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Detox Overview

Detoxification is a process that removes drugs and alcohol from the body by stopping the use of those substances until they are no longer in their system. People seeking to effectively and safely overcome addiction will begin a drug or alcohol detox program as the first step in their recovery. Medically supervised detox allows an individual to rely on medical professionals’ guidance to stop using drugs or alcohol safely.

Withdrawal During Medical Detox

Withdrawal symptoms are probably the most challenging aspect of drug and alcohol detox. It can be unpredictable, meaning no two people will have the same symptoms, even though there are common ones.

The length of time and the severity of withdrawal varies from person to person.

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In addition, different treatments are given depending on what drug one was using or whether they are withdrawing from alcohol.

Some substances that cause withdrawal symptoms are:

Weaning, a gradual decrease in the amount of a substance taken, is a complex process, requiring the oversight of addiction professionals. The reality is that it can take as short as a few days or as long as a few months to overcome withdrawal symptoms for most drugs. The length of withdrawal is dependent on several elements, including:

  • Substance of choice
  • Mental health issues
  • Family history
  • Length of the addiction
  • Severity of the addiction
  • Amount of substance taken at each time
  • Medical condition
  • Genetics
  • Method used (i.e., injecting, smoking, swallowing, or snorting)

Since there are so many factors that come into play regarding drug and alcohol withdrawal, length and severity are vastly different for each person—as such, attempting to taper or detox at home is very dangerous and not recommended.

Types of Detox

There are a few different options when it comes to detox. Some are far safer than others. Depending upon the substance use factors, a person can experience severe withdrawal symptoms that shouldn’t be managed at home. Types of detox include:

1. At-Home-Detox: attempting to do the detox process at home

2. Cold Turkey: stopping drug use abruptly

3. Drug Tapering: slowly and gradually reduces drug use over a period of time, typically under a medical supervision

4. Medical Detox: entering an inpatient recovery treatment facility to be monitored during withdrawal

Drug and alcohol detox is physically and emotionally difficult. Those who attempt to go it alone are taking a serious medical risk, especially if they choose to stop abruptly. Detoxing, under the supervision of a medical professional, is highly recommended to address psychological and physical symptoms. Some of the most common dangers linked to detoxing include:

  • Delirium tremens (DT)
  • Psychosis
  • Severe pain
  • Suicidal thoughts

While these dangers range in severity, some can be deadly. Therefore, it is absolutely critical to detox either in an inpatient rehab facility or under a medical professional’s supervision. When a substance abuse disorder takes hold of a person, their body grows accustomed to having the substance to function normally. Take that substance away, and the body reacts via withdrawal.

How Long is Detox?

The length of drug detox varies based on the substance of choice, how long it was used, and the amount of the substance typically consumed during usage. Also, detox length will vary depending upon one’s mental and physical state when they enter the detox program. On average, detox takes anywhere from 7 days to 14 days but can last up to a month.

Research has shown that those who enter detox motivated to get sober have a less challenging time with detox symptoms than those who are hesitant to enter a recovery program.

What Happens After Detox?

Drug or alcohol detox is the first step on the path to sobriety. For most, detox is not enough to build a foundation for recovery. As such, addiction professionals recommend entering into an addiction treatment facility to continue the journey to recovery. If one enters an inpatient substance abuse program immediately after detox, fully immerses themselves into recovery and living a healthy lifestyle, they have a greater chance of maintaining a sober and drug-free life after treatment.

A structured treatment program may use a combination of therapy and medication. Your medical team will create a customized treatment plan that will address your physical and emotional needs after detox. Drug and alcohol detox and treatment are challenging yet rewarding processes. Once withdrawal is overcome, one is best poised to embrace recovery with a positive attitude and a healthy body.

Do you have questions about the detox process? Our medical staff is ready to answer your questions today at (844) 978-1524