Substance Abuse Detox

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a serious problem plaguing many individuals. Those who struggle may feel unable to quit on their own and need assistance to do so in a safe environment. Drug and alcohol treatment can be a long process, and it often begins with detox. Individuals are likely to get more out of a rehabilitation program when they feel physically capable, which isn’t always possible without detoxification.

Detox takes care of some of the more extreme physical symptoms first, so those struggling with addiction can move forward to the next steps better prepared to handle the psychological aspects of treatment. This crucial first step of the treatment program is very important for the path to a healthy recovery.

Detox for Substance Misuse

Detox from drugs and alcohol is the process of ridding the body of any remaining harmful substances. Detoxing from substances can be dangerous and should not be attempted without the supervision of a trained medical professional.

Why Does Detoxification Require Close Medical Supervision?

The detox process often involves some unpleasant, if not dangerous, withdrawal symptoms and side effects.

Withdrawal and detox vary based on several factors, such as the type of drugs the individual has ingested, how long and how often they used the substance, family history, medical issues, age, gender and more. Sometimes the symptoms and side effects can be quite severe or even fatal. Detoxing is a serious process, and detoxification treatment programs ensure it’s done safely and effectively. Medical professionals prescribe medications, other forms of therapy and symptom monitoring to keep the individual comfortable and healthy throughout.

How Long Will Detox Take?

The drug addiction detox process varies widely and depends on a number of factors. In short, detox can take as little as a few days to complete, while some substances may take months to fully leave the body. It’s important to note that detox is just the first step, and even after the body is clear of the substance, cravings and other symptoms may continue for months. That’s why detox works best as part of a comprehensive rehab and addiction therapy program.

The length of time for detox depends on a number of factors:

  • Type of substance: Alcohol is generally completely out of the body within hours, up to a few days, while other drugs take much longer to leave the body. Depending on the substance, withdrawal symptoms and cravings can last much longer than the initial detox as well.
  • Circumstances of the addiction: How long the individual has been using the substance and how much and how often they have used can affect the detox process. The presence of multiple addictions or using many substances at once may lengthen the process.
  • Personal health: Many personal factors affect the detox process, like a person’s age, gender and family and medical history. Underlying health issues and diseases may also affect the detox process.

What to Expect When Detoxing

Anyone considering substance misuse treatment likely wonders what happens during detoxification. This important first step is usually a requirement for many rehab programs, but may not be for specific addiction treatment programs. If you’re entering a rehab and detox program, here’s what to expect:

  • Assessment: The first step for any patient starting detox is a complete medical assessment with a qualified professional who will gather the individual’s personal health and substance use histories to create a comprehensive plan for the detox process.
  • Withdrawal: As the drugs or alcohol start leaving the body, the patient may begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the individual circumstances, symptoms can range from mild to severe and life-threatening. Common symptoms include nausea, headaches, shaking, tiredness, pain, mood swings, anxiety, confusion, hallucinations and more.
  • Medicated support: When declared medically necessary or advisable, the patient may receive prescription medications to help ease many of the symptoms of withdrawal, including anxiety, depression and sleeplessness. Patients will also be stabilized and supported throughout the process with compassionate 24-hour care and monitoring to ensure they are safe and comfortable. Professionals then recommend a plan for the next phases of rehabilitation and treatment options.

How to Start the Detoxification Process

It bears repeating that attempting to detox by yourself at home or going “cold turkey” isn’t a good idea and can be very dangerous. If you or a loved one are considering getting help for drug or alcohol addiction, reach out to a professional detox center for supervision and support. Professional detox helps patients overcome any cravings and reduce the chance of relapse or overdose.

The following tips can help you through the early days of the detox process:

  • Healthy habits: The detox process can be tough on the body. Patients should incorporate healthy and nutritious meals that include plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Choose foods easier on the digestive system to help with nausea and other digestive symptoms of withdrawal. Drink plenty of water to stay properly hydrated. Patients should try to stay physically active, even when it feels difficult. Even low-impact exercise can help increase the feel-good hormones and distract from any negative emotions during the process.
  • Practice meditation and breathing: Learning to inhale more deeply can bring more oxygen into the body and aid in stress relief. Consider meditation or other spiritual and mindfulness practices to help with emotions, mood swings and stress.
  • Embrace your support network: The doctors and other staff members know what’s best, even when patients may not want to hear it. Let the experts help guide you towards recovery. Family and friends can also provide support while keeping them updated on your progress. Don’t keep feelings pent up — talk it out with your support network and let others help you.

Transformations By The Gulf Can Help

Are you ready to get started on the journey towards recovery for yourself or your loved one? Transformations By The Gulf is an accredited holistic wellness center with rehabilitation programs for alcohol and substance misuse. We know the detoxification and rehabilitation processes differ for everyone, and that’s why we provide an individualized approach to best meet your needs.

Don’t attempt detoxing at home by yourself — let our experts guide and care for you. Contact us today, and we’ll help you find a local facility to start your own path of transformation.