Drug dreams are a common occurrence, regardless of which stage of recovery you’ve accomplished. When an individual experiences drug dreams, they often feel as if they’ve failed or cheated on their sobriety in some way. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s not the dreams that matter, but your response to them that makes all the difference in the world. The following insight is your ultimate blueprint of how to stay on track and overcome the ‘drug dream phase’ of recovery.
What are Drug Dreams?
Drug dreams are vivid dreams that feel as if they actually occurred even after you awake. People who wake up from these dreams feel as if they have taken substances, and may even feel phantom effects of substance use that never occurred. This is your body’s response to stopping an addiction that was once so prevalent in your life. As a result, many face the danger of relapsing upon awakening with the urge to indulge so freshly imprinted in their minds.
What Does a Relapse Dream Feel Like?
When it comes to relapse dreams, all senses are heightened. In these dreams, your subconscious taps into the stored memory bank of all your previous drug use experiences.
Therefore, you will often feel the euphoria, paranoia, and other contributing factors on the most realistic level. This can be a frightening experience. That’s why people often wake up thinking they have just used drugs or may even feel lingering effects.
This is merely a mental trigger that spawns a physical response. That is to say, you can trick the mind and body into feeling something that is not even in your system. This is a similar neuronic response to phantom pains, where you can trick your mind into thinking or feeling something that isn’t there. It has the potential to even trigger a withdrawal response, especially if you are early in the detox treatment phase.
At Which Stage of Rehab Are These Dreams Common?
Vivid dreams of drug use are extremely common early in the rehabilitation process, especially during detox. However, It’s important to note that these vivid dreams can occur at any stage of recovery. The most important part of these dreams is not their occurrences, but your response to them.
Your doctor or therapist should be immediately informed of the frequency and details of these dreams. Having this open-ended transparency with your doctor is more than just the key to eliminating such dreams. It’s the key to erasing the desire, craving, and substance from your life completely.
What Causes Drug Dreams to Occur?
While doctors can’t exactly pinpoint why these dreams occur, the science of our neuronic processes provides greater insight. All of which are related to what’s going on in your mind and body. Consequently, here are a few of the most likely causes of having such vivid dreams of drug use.
Dreams of drug indulgence are very common, especially early on in the detoxification and withdrawal phase. Therefore, science indicates such dreams are likely a coping mechanism for not receiving the addictive compound your body craves. Your body may even experience weaker withdrawal symptoms upon waking at the mere thought of using. This is a phantom alleviation of symptoms that helps the body cope with withdrawal symptoms in a roundabout way.
When you exert significant effort to forget the impulses of the addictive personality, your desires can vent themselves in subconscious ways. That is to say, exerting such effort to abandon desirable impulses can eventually work its way into your dream’s subconscious.
Your mental subconscious stores the remembrance of your euphoric highs. The result manifests itself in vivid dreams based on your previous experiences of drug use. That causes you to feel as if you have just taken the drug.
Addiction often occurs to alleviate mental and physical stress. Your mental and physical stress is also often heightened early on in rehab. Therefore, your body and mind attempt to alleviate that stress in the most natural way they know how; the feeling of drug use.
That is to say, mental and physical stress can be so great early in rehab that vivid dreams of drug use can occur when your body is at its most relaxed state. This is your body’s natural response to appease the stress of life’s circumstances until a new habit is formed to replace drug-indulging acts.
Science tells us that drug use is an REM and dream inhibitor. Correlatively, stopping drug use increases REM sleep and dream frequency, as well as vividness. That’s why people who are accustomed to using drugs experience fewer dreams, especially of the vivid variety. When they finally stop, not only do they experience greater deep REM sleep, but they will also experience very vivid and perhaps frequent dreams.
So much so that it can scare many into thinking they’ve relapsed. It’s important to understand these dreams are normal occurrences. However, they should always be shared with your therapist.
Our deepest fears tend to translate themselves vividly into our dreams. Correlatively, if you’re on track and have a fear of relapsing, you may begin to experience those fears in your dreams. This results in you waking up guilty, feeling as if you’ve cheated on your recovery. It is vital to understand this does not mean in any way you have failed. In most cases, it is a good indication that your recovery is trending in the right direction
Possessing multiple substance use disorders or co-occurring mental conditions increases the likelihood of experiencing vivid dreams of drug use. What’s worse, it can even magnify the frequency and intensity of these dreams to the point of being nightmares.
These potential dream magnifications are just one of the reasons dual-diagnosis treatment facility is a detrimental part of the recovery process. If you suspect you could have multiple or co-occurring disorders, reach out to a disorder assessment specialist today.
What are the Best Ways to Cope with Drug Dreams?
The worst thing to do with vivid dreams pertaining to drug use is to ignore them. Though they are a common occurrence early in recovery, they ought to be acknowledged and dealt with properly. The following coping methods are the best way to combat and overcome such vivid dreams of drug use.
The worst thing you could do is keep these dreams a secret from your physician or therapist. Your treatment is largely based on your personal struggles, words, and voiced needs. That includes sharing any occurrence of dreams involving drugs with your doctor.
They can help you work around these dreams by implementing substitute coping methods to make your relapse dreams a thing of the past. They can even help you understand these subconscious occurrences on a deeper level.
Drug addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and associated desires all negatively affect your mental psyche. Therefore, reinforcing your mental fortitude is a must when it comes to combatting cravings and vivid dreams involving drug use.
That’s why mental training therapy like Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) plays a vital role in the rehabilitation process. It plays an equally intricate role in helping you sustain independent sobriety beyond treatment.
Whether it’s producing good habits in life, occupation, or addiction recovery, everybody needs someone to help keep them accountable. An accountability partner is somebody you can turn to at any time of the day or evening when you’re at your weakest point.
This should be a friend, family member, or doctor you trust and can share anything with. Having a dependable partner to lean out throughout your recovery is a game-changer to helping you excel at each level of treatment.
There’s no way around the fact that professional treatment is a must for anybody with addiction. The importance is even more magnified if you’re experiencing vivid dreams of substance use.
Thankfully, Bayview Recovery Center has the greatest individualized treatment tools and methods for you to overcome every addiction obstacle. Our team of dedicated professionals takes your sobriety as their number one passion.
Vivid dreams of drug use can trigger desires to relapse if left untreated. This is where the importance of relapse prevention techniques comes into play. If implemented correctly, relapse prevention techniques are the fail-safe methods that will help you sustain independent sobriety long after rehab.
Bayview Recovery Is Your Recovery Solution
The treatment methods, physicians, and therapies at our addiction treatment center in WA give you the greatest defense against addiction and relapse. Our dedicated treatment specialists ensure you are equipped with the most well-rounded mental and physical tools to sustain independent sobriety.
We’ll do much more than help you eliminate your vivid dreams of using substances. We’ll help you neutralize those cravings and desires by replacing those bad habits with new enjoyable hobbies and activities. The ticket to your new happy life awaits at Bayview Recovery.