What is emotional withdrawal?

While physical withdrawal is clear-cut, evident by physical symptoms and is treated with medication; emotional withdrawal is subjective in nature, evident by disclosures regarding emotional changes, and is not treatable with medication. It is, however, no less real.

Here again we might be bumping up against the influence of the traditional medical model orientation that does not give the concept of emotional withdrawal much thought.

Since emotional withdrawal is not something that is easily observable, the only way to know of its existence is by hearing addicts describe what happens to them emotionally or experientially during and subsequent to getting high. The after-effect or when the high wears off, a state of insatiability starts and continues. The addict will find him/herself in a worse mood than before getting high and not know why.

After coming down, reality becomes a less than experience - one’s problems and limitations become more pronounced. The addict subconsciously measures how s/he feels when sober against how s/he feels when high, focusing entirely on the difference – without considering the source of the relief attributable to the substance or activity. The addict has no idea that s/he is trapped in a cycle of perpetual insatiability.

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About Daniel Linder, MFT

Daniel Linder

Relationships. I was born with a keen sense about relationships, was always assessing how close and intimate people are with each other. I had a knack for relationships. The importance of relationships cuts to the core of who I am. The combination of clinical training, 25 years of professional experience treating dysfunctional, non-intimate couples and families, as well as rigorous self analysis has given me a lot to work with. I put what seemed to come naturally to me under a microscope in an effort to break the process of building healthy relationships down to concrete essentials: Understanding of Basic Principles, Communication Skills, Self-realization and Intimacy.

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