Most of us use stimulants every day without even thinking about it. In fact, we take the effects that stimulants have on us for granted, relying on them to help us feel more alert and be more productive. Caffeine and nicotine are the two most common stimulants in use today, but there are stronger stimulants. Harder stimulants have a more intense effect on the brain and central nervous system, which also makes quitting these substances that much more difficult. Examples of stimulants include:
Even some diet pills contain stimulants. The stimulants in diet pills help speed up the body’s metabolism, promoting faster weight loss. While these are over the counter products, you shouldn’t assume they’re harmless or non-addictive. Taken long enough, or in large enough quantities, even diet pills can become addictive. The effect the stimulants have on the brain and central nervous system will be the same, regardless of the source of the stimulant.
Fatigue is a Common Stimulant Withdrawal Symptom
As you get clean and begin your recovery from your stimulant addiction, one of the most common withdrawal symptoms you’ll experience is fatigue. This is a major aspect of “crashing,” or coming down from the high that the stimulant produced. As time goes on and your cravings worsen, your fatigue will also become more pronounced. This is because your brain and central nervous system are trying to compensate for the lack of stimulants in your system. Essentially, your body is rebooting itself.
You may wonder how you can overcome the fatigue you feel. Unfortunately, the only way is to live through it and cope with it the best you can. Since you probably didn’t sleep well throughout your stimulant use, this is a time you should feel able to catch up on your sleep. Getting extra rest can help you adjust a little better. If you’re in an outpatient recovery program, taking a few days off from work may be helpful. You should also avoid participating in social activities. Resting as much as possible will help you manage your feelings as your body adjusts to the absence of drugs.
What Can You Expect From Stimulant Withdrawal?
You can expect the withdrawal symptoms to begin within 24 to 72 hours after you took your last dose of stimulants. In addition to fatigue, you will also experience body aches, feelings of anxiety, and depressive episodes. If you were a heavy user of stimulants, you should also expect to experience sleeping difficulties and hallucinations. The first 4 to 10 days will be the hardest in terms of withdrawal symptoms. Your cravings will be the most intense, while fatigue and depression will grow worse.
Over the next 11 to 17 days, your fatigue and other withdrawal symptoms should be starting to subside. However, sleep difficulties and depressive episodes may persist. In some cases, recovering stimulant addicts enter into a stage of hypersomnia, which is a state of excessive sleeping. Typically, someone suffering from hypersomnia finds it difficult to stay awake during the day, even after having had a sufficient amount of sleep. By the time you have been clean for 18 days, most of your withdrawal symptoms should have dissipated. Even your cravings should be mild and more manageable at this point.
A Medical Detox Can Help You Get Clean
As with any type of addiction treatment, the first step is to stop using and to get clean. How you get clean will depend on the type of stimulant you were using, how long you had been using, and how large of a dose you usually took. For less severe addictions, you may be able to taper off on your own and experience only minor withdrawal symptoms.
If your addiction was more severe, you will likely need help to get clean. A medically supervised detox involves using a prescribed medication to help reduce withdrawal symptoms as your use of the drug is tapered off. This can be the best way to get clean because severe withdrawal symptoms can pose health risks. When you’re participating in a detox program, there will be caregivers nearby to monitor your condition and, if it’s needed, they will be prepared to provide medical care.
If you are struggling with drug addiction, the first step is to admit that you need help. When you call (866) 840-6411, you can have a confidential conversation about addiction treatment with one of our counselors. This can help answer any questions you may have and help you arrange to begin an addiction treatment plan.