Skip to main content

How to get help, decoded - Withdrawal Management

White man wearing blue shirt looking concerned.

(Published October 1, 2022)

It’s time. You know it’s time. You’re ready to embrace getting help for your substance use, but you have no idea where to start.

In general, the first step is meeting with a substance use disorder professional to determine what type of treatment might best meet your needs based on the impact your substance use has had on you.   For some, withdrawal management (detoxification) may be the first leg of the recovery journey.  For others it might mean outpatient or residential care.  We’ll talk more about those incoming stories.  

So, what does withdrawal management look like? Similar to other types of treatment, withdrawal management is tailored to the individual, based on which substance(s) you are using and how long you’ve been using them. Other medical conditions, family history and even mental health may also factor in.  In most cases, you will experience uncomfortable symptoms for three to five days. Those symptoms can include poor sleep, nausea, body aches, anxiety and mood swings to name a few.

The most important thing if you are thinking you are going into withdrawal is to seek help and make sure you are medically supervised. Your medical team will help you manage symptoms naturally, with therapy and with appropriate medication. The old “cold turkey” method can be dangerous since some withdrawal processes may result in complications like seizures.

We encourage you to contact Your Life Iowa to talk through your specific situation and find a location where you can access withdrawal management services in a judgement-free environment.  Being surrounded by care professionals is also critical because they will help you arrange and begin the next step of your recovery journey. Withdrawal management may be a critical first step to recovery and it is most effective when followed by additional treatment, which could be residential or outpatient-based.  Make sure to ask for options and actively look for a program that feels like a good fit for you.

We know that facing treatment can feel like staring straight up Mount Everest; you think it’s the steepest, hardest thing you’ll ever climb out of. And there is no question that recovery will be hard work. But when you find a treatment program that works with and for you, it just may be the most rewarding effort of your life.