Detox is an essential part and the first step when recovering from addiction. It involves the body’s natural processes to remove the toxins from the body. Understanding how long it takes to detox from different substances is crucial. The longer it takes, the more likely you are to relapse. Many people think that detoxing from alcohol or other substances is a simple process, but it is not. Detoxing involves several stages of bodily changes that your body goes through to get rid of toxins in your system.
What Happens During Detox?
The first detox stage involves your liver and kidneys working together to remove unwanted chemicals from your body. Alcohol and drugs have many toxic by-products that can damage these organs if they remain in the bloodstream for too long. When these organs get rid of all the harmful chemicals, they will be able to function normally again. This process can take up to seventy-two hours or longer, depending on how much damage was done by the drug or alcohol you used before detox began. To help speed up this process, an individual will need to drink a lot of water to help speed up the process of flushing out these toxins from their system.
This water will also help replenish electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which are important for your body’s functioning since they regulate fluid balance. Rehydration also ensures that it does not become too acidic, leading to health problems like kidney stones, muscle cramps, and many other health issues. The second phase of detox occurs when the liver and kidneys try to flush the drugs and restore their functions once they have finished eradicating all of the toxins. Many things can affect how fast or slow this second phase goes depending on how much damage was caused by drugs or alcohol before detox began and how healthy these organs were before beginning this process.
Detox Period for Different Drugs
Different drugs have different detox periods. For instance, alcohol detox may take a few days, but opiate detox may take weeks or even months. This is why it is important to know:
- What drugs you use
- For how long you have been using them
- The previous quantity consumed
- When you used them
The detox process can vary depending on how long the person has been using drugs or even what medication they are using. These detox programs can range from two weeks to months, depending on the severity of their addiction and how long they have been using them. The amount of time needed for each drug depends on its strength and how long it has been used in the past.
Alcohol Detox Vs. Opiate Detox
Alcohol detox takes a shorter period because the liver can process alcohol quickly, and the kidneys can remove it from the body. The liver does not have to do as much work to break down the toxins still in the body and can rest while the kidneys continue to remove them altogether. However, for opiates, the liver can not process opiates and their metabolites quickly. Therefore, it must continue to work on breaking down the toxins, or they will build up again. This is why opiate withdrawals are so dangerous. Depending on what drug and what withdrawal phase are being treated, there are many types of detox programs. Some people use cold turkey detox, which means they stop using their drugs entirely only to begin a detox program once they have completed the withdrawal process.
This is not recommended unless necessary because it can be risky and cause problems such as seizures if done incorrectly. The detox process can be very uncomfortable and may cause physical problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, pain, cramping, and fever. These side effects are commonly used to force the body to expel the toxins faster so that they do not build up again. Professional help must be sought during detox because it is hazardous to stop drugs suddenly. Addiction to some drugs requires monitoring and gradual withdrawal from the addictive agent. It is best to take it very slowly and to seek medical attention as soon as possible.