We’re hardwired to chase good feelings, and the driving force behind this Sisyphean effort is the ephemeral nature of the evoked feelings. In relation to recreational drug use v addiction, a major driving force is the feel-good euphoria that happens when a drug is first consumed. For different substances, the feeling can last a short-while or even hours. As chemicals in the brains react to the substance, the euphoric nature of the drug begins to dissipate and the user may seek to chase the high. A comedown meaning refers to the instances when the effects of the drug begins to wear off. Here’s what you should know about coming down off of a drug.
This yearning to feel good isn’t necessarily bad, and in most circumstances acts as a healthy incentive to work hard, learn, and do nice things. However, when drugs or alcohol sink their teeth, they corrupt this biological system, and the natural comedown from the momentary euphoria they provide becomes a trigger for re-use.
A comedown can be a truly disturbing experience for both the person going through it and for those supporting them, witnessing the consequences of drug use first-hand. We know it’s something all involved parties would sooner forget, but the more you understand about comedowns, the more effectively you’ll be able to manage them. For help with coming off drugs, contact an addiction treatment center for more information at 855-281-5588.
When referring to a comedown meaning, it is essentially the first phase of withdrawal symptoms, and it occurs as the effects of the drug begin to wane. You can think of it as a physical and emotional debt that must be paid each time a substance is used. In popular culture, a comedown is most commonly used to refer to the feeling of a stimulant wearing off, but there’s a comedown phase to every mind-altering substance, even depressants such as alcohol.
Although the term comedown describes the same biological response to drug use no matter the substance, how it manifests can differ dramatically depending on a number of variables, including…
- The type of drug
- Whether more than one type of drug was taken
- Tolerance to the drug(s)
- How long a person has been using the drug(s)
- How long the high has lasted
- How long the substances remain in the system
Comedowns will often be the opposite and equal reaction to the feeling of a drug. For instance, if someone has taken cocaine or MDMA, the transient euphoria and energy they’ll experience will eventually crash into a deep depression and exhaustion.
How Long Does A Comedown Last?
The feeling of a comedown can be enough to encourage someone to self-medicate with more substances, but if they can resist, they should feel more themselves before too long. It all comes down to how quickly the body can metabolize the toxins.
Certain substances stay in the system for longer periods than others, amounting to longer comedowns, but once the liver and kidneys work through the toxins, the effects of a comedown will ease.
However, if someone has become particularly reliant on a substance, it won’t be long before they begin experiencing further withdrawal symptoms, the momentary physiological reactions of your body in recovery mode when you get sober. These may include…
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of appetite
- Respiratory abnormalities
Comedown meaning offers an insight into the nature and extent of withdrawal symptoms and is usually determined by a number of variables, chiefly, the substance in question and the history of use. For instance, although there may be some overlap, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can differ from those of heroin or cocaine.
In some instances, the body and mind have become so utterly dependent on one or more substances that it goes into shock in their absence, leading to hallucinations, seizures, and possibly even death, which is why comedowns and withdrawal symptoms must be managed with the utmost care.
The Science of Comedowns: What Exactly Are Withdrawal Symptoms?
Regardless of the substance, a comedown is always a combination of four things: Toxins, dehydration, exhaustion, and chemical imbalances, but it’s the latter of these contributors that tells us the most about the short- and long-term effects of drug use.
Our brain communicates with the rest of our body via tiny messengers known as neurotransmitters. These messengers travel from neuron to neuron, regulating our emotions, movement, motivation, and pleasure.
According to studies backed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, when drugs are used, the way our brains send and receive information is drastically altered. This can happen in two ways. Certain drugs (marijuana, heroin) mimic these neurotransmitter messengers, taking their place in the receptors of neurons, but despite their ability to fool our neurons into accepting them, they don’t activate our receptors in the same way that the natural neurotransmitters do.
Other drugs (cocaine, amphetamines) stimulate the production of an abnormal amount of neurotransmitters that inevitably lead to a disruption in channels of communication. As the effects of the drug wear off, the brain finds it difficult to regulate production of these neurotransmitters, leading to a dearth of them in the bloodstream, causing the typical lows associated with a comedown. Comedown meanings can help us better understand what happens in the brain as a user shifts from recreational use to abuse to addiction.
Can Comedowns Affect a Person’s Ability to Recover?
The temptation to medicate a comedown with more drugs is a slippery slope, one that often leads to SUDs, non-fatal overdoses, and in many tragic cases, fatal overdoses.
People may also try to medicate the comedown of one drug by taking another. For example, someone might try to counteract the insomnia and anxiety of a cocaine comedown by ingesting a sedative such as a diazepam or alcohol, eventually leading to physical and mental dependence on both, putting even more strain on the user.
Polydrug abuse broadens the cravings of addiction. The two dependencies feed into one another, increasing the chance of relapse, and once one substance is reintroduced to the system, the chances of relapse with the other, skyrocket.
What’s more, the long-term effects of drug use and comedowns on brain chemistry can lead to negative adaptations in non-conscious memory, gearing learning mechanisms such as conditioning toward the damaging substance(s). In other words, certain aspects of daily life may become associated with the substance, triggering intense, uncontrollable cravings.
These cravings can persist long after kicking a habit and can make it extremely difficult to avoid a relapse.
Can You Reduce the Severity of a Comedown and Proceeding Withdrawal Symptoms?
Thankfully, there are a number of things someone can do to reduce the severity of comedowns and other withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Staying hydrated
- Increasing circulation by stretching
- Blocking access to more substances
- Eating healthy food (even if you don’t feel like it)
- Doing simple things that bring you joy like petting your dog
However, in cases of long-standing addiction to dangerous substances, withdrawal can be too dangerous to go through alone — but you don’t have to.
AspenRidge Can Help You Recover
Here at AspenRidge Recovery, we have the expertise and facilities to guide you or a loved one through the darkness of addiction withdrawal symptoms safely, and even when you get to the other side, we’ll still be with you. Contact us directly at 855-281-5588.
We understand that recovery is an ongoing process, one that doesn’t end when you complete a rehabilitation program, which is why we offer a lifetime of recovery support. Comedowns and proceeding phases of substance and alcohol withdrawal can make getting sober seem like an impossible task, but we can help you or a loved one navigate this obstacle, break the cruel cycle of dependency, and reclaim your life once and for all!