What to Expect after Addiction Treatment

It is natural to expect wonderful things to happen after completing treatment for an addiction to alcohol or drugs. The good news is that you will have the opportunity to regain control of your life and you can start to rebuild damaged relationships with loved ones. However, it is important that you have realistic expectations, particularly in the early days.

Your life is not going to return to normality immediately and it may take some time before you see the benefits of living in sobriety. Remember, you did not become an addict overnight, so you will not get better overnight – it is going to take a while before you feel normal again.

If you have been wondering what to expect after addiction treatment, it is important that you know that you need to be prepared for all eventualities – the good and the bad. In fact, you may feel worse before you begin to feel better; indeed, there are many ailments that you may experience while your body heals itself. Below are just a few examples of health issues that are common in early recovery.

Aches and Pains

Alcohol and certain drugs tend to numb pain so when you are no longer using these substances, you are likely to suffer as your body needs to learn how to handle pain on its own once more. For a while, you may notice aches and pains much more than you had done before treatment. As time goes by, your body will get back to normal and your reaction to pain will subside. It could take a few months for you to notice an improvement but in the meantime, you can use non-medical methods such as meditation and massage.

Stomach Pain

Your stomach may feel quite sore after recovery and there are many reasons for this. In the case of alcohol abuse, you might have damaged the lining of your stomach with excess acid that is found in the alcohol. If the pain is mild, you can expect it to subside after a few weeks. Nevertheless, if it persists then it may be the case that there is an underlying issue that needs to be dealt with.

It is not uncommon for internal bleeding to occur, especially if the lining of the stomach has been damaged. If you are in severe pain and have bloody stools, it is important to seek out medical help. Likewise, if the pain does not ease up after a few weeks, speak to your doctor about it.


Constipation is one of the most common problems affecting recovering addicts. It is particularly prevalent among opiate addicts. Thankfully, it usually resolves itself with the introduction of a healthy eating plan and most affected individuals find that the problem dissipates after a few weeks.


Diarrhoea often alternates with constipation, which as you can imagine can be extremely frustrating. Many recovering addicts experience diarrhoea and vomiting upon quitting the substance to which they had been addicted. In most cases though, this will clear up after a few weeks.


Expecting to be full of energy when no longer abusing alcohol or drugs is common, so those who suffer fatigue are often surprised and disheartened by these circumstances. However, you need to know that fatigue is usually the result of the body working hard to get back to normal. It may also be caused by a vitamin deficiency due to a potentially unhealthy eating regime while you were abusing alcohol or drugs.

You should also be aware that if you are trying to do too much too soon (which many recovering addicts often do), you may become overly tired. It is crucial to be patient and to allow your body to heal before you start to try to do too much. Now that you are no longer abusing alcohol or drugs, you will have plenty of time to do all the things you want to do.

Heart Palpitations

Those who have been using stimulant drugs may experience heart palpitations during recovery. These can also occur in those consuming caffeine products. While heartbeat irregularities are not uncommon, if they persist it is important to seek medical advice. Your doctor might refer you to an electrocardiogram (ECG) specialist to check that everything is as it should be.


Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest which can be caused by years of drinking or drug taking, but it will usually subside after a few days or sobriety. Over-the-counter remedies can offer relief but if the symptoms persist, it might be due to a more pressing problem such as gastritis or stomach ulcers so will need to be checked.

Menstrual Problems

Female recovering addicts often experience menstrual problems; know that these do not usually rectify themselves immediately. Menstrual cycles may be all over the place, especially in the early days of recovery, which you might find frustrating. There is also a risk of unplanned pregnancy as it is harder to track your cycle, so this is something you will want to consider carefully. Your cycle should return to normal after a few months

Erectile Dysfunction

Most men will suffer erectile dysfunction during early recovery, but this is a problem that rarely lasts. It could be treated, if necessary.


Headaches are quite common and can be caused by tension and stress. Headaches can continue on and off for weeks or even months after quitting the substance you were using. Most headaches are the result of your body healing itself, but if they are persistent or accompanied by vision problems or vomiting, consult your doctor as further checks may be required.

Night Sweats

The first few days of sobriety can be uncomfortable and night sweats are a frequent problem for most people. This symptom should not normally last longer than a couple of weeks as your body starts to get back to normal. If it continues or gets worse, talk to your doctor as it may be caused by an underlying problem rather than withdrawal itself.

Be Patient

The above is just some of the common health problems that could occur during recovery. The type and severity of those you do experience will depend on what type of substance you were abusing and how long you were using it for.

However uncomfortable you feel in the early days of recovery, know that these symptoms will pass and that you will feel better. An improved life is waiting for you and with time, you will have more energy and will feel healthier than you have done for a very long time.

Knowing what to expect after addiction treatment is important as many individuals find themselves struggling to cope with reality due to unrealistic expectations. Recovery takes time and patience; if you have this, you will have every chance of achieving long-term success.

For more information about what to expect after addiction treatment, or if you want to know more about the types of treatment programmes that are available, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Oasis Bradford.

We provide first-class detox and rehabilitation programmes for those affected by addiction, and we have a team of expert advisors who can answer your questions. Please call today to find out more about what we can do for you.