By Cathy Habas Drug detox will change your life, but it’s not easy. You’re in for a week or more of withdrawal symptoms, which will vary depending on which drug you are getting out of your system and may include:
- Muscle aches and pains
To relieve the withdrawal symptoms, you’ll want to reach for your drug of choice, and resisting that urge is the hardest part of detox. That’s why you’ll want to arm yourself with plenty of alternatives to keep yourself comfortable and safe. Remember, you don’t have to detox alone. In fact, it’s a bad idea to isolate yourself during this experience. You can check yourself into a detox clinic for assistance, talk to your doctor for advice on non-addicting medicines that will ease your withdrawal symptoms, or enlist the help of friends who will monitor you and keep you safe. If you have been abusing hard drugs in large quantities, a cold-turkey detox could land you in the hospital. So be smart and prepare for all possibilities. Then get to it! A new life is waiting for you on the other side of this detox. Don’t delay its arrival any longer.
- Stay Hydrated. Drug detox symptoms can mimic the flu, and what should you always do when you’re sick? Drink plenty of fluids. You’ll be losing water via sweating, vomiting or diarrhea, and if you don’t drink enough water to stay hydrated, you’ll only feel worse. Drinking water will also help ease muscle aches and pains. Don’t drink energy drinks, coffee or soda. Stick to the basics that are recommended for people who have the flu: water, juice or Gatorade.
- Take a Hot or Cold Bath. Choose whichever temperature will feel most comfortable to you. If you’re sweating, try a cool bath. If you have chills, try a warm bath. Note that you might alternate between having chills and sweating excessively. Draw yourself a bath multiple times a day if you have to, or stand in the shower for a refreshing blast of water.
If you have muscle aches, a hot bath can loosen up your muscles. For best results, add a couple drops of an essential oil like lavender to put your whole body and mind at ease. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath will also help with muscle and joint pain.
- Use OTC Medicines. But be smart about what you reach for and how much you take. Pain medicines like basic aspirin or ibuprofen can help with muscle and joint aches and pains. If you are withdrawing from opioids, expect to experience diarrhea (opiate use causes constipation, and withdrawal causes the opposite). Take some OTC medications meant to help ease this symptom if it gets to be excessive (although a “better out than in” mentality is useful in the beginning, as long as you replenish fluids and electrolytes). The same goes for vomiting. If you’re not sure what is safe for you to use based on your particular drug abuse history, talk to your doctor or contact us for assistance.
- Get a Massage. The muscle aches often linger and are very distracting. Get some relief from the nagging pain by getting a deep-tissue massage. Go every single day if you have to. A massage therapist will best know how to reach deep muscles safely and effectively, but in a pinch you can probably enlist a friend to help you reach muscles in your shoulders and back. Some massage centers are booked days in advance, so scheduling an appointment ahead of time may be a very wise move.
- See an Acupuncturist. Acupuncture is best used in conjunction with massage. These therapies will stimulate your nervous system in different ways, releasing endorphins and easing muscle and joint pain. They can also help you enter a deep state of relaxation, offering you some relief from any mental distress you’re experiencing during your drug detox.
- Distract Yourself. You don’t have to stay in bed all the time, but at first that might be all that you feel like doing. Make sure you take your mind off of the nagging urges to use again by distracting yourself. Watch movies, play video games, talk to people on the phone, read, take a walk or do anything else that will take your mind off of unpleasant symptoms. Have friends drop by steadily to keep you focused.
Needless to say, you should take time off of work to detox. Take a break from your other responsibilities for the time being as well. This time is meant for you. Have friends or loved ones help around the house. Have your kids stay with their grandparents so you don’t have to worry about getting them to and from school on time. Then be kind to yourself when you ease back into your normal (but now drug-free) routine. Start with the essentials, accept help when it is offered, seek help when you need it, and remember that you’ve just accomplished something that took a lot of courage and fortitude. You’re stronger for it, and although it will take time to see the ripple effect in your life, things will look up!