Comfortable detoxification, or detox, is the process of letting the body rid itself of drug toxins. The purpose of detox is to safely manage withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking drugs or alcohol.
Everyone has a different experience with detox. The type of drug and how long it was used affect what detox will be like. Medications used in detox help keep former users comfortable while the drugs leave their bodies.
Factors Of Withdrawal Symptoms
It can take days or months to get through withdrawal symptoms for most drugs. The length of withdrawal depends on some factors, including:
- Type of substance the user is addicted to
- The duration an addiction has lasted
- The severity of the addiction
- Method of Abuse (snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing)
- The amount of a substance the user takes at one time
- Family History
- Genetic Makeup
- Medical Condition
- Underlying mental health conditions
Detoxing From Home
Choosing to detox at home can be deadly. Quitting “cold turkey” or without medical supervision can lead to severe issues such as seizures and severe dehydration. There are inpatient and outpatient detox programs that help prevent dangerous complications. People with severe addictions should seek inpatient detox because withdrawal can be fatal. Inpatient detox includes 24-hour support and monitoring.
Medical Detox and Rehab
Some people choose to detox on their own. This is not only harder but also more dangerous than detoxing with a doctor. Medical detox is the best way to get sober in a safe, comfortable environment. For those addicted to alcohol or benzos, medical detox is a must.
The Process of Detoxification
Everyone’s detox needs are different. The drug detox process helps addicted people get personalized treatment. In most cases, the process involves three steps:
- Evaluation: The medical team screens incoming patients for physical and mental health issues. Doctors use blood tests to measure the number of drugs in the patient’s system. This helps determine the level of medications needed. There is also a comprehensive review of the medicine, medical, and psychiatric histories. This information sets up the basis for the patient’s long-term treatment plan.
- Stabilization: The next step is to stabilize the patient with medical and psychological therapy. The goal of stabilization is to prevent any form of harm to the patient. Doctors can prescribe addiction treatment medications to avoid complications and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
- Preparing Entry into Treatment: The final step of detox in preparation for a treatment program. Doctors familiarize their patients with the treatment process and what to expect. Inpatient rehab offers the best chances of success after detox.
Side Effects of Detox
The process of drug detox can be painful and dangerous. This is why medical detox is necessary. This way, Detox with medical supervision allows patients to detox in a safe and comfortable environment. The extent of control is different in inpatient and outpatient rehab.
Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Complications
Although medical detox limits the symptoms of withdrawal, some are unavoidable. Some of the most common side effects may include:
- Nervousness or Anxiety
- Body Discomfort
- Mood Swings
- Poor Sleep
- Difficulty Concentrating
Detox by Drug Type
Detox is more difficult for some people depending on the drugs they used. Also, depending on the drug, withdrawal symptoms may be more physical or more mental.
Cocaine withdrawal, for instance, is more psychological. Detox involves managing initial cravings and anxiety. But alcohol withdrawal includes physical symptoms that can cause seizures or death in some cases.
Detox often includes medications that mimic the effects of drugs to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Medications may also target co-occurring disorders or general discomfort.
Drugs that are most dangerous to detox from and often require medication include alcohol and benzodiazepines. The drugs that are considered the most uncomfortable to detox from are opioids, especially heroin.
Rapid and Ultra-Rapid Detox and Risks
Rapid detox is a method of removing substances from a user’s system faster than regular detox. Advocates of rapid detox say it’s a faster way to get the drugs out of the body while avoiding painful withdrawal symptoms. However, rapid detox can be dangerous as well as expensive.
In rapid detox, the addicted person is sedated with anesthesia and given medications that replace the drugs in the body. This method was initially developed for people addicted to opiate drugs like heroin and painkillers. However, the risks of rapid detox often outweigh the benefits. Rapid detox can cause:
- Heart Attack
- High Body Temperature
Most people who complete rapid or ultra-rapid detox report continuation of withdrawal symptoms, albeit at a lower severity. Patients who choose rapid or ultra-rapid detox are much less likely to continue in treatment, such as attending inpatient or outpatient rehab. Because of this, they are less likely to work on relapse prevention, possible co-occurring mental health conditions, and life planning and, therefore, more likely to experience relapse.
Detox is just the beginning of addiction treatment. Detox on its own is usually insufficient for successful recovery. Addicted people need to treat the psychological component of their addiction. They can accomplish this with counseling, support groups, or an inpatient rehab program. Contact a treatment provider to find a treatment center near you.
At We Level Up Treatment Center, we provide world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. We work as an integrated team providing support through comfortable detox and other aspects of treatment. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.
Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.