During detox, the body goes through a lot. A recovering addict will be exposed to physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms of withdrawal — which are often the reasons that most addicts avoid the experience. Depending on which substances a person is detoxing from, these symptoms can include:
- Jaw pain
- Muscular pain
- Mood swings
- Bladder leakage
- Blurry vision and other visual abnormalities
- Depressed mood
- Nausea, with or without vomiting
- Weight gain or loss
- Increased or diminished appetite
What Can Help?
Traditional prescription medications such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and pain relievers aren’t the only protocol for treating the symptoms of withdrawal. Many vitamins and supplements are beneficial to the recovering individual during this time, not only to alleviate symptoms, but also to support and encourage the actual detox process.
St John’s Wort Known mostly for the alleviation of depression and liver detox, this herbal supplement should only be used under medical supervision. Despite it being a natural supplement, it carries many risks, especially when mixed with other substances and medications. The drug is known to detoxify the liver by boosting the body’s natural rate of drug metabolism.
In a comparison of 72 patients treated with either St. John’s wort or a placebo for depressive symptoms, none reported side effects, according to the User’s Guide to Nutritional Supplements. Another study published by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association of just 43 people taking the herbal remedy reported 47 percent of them experiencing side effects, including food and drug interactions, withdrawal symptoms, serotonin syndrome symptoms, and depressive relapse. Case in point, the supplement can be controversial and use of it often isn’t advisable when taking other medications.
Probiotics Drug and alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on a substance abuser’s digestive system. Common complaints among addicts include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain. Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria that form in the intestines, and these healthy bacteria are quite beneficial. By repairing the dysfunction suffered by the digestive system, recovering addicts can spare themselves of the nausea, bloating, and discomfort that often come along with detox.
Alpha Lipoic Acid This antioxidant is generally derived from food sources as the body makes very little of it. It is popular among recovering alcoholics for its ability to facilitate healing of liver damage. Most of all, alpha lipoic acid (ALA) acts as the best in show of antioxidants by reusing other antioxidants and boosting their roles in detoxing the body from free radicals during the withdrawal process.
L-Theanine, GABA, and 5-HTP All three of these supplements may help alleviate depression and lethargy. In fact, 5-HTP alone can increase the natural amounts of serotonin in the body, which may help to get more restful sleep and lift mood and energy levels.
Magnesium Most helpful in treating insomnia, magnesium is best for addicts who are detoxing from a substance that may have robbed them of their natural magnesium levels – something that commonly happens with alcoholics. Malnutrition, diarrhea, and vitamin D deficiency can all contribute to depleted magnesium levels in the addicted body.
Milk Thistle Another popular option for alcoholics, milk thistle is a potent plant belonging to the daisy family. The seeds of these flowering plants may boast the power to help heal liver disease and spare the liver of potential further damage. These seeds are able to target the liver and detoxify it while remedying the damage that has already been done, to a certain extent.
Thiamine Thiamine deficiency is a common issue for alcoholics, namely those who suffer from Wernicke’s encephalopathy. This condition leaves addicts disoriented and can even cause optical paralysis and poor motor coordination. While severe in nature, the condition is generally not persistent. Around 80-90 percent of people with Wernicke’s encephalopathy will also eventually develop Korsakoff’s psychosis, which can cause dementia and behavioral dysfunction, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports. Other B-complex vitamins have shown moderate promise in the remediation of minor withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment is more readily available today than ever before. SAMHSA reports that there are over 20,000 rehab facilities offering substance abuse and mental health treatment services in the United States. Modern-day detox can be comfortable, and you have a myriad of options are your disposal.
Call us today to learn more about our comprehensive addiction treatment offerings. You can get started on the path toward a healthier future today.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.