As an Orange County rehab provider, we’ve noticed that our community is often very sensitive about health. If you’ve ever changed your diet, your sleep schedule, or even come back from a vacation, you know how drastic changes in your environment can mess up your mood. The same effect happens with addiction recovery and detox. The receptors in our brain become used to having a certain substance in heavy abundance. Taking such chemicals away gives our system a sudden shock.
Early recovery consists of purging the body of all those chemicals that we’ve grown dependent on. This is often considered the most grueling and difficult part of recovery because this detox has a number of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. When detoxing from certain drugs we could feel nausea, vomiting, fevers, irritability, painful headaches and a number of other symptoms. Many people suffer from nightmares and disorientation. These symptoms can last as long as a week.
Medical supervision is always recommended as you go through detox simply because this first week can be so challenging and even dangerous. With established, heavy substance dependencies, many people can suffer serious illness without supervision. Acute Alcohol Withdrawal is one such case.
In other cases, such as with opiates, new medicines like methadone and other substances can be used to reduce or even erase the withdrawal symptoms as you go through recovery. These medicines are often watered-down versions of illicit opiates or synthetic variations designed as a transitional drug in addiction recovery. Managing the symptoms
Mood Swings in Early Sobriety
Mood swings can be detrimental to recovery because they can hurt motivation, make us feel like we’re not making progress in recovery, or scare others away from helping us. Professionals in rehab and detox are used to these mood swings, and we understand that they come from pain, nausea, and a mix of powerful chemical reactions. Rather than fighting them, it’s important to understand them, manage them, and understand our own bodies in this turbulent journey of recovery.
Techniques to Manage Mood Swings in Recovery
Healthy eating is one part of feeling better and gaining control of your mood. Fat, greasy foods can leave us feeling queasy, irritable, and moody. While eating more greens and drinking water won’t immediately counter-balance the sudden loss of addictive chemicals, it’s one step towards feeling better and being in control of your bodies mood.
Meditation, exercise, and yoga are also important parts of feeling better and regulating our bodies healthy moods. Getting our blood pumping can help us achieve natural dopamine highs, similar to the effect of drugs, but with healthier results all around. A study at Harvard found that including exercise during treatment resulted in higher rates of continued sobriety post-recovery.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another important technique for understanding our own physiology and moods. In CBT, patients learn to read their own bodies’ warning signs, such as stress, tension, and exhaustion. Through this, patients can understand when they are truly feeling uncomfortable or burnt out, or when their body is just moody as a reaction to detox or other stressors. By analyzing their own bodies, patients also learn how to predict potential triggers for mood, stress, or other physiological responses, and can prepare for them.
Addiction recovery and detox can seem like a mountain of challenges, but with the right care, an easy system of health maintenance, and the right tools and training, managing detox and the mood swings that come with can not only be manageable and rewarding but can pave a lifetime of healthy habits.