When one develops a dependence on drugs and tries to reduce or quit using them, they experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal occurs when your body tries to function without substances. 

It is the body and brain’s attempt to adapt to a “new normal” as you try to reduce or entirely stop using. Withdrawal symptoms can be a combination of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms, some of which can become overwhelming when you try to stop using without help from a Northern California medically-supervised detox program like Marina Harbor Detox.

What is a Withdrawal Management Program?

In a withdrawal management program, a skilled team of medical and mental health providers offers a wide range of therapy and treatment options. Using evidence-based therapy, holistic therapy options, and a combination of medical and mental health supports, medical and mental health professionals will support you as you begin your journey towards healing from addiction. 

Detox support in a withdrawal management program includes monitoring your vitals and, depending on your needs, administering medications to help reduce the intensity of specific withdrawal symptoms allowing you to focus your energy on getting well.

What is the Importance of Medically-Managed Withdrawal?

Detoxing alone or “cold turkey” can be dangerous and, in some cases, fatal. Suddenly stopping drugs or alcohol can lead to severe acute withdrawal symptoms. This is especially true if you need to detox from alcohol or opioids. Suddenly stopping certain substances can cause lead to heart attack, stroke, seizures, and delirium tremens (DTs). Any of these can be fatal if medical intervention is not available. 

Delirium tremens, associated with alcohol withdrawal, are of specific concern. Although they do not occur in every instance, when you experience DTs, the onset is sudden and intense. Symptoms including tremors, convulsions, hallucinations, disorientation, sweating, hyperthermia, anxiety, and irregular heartbeat may occur.

When you detox without the help of a medically managed withdrawal program, you do not have the benefit of medical or mental health professionals to help you manage withdrawal symptoms. For some, a lack of support can lead to relapse when symptoms get to challenging to handle alone. For others, the sudden onset of severe withdrawal symptoms can lead to an acute medical emergency. Outside of a supervised detox program, you may not be able to contact or access vital medical support services should you need them.

How to Find a Withdrawal Management Program in San Francisco

If you or a loved one has a drug or alcohol addiction and are concerned about effectively and successfully managing withdrawal, contact a member of our admissions team at our San Francisco detox center today. Detox (withdrawing from drugs or alcohol) is a necessary first step toward sobriety; however, it can be a complicated and challenging step without support and guidance. Let us help you begin your journey in an environment where you are safe and supported throughout each stage of detox. 
Contact us today for more information about withdrawal management programs in San Francisco.

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