Detox is when an individual experiences physical effects or symptoms after stopping drug or alcohol use. Detoxification is one of the hardest steps to go through during rehab. This is the process of cleansing the body of the toxins introduced by the drugs. There are various ways to detox, depending on the facility.
Commonly, when someone arrives at a detox program, a therapist or nurse is assigned to you when you walk through the door. This individual will ask you questions about your drug history and your last use. The more honest you are, the better the facility will be able to accommodate you, assuming they have a program that suits your needs. Withdrawal symptoms can come as quickly as 8-12 hours after your last use. You might feel edgy, agitated, anxious, or even have panic attacks, but this is an integral step in recovery. It will be hard; you may want to use just to escape the symptoms, but maintaining an open line to your therapist is crucial in making it through. Once you are “clean”, you will undergo individual and group therapy, where you will repair the mental state and solve the core issues of why you felt drugs were necessary. Family therapy might even be available to rebuild and keep the bonds within family support. Again, it is important to be as honest as possible, no matter how uncomfortable it might make you feel. The more they know about your situation, the better they will be able to help you.
Detox & Drug Withdrawal
To understand detox it is important to know what happens when someone stops using drugs or alcohol:
When a person uses drugs or alcohol these substances modify the body. When someone stops using drugs mentally, they feel depressed. Often they have mood swings or anxiety or feel sad or angry. They will crave more drugs or think that they need drugs or alcohol to ‘feel normal’ or ‘be happy.’ This is a mental addiction.
As drug use happens more and more frequently and addiction sets in a physical addiction can result. Users bodies also go through some very specific sets of symptoms when use stops. In pretty much every case the drug user will feel a variety of physical symptoms when they cease drug use ranging from mildly uncomfortable to severely painful. Detox is what helps to temporarily alleviate these symptoms for the first few days to the first few weeks after someone stops using.
Drugs & Their Detox Effects
When someone enters a detox they are often coming off drugs or large amounts of alcohol. In some instances without medical supervision and wind down medications, detox can be life-threatening. Some of the most common drugs that a person will enter detox to come off of are:
- Prescription opioid drugs such as Oxy Contin, Vicodin, and Loritab
- Antidepressant drugs
- Benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium
With drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, it is uncommon to require a medical detox program. However, some patients opt to enter one while experiencing the acute effects of drug withdrawal.
Deciding on a Detox
There are several things you should do before deciding on a detox facility. First off is to have yourself evaluated by a doctor to learn which kind of rehab will best fit you. Search out more than one facility; do not limit yourself to just one. Speak to representatives at those facilities and ask questions to learn about their programs. You should decide what you would like to have at the facility. It’s your rehab program; you should be comfortable and happy there. Will you be allowed to see your family and friends, or keep your cell phone or smart tablet? How far away is the facility and how long will you be allowed to stay? Treatment is very dependent on how much time you are given to recover. Without enough time, recovery is near impossible. If the facilities are close, you might even want to take a tour of them.