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When someone has an addiction, whether to alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling, or something else, there is always a feeling of euphoria that comes with it. This pleasurable feeling, often described as “high,” makes them confident, elated, and invincible. The drug-induced high is so addictive that most people want to pursue it continuously; however, it is usually fleeting and leaves as quickly as it comes. This leads to a drug comedown, a terrible state of physical and mental health with a myriad of severe symptoms that make it difficult to survive without abusing the responsible drug.

A drug comedown is one of the most frightening aspects of quitting a substance use disorder. Without professional help, overcoming it can become challenging. Fortunately, support is available to get through these difficult times without relapsing back to addictive behaviours.

A drug comedown refers to the effects of a drug wearing off. It occurs when drug overuse dissipates. Variations occur depending on how long someone has been using the substance or their current health status. The effects of comedown can be pleasant or unpleasant depending on the type of high that preceded it. If the drug triggers symptoms like delusions, anxiousness, or discomfort, the comedown that follows it is usually good. On the contrary, the comedown is mostly a disappointment if the high is pleasant with symptoms like high energy and increased focus.

The effects of a comedown can last for a few hours up to a few days. During this period, a user undergoing addiction treatment or practising sobriety is at the highest risk of relapse. The effects associated with it can sometimes get so intense that some people often take another dose of the same drug or a different one to make them go away. This habit can worsen the comedown and trigger a cycle of drug use that potentially leads to long-term addiction.

The symptoms associated with comedowns from alcohol or drugs can range from mild to severe. When a person falls victim to addiction, their body gets so used to having a constant level of the substance in their system that it may take some time for them to detox and learn how to cope without it.

For example, opiates induce a release of ten times more amount of dopamine than its naturally-produced levels in the brain. The body reduces its natural production to compensate for this dopamine surge. When an individual tries to quit using the drugs and undergoes detox, the lack of dopamine triggers a constellation of symptoms that persist until the body adjusts to the new circumstances and starts producing dopamine on its own again. This timeframe required for adjustment, known as a comedown, can continue for several weeks, making it challenging for people to continue. Other symptoms include headaches, nausea, reduced appetite, exhaustion, irritability, stress, and flatness of mood. Not all people with addiction experience comedowns the same way. For some, the gradual lessening of the drug’s effect produces milder symptoms, while others may experience a sudden, more intense crash.

A world-class residential drug rehab programme is highly recommended to ease the comedown symptoms. Such facilities are well-equipped to provide psychological, medical, and emotional support to individuals in detox while helping them learn healthy coping strategies.

If you plan to quit drugs or alcohol but are afraid of the pain and suffering associated with a comedown, you’ll want to stay clean and not use the offending drug again. However, cravings can sometimes get too difficult and intense. Fortunately, with the right guidance, you can get through the detox while staying off the offending drug to experience total recovery.

Mentioned below are some tips to minimise the discomfort of comedowns and support addiction recovery:

Get Professional Help

Getting off of any drug can be tricky. If there is even a small shadow of doubt about your ability to do it and succeed on its own, try getting help from an addiction specialist. Undergoing detox with the help of a specialist can help you ride out cravings, minimise the pain, and reduce the risk of relapse.

Pay Attention to Nutrition and Hydration

If you are soon to begin detox and anticipate going through a comedown, hydration and nutrition are the most important things to focus on. Comedowns can suppress the appetite, making individuals lose weight and lack essential nutrients. Ensure that you eat a well-balanced diet to fulfil your calorie demands and gain all crucial minerals and vitamins to stay healthy.

Most drugs, such as meth, can dry you out, and there is a good chance that you will already be dehydrated before the comedown begins. Remember to drink lots of water throughout the process to maintain hydration and prevent symptoms like lethargy, fatigue, and headache.

Get Proper Sleep

Drugs and alcohol are well-known to interfere with sleep patterns, and many people take it to stay up all night with high focus and energy. When you start detoxing your body from these drugs, focus on re-establishing healthy sleep patterns. Set a fixed sleep schedule and commit to sticking with it. A well-rested body and mind can help you think clearly and better participate in the recovery. It can also help you gain better impulse control and prevent you from giving in to drugs when cravings become too intense.

Keep Yourself Busy

Your drug comedown is going to be uncomfortable no matter what. Once you have gone through the peak intensity of the physical symptoms, try to stay busy in various activities to get through the remainder of the comedown. Having plans with family and friends can take the mind off the pain and discomfort associated with a comedown. Alternatively, sitting idle and feeling bored can trigger a craving and eventually a relapse.

Join Support Groups

Support groups have been helping people fight addictions and substance use disorders for years. Some of them are specifically created to help individuals based on their type of addiction. For example, you may find a support group dedicated to meth addiction, stimulant addiction, heroin addiction, etc. These support groups have members, sometimes in hundreds, who help each other stay sober by sharing experiences, providing advice, and giving support.

Focus on General Wellness

Focusing on general wellness can make a recovery from all types of drugs and alcohol easier. Consider engaging in an exercise programme to boost strength and improve your physical health. For mental health, joining a psychotherapy session can help deal with any issues related to addiction and general life. Don’t forget to focus on other bodywork, such as chiropractic work or massage, to ensure your body gets healthy. Nutritional therapy can also help individuals fight addiction by restoring healthy eating patterns to make up for all vitamin and nutrient deficiencies in the body. Remember, a healthy and physically stable body can significantly speed up recovery and make it easier to get through comedowns without relapses.

Everyone has a different recovery experience. However, the good news is that most people who quit drugs and alcohol regain energy, sometimes in only a few weeks. Of course, how quickly you recover varies, depending on your overall health, the type and amount of substance used, and how long you have been using it. Emotional and lifestyle factors, such as whether you have enough support or if you feel safe with the people around you, also drastically impact recovery.

If you are not in a supportive environment, it can become increasingly difficult to replenish your energy levels and battle addictions after substance use. In such circumstances, resources and dedicated facilities help you make a fresh start. Join a drug addiction rehab to heal and recover from comedowns and addictions in a well-supported environment.

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