What is Drug Detox?
Drug detoxification, commonly referred to as detox, is the process of allowing your body to clear all of the drugs out of your system. This process can lead to negative symptoms, called withdrawal, which is a large part of what makes stopping drug use so difficult. Most often these symptoms are merely unpleasant physical problems, much like being sick, but for some addictions, withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. That is why addiction rehab facilities have specialized drug detox programs. Within these programs, people are monitored and given medications to help make their withdrawal symptoms easier to deal with – and help prevent or treat any medical emergencies if they arise. Continue reading to learn more about the drug detox process and our addiction treatment center here in Florida.
What Causes Withdrawal Symptoms?
Withdrawal symptoms occur because drug abuse changes the way your brain works by affecting your brain’s reward system. This is the area of your brain that releases chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for making you feel happy and relaxed. For people who aren’t addicted to drugs, these chemicals are released in small amounts when they do positive things, like a hobby they enjoy. But when someone uses drugs, these chemicals are released in a much larger amount. This makes your brain associate drugs with positive feelings. The more you abuse drugs, the less your brain is able to release these chemicals naturally. This is what leads to an addiction. If you stop taking drugs, your brain makes you crave them in order to feel better, which is what leads to withdrawal symptoms.
Drug Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal process, as well as its symptoms, can vary depending on what drug you are addicted to, as well as how much you have been using. Symptoms can appear in as little as a few hours after the last time you used and can continue for a few days or weeks. Some of the most common drugs and their withdrawal symptoms include:
Agitation, anxiety, hallucinations, seizures, and tremors
Anxiety, agitation, depression, mood swings, stomach pains, sweating, and tremors
Agitation, anxiety, diarrhea, insomnia, muscle aches, nausea, sweating, watery eyes, runny nose, vomiting, and yawning
Body aches, chills, dehydration, depression, hallucinations, insomnia, restlessness, slowed heart rate, and slowed speech
While the most common withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, they can be very uncomfortable. That is why having the support of a quality drug detox program is key to helping you get off of drugs; their support helps make symptoms less intense and easier to work through. For people with very severe addictions, drug detox is absolutely essential. There are a number of serious issues that can come up, and without immediate care, can cause harm to you or even others. Some examples of more serious withdrawal symptoms can include:
Increased Risk of Violence
Some patients experience severe bouts of anger or aggression while detoxing. This can make them more likely to lash out at others, without realizing what they are doing. If you try to detox at home, you can potentially be a risk to anyone else in the home during this period. Some detox facilities will manage this with medication or counseling, while others may choose to sedate you during the worst period of these symptoms. Either way, you can be assured in knowing that you will be kept from hurting anyone during your detox process.
Sometimes medical emergencies can happen during detox. People with severe alcohol or benzodiazepine addictions are at risk of having seizures. Those with an opioid addiction can experience severe dehydration from diarrhea. At a detox facility, medical professionals can give you medications to help avoid these issues, and be on hand if a medical emergency does arise.
There are a number of different drug addictions that can have psychosis as a side effect of withdrawal. This includes hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, severe anxiety, and disturbing nightmares. During such an episode, you are at risk of causing accidental harm to yourself or others. Detox facilities can ensure that you are in a safe place where you cannot hurt anyone, and can give you medications to reduce these symptoms.
Risk of Self-Harm
Depression is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of drug detox. For some people, the depression can get so bad so quickly that they may consider hurting themselves. With an appropriate medication and counseling, drug detox facilities can help you work through these symptoms until they taper off.
Is Drug Rehab the Same as Addiction Treatment?
While it may be tempting to think that once you complete drug detox you are no longer addicted, this simply isn’t the case. Even after you have successfully detoxed, you are still likely to experience very intense cravings for drugs. This is because the underlying issues related to your addiction are not treated during detox. Instead, detox is just the first step on your recovery journey. The next step is undergoing behavioral therapy to address cravings and drug-use triggers, as well as medical treatment for health issues your addiction may have caused. After this, you should also enroll in aftercare programs that continue to give you support after you have left the rehab facility. All of these steps will give you the best chance at being able to maintain your sobriety in the long term. The Healing Place offers both detox and residential addiction treatment services in Lauderhill, Florida.
How Long Does Drug Detox Last?
Just as every person is different, every person’s drug detox journey will be different. The length of your stay will depend on what drug you are addicted to, how often and how much you use, and how long you have been addicted. Some people may be done with detox in just a week, whereas others may need to stay for up to a month. There are also rare occasions in which people experience something called protracted withdrawal, where the symptoms last for months. You won’t have to stay in detox for that entire period, but you will need additional support for your symptoms once you move on to your addiction treatment program.
Instead of focusing on how long drug detox will take, you should instead focus on the long term goal: getting off of drugs so that you can live a normal life. Starting your journey with a drug detox program is going to give you the best possible chance of getting sober and being able to maintain that sobriety in the long run.
With over 80 percent of people aged 12 and older in the U.S. having reported drinking at least once in their lifetime, it is safe to say that drinking it is a common activity in our society today.
Drug detoxification, commonly referred to as detox, is the process of allowing your body to clear all of the drugs out of your system.