It can be very difficult for an individual who is struggling with drug abuse and addiction problems to even recognize the full extent of these problems, let alone the fact that they need help to overcome them. Once an individual does take the difficult first step to admit that they have a problem with drug substances and they need help for this problem, they can find that the road to full and lasting recovery is long and hard. Not only will the individual have to overcome cravings long enough to actually abstain from further drug use, but they will also have to address and resolve all of the physical, mental and emotional causes and effects of their drug use, and learn the life skills necessary to prevent a return to drug use at any point in the future.
When an individual is working toward recovery from drug abuse and addiction problems, they have to come to terms with the fact that the new “normal” condition they have been reduced to as a result of their drug use is quite uncomfortable. Their body has been drained of important vitamins and minerals, among other things, that usually keep them feeling well and energized. As a result, they often feel sick, weak and tired, which are all triggers for a relapse into drug use if the individual is not motivated or educated enough to overcome these difficulties. While there are really no “easy” physical symptoms of drug recovery, perhaps one of the most difficult things to deal with during recovery is insomnia.
Insomnia in Recovery
Insomnia can be excruciatingly difficult for even a healthy individual to deal with. The constant tossing and turning, the extreme and never-ending exhaustion and the frustration that comes with an inability to get restful sleep makes it very difficult for an individual to function normally. If the individual is also struggling with drug abuse and addiction problems, or trying to recover from these problems, they can find it quite unsettling.
A normal sleep cycle would last from four to nine hours and length, and would move through two main cycles, including REM and non-REM sleep. Such a sleep cycle would generally follow a predictable pattern that allows the body and the brain to rest properly and fully. This process is run by the complex interaction of various brain chemicals, especially norepinephrine and serotonin. Insomnia occurs when the normal sleep cycle is disrupted, and it can lead to extensive mental problems and medical complications, including impaired concentration, elevated blood pressure, irritability, depressed mood, increased anxiety, a compromised immune system, weight gain and more. Obviously, an individual suffering from insomnia and lack of sleep is also at greater risk of injury from accidents.
Insomnia can either occur as a result of drug abuse and addiction problems or it can lead to these problems. In the former case, various drug substances interrupt the brain chemicals that allow restful sleep, and in the latter case, various drug substances are used to self-medicate in the hopes of forcing restful sleep. Alcohol use is not uncommon for insomniacs, as this sedative drug substance can cause the individual to feel calmed and relaxed, and can even lead to forced unconsciousness. Unfortunately, over time alcohol can further aggravate the individual’s sleep problems, often forcing the individual to consume more alcohol or even other drug substances. This too can create a vicious cycle from which the individual is unable to recover on their own.
Studies have shown that roughly three out of every four recovering alcoholics reported they experienced problems with sleep after working through detoxification. Other studies have indicated that these insomnia problems can continue for as long as five weeks, and that individuals experiencing insomnia during recovery were twice as likely to relapse as those individuals who are were not experiencing insomnia. This makes it necessary for rehabilitation treatment programs to treat the problem of insomnia as well as all of the other physical, mental and emotional problems the individual may be experiencing as a result of their drug use habits.
The Road Out
There is absolutely no arguing the fact that drug abuse and addiction are difficult problems to fully and permanently recover from, but it is also important to recognize the fact that full recovery can be and has been done time and again. With the right information, support and encouragement, an individual can successfully put an end to their drug use and walk forward into a healthier, happier future.
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