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Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

Authentic Recovery Center | Licensed Provider for Detoxification, Residential, Outpatient and Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment in Los Angeles, California.

“I had been to 2 other treatment centers prior to finding the Authentic Recovery Center. Take it from me, I did more work there in 30 days there than I did in both other facilities combined, and I didn’t relapse afterwards…”

Jason – Santa Monica, California

Getting Started

The Authentic Recovery Center is a co-occurring disorders and addiction treatment program located in Los Angeles, California. We offer medically managed detoxification services for acute withdrawal symptoms, as well as multiple ongoing residential and outpatient rehabilitation options. If you would like to learn more about our detox center call 1 877 415 4673 now.

Learning More

This section of the website will provide a broad overview of what defines Acute Withdrawal Symptoms. Discussion will include a general summary of what constitutes signs of Acute Withdrawal Symptoms, followed by a brief overview its symptoms, and finally ARC’s treatment methods.

Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

Acute withdrawal refers to the initial set of symptoms that occur following cessation of long-term abuse of some drug or medication. It is, quite literally, the stage from which most addicts flee, and is in part defined by the lengths an addict or alcoholic will go to circumnavigate the extreme discomfort that attends this first stage of abstinence. For this reason the term acute is best regarded as a qualitative state, as opposed to a quantitative measurement; which essentially means that this stage of treatment has less to do with the specific symptoms that develop in the absence of different drugs, as it does their intensity and duration.

Physicality of Acute Withdrawal

In this way Acute Symptomology is typically considered to be a physical intervention rather than psychological inquiry, with the focus of treatment being the alleviation of the worst and most dramatic, physical side-effects. Successful treatment of this variety of symptoms almost universally demands inpatient care of some kind; be it hospital, clinic, or residential treatment center. Bearing this in mind, it is worth noting that in the same way Addiction develops via a series of phases, recovery also requires that the addict pass through a series of developmental phases. People become Dependent on drugs and medications for a number of different reason; genetics, family history, Psychiatric disorders, etc. And as no two people become addicted in exactly the same way, not two people will respond in a standardized manner to the treatment options available.

Causes of Acute Symptoms

With regards to the Acute Withdrawal symptoms themselves, their course is always shaped by the kind of drug the person has abused. Acute Withdrawal from Heroin generates a set of side-effects that is fairly predictable, in addition to being very different from the Acute Withdrawal symptoms brought on by Benzodiazepines. Because of the complex way in which a person’s body responds to abstinence (usually further complicated by additional and c o-occurring mental health disorders – more below), detoxification necessitates oversight by a physician with a background in Addiction medicine, which is co-administered by an experienced team of cross disciplined mental health professionals who are experienced addressing the needs of this specific population.


It is worth noting that Addiction is what is known as a Progressive disease, which means that over time, if left untreated, the person’s condition will inevitably worsen rather than improve – few, if any, addicts or alcoholics ever demonstrate spontaneous restoration of their mental well-being without some sort of intervention and support network. Determining at what point one should suggest, insist, or assist someone to seek help is a difficult question to answer because of the inexact nature of the Addiction’s course. It is necessary to take into account all of the distinctions and characteristics that make each person unique, with each having a unique set needs that will have to be addressed. Building a knowledge base with regards to what constitutes the best possible fit between services and the Addicted person will prove pivotal to providing the correct support.

Physical Symptoms of Acute Withdrawal

The following list is not comprehensive but should give you an idea of some of the more common physical symptoms that indicate the presence of withdrawal. These include:

Increased heart rate and/or blood pressure.

  • Sweating, chills, and tremors.
  • Confusion.
  • Seizures.
  • Cramps.
  • Body aches and pains.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Insomnia.
  • Runny nose and fever.

Emotional Symptoms of Acute Withdrawal

In addition to physical withdrawal symptoms, symptoms can also manifest emotionally. Emotional symptoms include:

  • Extended periods of depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Nervousness.
  • Volatile mood swings.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

Common Drugs of Abuse

The following is a list of some of the more commonly abused drugs available. These drugs include:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Hallucinogens
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opiates
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Inhalants
  • Methamphetamine
  • Nicotine

Treatment & Dual Diagnosis

At ARC, the primary operative principle is to meet the client where they are at, and from there create a personalized treatment plan that will honor them as an individual and strive to do away with assumptions based upon conventional or standardized modes of clinical care. Addiction treatment that successfully helps one to initiate their recovery and pass through the acute phase must address the issues that accompany a Dual Diagnosis; which necessitates that one’s Addiction be simultaneously treated along with their secondary disorder; with each condition being thought of as part of a whole. The first phase of any treatment plan, however, is detoxification (Dual Diagnosis refers to a condition in which one’s Chemical Dependency plays out in tandem with another mental health disorder – Depression, Anxiety Disorder, etc. – complicating treatment and requiring a subtle set of protocols to halt the progression of both conditions).

Initial Assessment

At ARC, a Dual Diagnosed client is carefully assessed by one of our physicians to determine the correct course of action to rid the person of their physical Dependence.  During and after this initial phase a comprehensive treatment plan is developed, taking into consideration all of the factors that contribute to a client’s mental health status, including family history and medical history, in addition to all relevant psychological factors.

Multi-Faceted Treatment Process

Once the Acute phase of treatment has been surmounted, the Addict enters the second phase of treatment, which is both more rigorous and more rewarding because it demands of the individual that they participate in their own treatment. At ARC, the clinical protocols employed following one’s successful detox are multi-faceted.  As stated before, Chemical Dependency and Dual Diagnosis is a complex set of issues that requires multiple tactics to successfully treat. Features of ARC’s treatment options includes:

  • Individual and group counseling.
  • Attending 12 Step meetings and working a 12 Step program.
  • Psychotherapy.
  • Family and couples counseling.
  • Education and supplemental, alternative therapies such as nutrition and exercise.
  • Comprehensive aftercare services, which include continued psychotherapy, continued monitoring of one’s medication regiment, and continued care with regards to one’s psychological progress.

Social Model Rehabilitation

Unique to ARC’s treatment strategies is utilizing the social aspects of the residential setting. Addiction is in part a disease of isolation. The addict isolates themselves, and also ends up isolating loved ones, friends, and family. The social component of addiction treatment is vitally important, without which treatment cannot occur. The group must be used to organically create an environment in which a Chemically Dependent person learns to express feelings, process emotions, successfully resolve conflicts, and essentially learn to develop and maintain healthy relationships that will be crucial to their long-term recovery. If successful, the social element of ARC addiction treatment will act as a map of sorts that the addict will unconsciously carry over into other aspects of their life.

Family Support

Addiction treatment also must take into consideration the family component. At ARC, family support is provided with group therapy, couples counseling, and family therapy.  This network of support encourages and supports loved ones to become a part of the addict’s process of recovery, and in turn fosters their own growth. As with all diseases that are chronic and debilitating, addiction takes a toll on families, and requires both treatment of its own kind, in addition to education, to be fully comprehensive. Everyone has heard of the word “enabling”, and it is a word which is perhaps overused. However, with regards to long-term addiction, enabling takes on a very specific meaning. Typically it is used to describe how loved ones unwittingly assist an addict to continue using. But the term actually means more; enabling it is not only the ways in which loved ones allow an addict to continue using, but more importantly refers to the unconscious ways in which loved one’s perpetuate both addiction and their own deterioration, usually without their knowledge.

Types of Therapy Employed

ARC’s Chemical Dependency programs employ various behavioral therapies in conjunction with medications and cognitive behavioral therapies. These therapies include:

  • CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, targets destructive thoughts and destructive behaviors and aims to have the client unlearn them. In place of these destructive traits the client is instructed and encouraged to construct new belief systems that counter the destructive cycles that characterize addictive behaviors and thinking.
  • IGT, or Integrated Group Therapy, is a recent addition to the preexisting therapies designed to tackle Dual Diagnosed individuals. Using the group setting, this style of therapy targets people suffering from bipolar disorder and drug addiction.
  • ET, or Exposure Therapy, is a behavioral model that had proven useful in assisting addicts also suffering from phobias or anxiety disorders. Frequently with people suffering from anxiety disorders, they find themselves triggered by specific stimuli, which in turn triggers a craving for a drug. Like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy seeks to unlearn these responses, and to establish in their place more rational, less destructive responses. This style of treatment has promise assisting individuals who experience anxiety and are also addicted to cocaine.
  • DBT, or Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, specifically seeks to lessen behaviors that cause self-harm, such as cutting or mutilation. It is also used to treat individuals with a history of suicidal ideation or suicide attempts, and has proven helpful treating individuals who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Advanced Holistic Methodology

It should be noted that no one single therapy provides a cure, and that the most successful interventions combine different therapeutic styles in conjunction with various medications. This is where the need to utilize an integrated approach becomes necessary.  At ARC, Chemical Dependency treatment is distinguished by the comprehensive programs created by our multi-dimensional staff, which includes after-care programs specifically tailored to the needs of each individual.

ARC’s multidimensional approach includes:

  • The most advanced and effective Dual Diagnosis treatment available.
  • Comprehensive assessments that take into consideration both medical, psychological, and emotional factors.
  • Detoxification services that are closely monitored by our trained staff and overseen by independent doctors.
  • A dignified approach that honors the total needs of the client.
  • Counseling that includes Family Counseling, Group counseling, as well as One-on-One Counseling.
  • Ongoing therapy with clinicians who specialize in Addiction pathology.
  • Long-term treatment planning that includes Aftercare, Extended Care, and Alumni services.
  • Integrated treatment specially designed to treat Dual Diagnosed individuals. This includes psychiatric care, oversight of medications, and continued aftercare.

Call to Learn More about the Authentic Recovery Center Today

This is by no means a comprehensive picture of the services ARC provides. Please visit the other sections of our website to better understand the full spectrum of Addiction Treatment options available to you or your loved one. Education is the most important tool available to you, and keeping current on latest treatment practices is the best way to ensure you or someone you love receives the care they need. If you would like to learn more about our Dual Diagnosis treatment services please call 1 877 415 4673 to speak with a counselor today.

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