Does Treatment for Drug Abuse Make You Feel Worse Before You Feel Better?

Getting treatment for substance abuse can seem scary at first. With so many treatment options, it may be difficult to know which one works best for you. Although treatment can initially feel like a foreign experience, the world of addiction is much harder to manage.

Which Treatment Option Is Best?

There is no “1” treatment option that works best for everyone. Depending on the individual, different types of treatment may work better than others. Many people find that a combination of treatment options work best for them.

Some of the standard treatment options include:

  • Therapy
  • Twelve-step programs
  • Medication

Since substance abuse is not always the only condition an individual may be suffering from, a variety of treatments are accessible. Those who suffer from depression or anxiety may need additional help. These conditions can also be felt when first going through the detox process. Similar medication can be prescribed.

Do You Feel Worse Before You Get Better?

Those who suffer from substance abuse issues usually experience a variety of tough life circumstances. Relationships with family or a significant other may have been jeopardized by addiction. Depending on how long the substance abuse has occurred, an individual may be homeless or unable to care for himself or herself in the way they once did. Treatment can often be a step-up for many.

For others, they may feel worse. In the beginning, everything is new. Without the use of substances, living life on life’s terms can provoke extreme anxiety. Once the body is used to an addictive substance that targets dopamine and/or serotonin on a daily basis, the lack of that substance may lead to depression.

Many people may feel out of place when they first begin substance abuse treatment. Feeling uncomfortable may equate to feeling worse for some people. For others, it may be a relief to not have constant thoughts about how to get the next high or where to find it. So many people that experience substance abuse are overwhelmed by the amount of mental space it takes up.

What About Withdrawal?

Withdrawal symptoms happen approximately 1-5 days after the substance was last used. During this time period, the drug is either actively leaving the system or has already left. During detox, the body and mind usually experience intense craving as well as several unpleasant side effects.

Side effects from withdrawal can consist of sweating, nausea, body aches, tremor, and even hallucinations. Going through withdrawal on your own is not usually recommended because of the pain and potential danger depending on the substance. For those who do go through withdrawal on their own, many relapses without the proper care.

To make withdrawal less painful, medication can be offered as a form of treatment. There are multiple kinds of medication that can be used depending on the symptoms. There are medications to help cut down on mental cravings as well as muscle aches, anxiety and nausea. Since trained medical professionals work with you on your treatment goals, they can administer the right dose and prescription.

Building Support

Treatment for substance abuse involves building a support network. Having friends or family around that use substances can be extremely challenging. During the treatment process, finding new or additional friends will help in your individual recovery. This is true whether you’re in an outpatient or inpatient treatment center.

Treatment for substance abuse involves extensive change. When people usually enter a treatment center, their life has become unmanageable and they are welcoming of change. Even though this may be great progress, any change can still be difficult. Even positive change.

To feel better while recovering from substance abuse issues, accepting outside help is critical. Those who have experienced substance abuse themselves or professionals who are trained to help with substance abuse treatment can provide resources and guidance. Rather than trying to do it on your own, allowing others to help can actually reduce anxiety and allow for a quicker recovery time.


Substance abuse treatment depends on multiple factors. An individual’s physical health, family history, outside circumstance and emotional well-being are all critical to understanding the right path. To better assess which type of treatment options would work well for you, talking to a trained professional can help. For more information please call, 833-762-3739.