What is drug detoxing?

When a person is addicted to drugs and alcohol, they will typically go through the detox process. Detox is a crucial step in starting the recovery from addiction. The founding principle of detox is that as long as a person has a physical addiction, it is impossible for them to make real strides in improving their mental health. Therefore, detox addresses the mental side of addiction first. This equips patients to manage the psychological side of addiction better. Detox is part one of a longer-term rehab program.

Defining Detox

Detox is when traces of drugs and alcohol are removed from the body. This ensures that an individual is physically stable and able to start rehabilitation therapy. When a person is abusing alcohol or drugs, their body becomes accustomed to having these substances in their system. The brain has to go through readjusting to function without these chemicals.

As a result of not having chemicals that the brain and body were accustomed to relying on to function, the body can react violently. These unpleasant symptoms are known as withdrawal. During the detox process, the negative impact of withdrawal symptoms is minimized. The goal is to create a controlled environment that can allow a person to go through this physical process of breaking free from substance dependency in a safe, comfortable, and dignified environment.

Detox is often supported by medical professionals who can monitor the patient as they go through the process and identify any symptoms that could potentially be life-threatening. Some people try to go through the detox process on their own. They may try to detox by going cold turkey and quitting using a substance they have become dependent on. Sadly, this doesn’t turn out well for the individual in most cases.

The withdrawal symptoms are so powerful and uncomfortable that when a person tries to detox on their own, they will often fail and relapse into using the substance they were addicted to. Conversely, when detox happens in a detox facility under the care of medical professionals, the patient is given the physical and mental support needed to make it through the detox process. This doesn’t eliminate the unpleasant symptoms. However, it can help to make them bearable.

What Happens During a Detox Session?

Detox typically starts with a medical assessment. This allows the individual supporting the person through detox to have a clear picture of their patient’s needs. This includes gathering information on a patient’s medical history and other details about their addiction. This information is compiled together to create a personalized detox plan. Withdrawal symptoms begin as the number of drugs or alcohol in the patient’s system is reduced.

The withdrawal symptoms that a person will experience and their severity will vary based on the amount of time a person has been addicted to alcohol or drugs, the type of substance they used, and the amount of the substance they have been consuming. Another factor that will impact withdrawal symptoms is the patient’s physical health. It is vital to note that each experience detox uniquely. Each time a person goes through the detox process, their mind and body can react differently.

So a person cannot rely on past detox experiences to predict how they will experience detox in the future. Some of the physical and psychological symptoms of detox include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucination
  • Delirium

Research has proven that compassionate and supportive care around the clock is just as critical as any medication used to enable successful detoxification. The goal is to create an environment that allows for the best possible outcome for the patient. Therefore, most people going through detox will receive monitored care 24 hours a day.

How Long Does Detox Last?

In most cases, detox will last between seven and ten days. Factors including the number of drugs and alcohol they have consumed, the severity of their withdrawal symptoms, and their mental and physical health will affect the length of their detox experience. Once a patient has completed detox, they will be able to move on to an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program. They will receive intensive psychological therapy that will help them break free from drugs. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation is usually part of a 28-day addiction program. Are you ready to break free from drug and alcohol use and get your life back on track permanently? We want to help you. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call us at 833-820-2922.