What to Expect During Addiction Detox

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What to Expect During Addiction Detox

woman in her thirties looking ill, covering her face with her hand - addiction detoxWhen you’ve made the decision to seek help for drug or alcohol addiction, there are many unknowns. What will sober living be like? How can I develop more meaningful relationships? What resources are best for my continued recovery? But one of the greatest concerns involves addiction detox. Here’s what you should know to set aside any fears about treatment.

Evaluating the Need for Addiction Detox

Unfortunately, movies and television shows have depicted detoxification in such awful ways, many people would rather continue to suffer the effects of substance abuse than go through withdrawal. Here’s a critical point to remember: since addiction is a brain disease, not everyone experiences it the same way. Consequently, the detox process will be different for each person. But cleansing the physical body of toxins is frequently the vital first step toward emotional, mental, and spiritual healing.

When a person enters a rehabilitation facility, a medical team assesses the need for detoxification. It might not be necessary, but addiction science is clear about how substances cause great physical harm. So if one or more of the following factors are present, detox is usually mandatory:

  • There’s evidence of multiple forms of substance abuse, such as mixing alcohol and opiates.
  • The individual has a long history of excessive consumption.
  • The person tried to stop using before or has relapsed after previous rehabilitation.
  • There’s evidence of a co-occurring mental illness, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD, or other elements of trauma.
  • Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart, liver, or kidney disease, or high blood pressure, aren’t well-managed.
  • Another acute illness poses life-threatening circumstances.

Also included in an initial health evaluation should be the development of a treatment continuum of care plan beyond detoxification. This often includes counseling, support programs, and other techniques for effective, long-lasting wellness specific to an individual’s needs.

Many people believe detox is the only aspect of addiction treatment. In reality, it’s just the beginning of the recovery journey. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that “patients who do not receive any further treatment after detoxification usually resume their drug use.”

What to Expect During Addiction Detox

Now, we have to be honest. Depending on the duration of addiction, the type of substances, and the intensity of use, detoxing probably won’t be pleasant. In fact, there might be a few days when you don’t feel good at all as you experience various withdrawal symptoms.

But a medically supervised procedure won’t be as bad—or as dangerous—as going cold turkey. Under no circumstances should you attempt detoxing from drugs or alcohol without expert supervision. Professional guidance and possibly assistive medications allow for a safe, controlled experience in a comforting, non-judgmental environment.

Typical withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Aggression, Irritability, and moodiness
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Confusion
  • Constant nausea and frequent vomiting
  • Fatigue and/or wakefulness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and severe body aches
  • Increased appetite
  • Problems with motor control, such as shakiness and muscle spasms
  • Skin eruptions such as acne, welts, and rashes
  • Delirium tremens, hallucinations, and paranoia could also occur as a result of more intense substance abuse.

Withdrawal Timelines Vary

Some people experience addiction withdrawal symptoms for up to 72 hours. Others might need approximately three weeks for their systems to adjust to toxin release and the return of more normal functioning.

However, it’s imperative to understand that certain substances cause the mind and body great trauma. These include:

  • Extreme alcohol consumption
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamines
  • Opiates such as Oxycontin and fentanyl

This means individual detoxification is only the beginning of long-term chemical purging, which could present symptoms for one or two years. But a continuum of care plan that outlines wellness practices such as whole-foods nutrition, regular exercise, stress reduction techniques, medication-assisted therapy, and other methods eases this transition.

Safe, Compassionate Care at Seabrook

As mentioned previously, detoxification isn’t the full treatment plan for addiction recovery, but it’s often a necessary component in the process of becoming “clean.” Many people believe that once they go through physical detox, the hard part is over. While it’s true having less of a physiological compulsion to use substances makes life easier, there are still other crucial aspects of your whole self to explore to achieve of authentic recovery:

  • Understanding the primary reasons for addiction and managing associated triggers
  • Learning how to live healthfully for recovery support
  • Embracing recovery techniques and relapse prevention applications such as 12-Step programs
  • Building and renewing strong relationships within family and friend circles and sober support networks
  • Forging a future of hope, promise, and purpose

Choosing a recovery partner such as Seabrook means you’ll have dedicated experts in addiction science helping you create a framework of well-being, peace, and happiness in life. You have nothing to fear and everything to gain.

Contact us today, and speak with someone to learn more.  We look forward to hearing from you!