Irritability when withdrawing
anonymous Asks ...
I quit cocaine and ever since I have been feeling very irritable. I am 3 weeks clean and it’s a bummer that I am not feeling a little more in good spirits. I feel like I should celebrate the longest I have been clean in years but what I actually seem to be doing is getting annoyed with everyone around me. How much longer am I going to feel this way? Or have I done some permanent damage to my brain and this is my new personality?
Jill Edwards Says ...
I am certainly in favour of celebrating the longest you have been clean in years. You are recovering from a drug which can in the long term be life threatening. There are a lot of possible reasons why you may be feeling irritable. It could be that these are still chemical effects of changing your habits. In other words part of the withdrawal effects. I doubt whether these are permanent effects, as I have known many people make a full recovery from cocaine use.
It could be that now that you are not taking the drug, you are having to deal with many issues of life that you did not previously have to pay attention to. These can range from larger issues like looking at the damage that may have been caused to your relationships, bank balance, criminal record and so on. Or it may just be that the mundane requirements of getting up and getting a day done, seem very straight and boring and annoying.
It may even be that you feel a basic irritability with yourself and you are responding to outside irritations instead. I do not know how the people around you are feeling. It may be that they also are still suffering from the effects of your using and that you are feeling that they are not happy with you.
This is an important time for you, as you rebuild your life. You will benefit from physical exercise, even if it is only walking, a couple of hours of walking every day will help to calm you. On the other hand, using relaxation tapes is also helpful. Group activities, or hobbies which you can focus on will distract you. Learning to get the right food that suits and nourishes you can provide a good place to be active. The principle here is to find activities which either calm you or allow the irritability to be expressed in activity.
You may need to address anger issues and this may need a counselling service or at least trying to find a self help book you like. Don’t let anger get you into trouble.
Cocaine Anonymous may provide some support at this time. This is about growing on from cocaine. It wont be that easy, but many people have found it immensely rewarding.
You can contact me for further counselling by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.