What Is Detoxification?
When a person who regularly uses drugs or alcohol stops using, the body begins the process of detoxification. The remaining drugs in the system will be eliminated from the body over a course of time. The amount of time depends on the type of drug, how long the person has been using and how much. Individual metabolism and chemistry plays a part, as well as other factors such as food and water consumption, exercise, etc. Typical detox can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. For people who are light users of drugs and alcohol detox is often unnoticed.
If, however, you are a heavy user of alcohol or drugs such as opiates or benzodiazepines, you are likely to be physically dependent. This happens when regular use results in tolerance, meaning you have to use more of the drug to get the same effects. Once this happens, your body and brain both not only crave the drug but actually need the drug. Without it, you will go into withdrawals.
Drug Detox Programs
If you have become physically dependent on a substance, you have probably tried to quit before and found that the withdrawal symptoms were too difficult to get through. In some cases, trying to detox on your own is dangerous and should not be done without medical assistance. Benzodiazepines and alcohol are two drugs that you should get help detoxing from.
A drug detox program can help you withdraw and detox safely and also more comfortable. There are a few different types of detox program, let’s take a look at what happens in each
Inpatient Drug Detox
An inpatient drug detox facility is ideal for people who have struggled with alcohol, opiate or benzodiazepine use. In addition to getting round the clock medical supervision and care, you are also away from the temptation to use during the withdrawal process.
What Happens At Drug Detox?
The first step is an intake procedure. A staff member will take down your personal information and ask you questions. It is important to be completely honest with them.
After intake, you will be assigned a room. You may have your belongings checked to ensure that you haven’t brought any drugs or paraphernalia with you. You may be asked to store your valuables in a safe place. Once you are officially admitted into the facility, you will be given a thorough physical. Based on your information and assessment, a treatment plan will be created for you that will be followed throughout the process.
Getting Through Withdrawal
Once the withdrawal begins, you may be given medications to help you detox more comfortably. Your vital signs will be taken and you will be monitored. You may receive IV fluids to ensure that you stay hydrated.
If you are dependent on alcohol, you may be given Acamprosate to help stabilize brain chemistry and ease symptoms and/or Naltrexone, which will curb cravings.
If you are dependent on opiates, you may be given Suboxone, Methadone or Buprenorphine. Withdrawal symptoms usually begin about 12 hours after last use. They may include the following:
- Muscle aches and pain
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Agitation and restlessness
- Chills or sweating
- Increased heart rate
Medications can help alleviate these symptoms. The worst of the withdrawal should pass within 72 hours.
What Else Happens During Detox?
The primary goal is to help you get through the physical detox process as comfortable as possible. However, the physical dependence is only a part of the picture. Addiction has a strong psychological component, and during your stay at detox, you may have access to both individual and group therapy once you are physically stable.
During this time, you will get support for your decision to stay abstinent from drugs or alcohol. There may be meetings you can attend and you may also be referred to a residential rehab following your stay at a drug detox program.
Outpatient detox offers some of the same services as inpatient, but without the round the clock care. This is recommended for people who are highly motivated to quit using and need help dealing with the symptoms of withdrawal. Outpatient detox is common amongst people who are withdrawing from opiates. You may be given methadone or suboxone to “taper down” from opiates such as heroin, Oxycontin or Vicodin. This process will happen over a period of weeks. You will usually go into the facility daily for your dose of medication. You may meet with a counselor at that time to discuss progress.
Finding Drug Detox Programs
If you are dependent on drugs or alcohol, a detox program can help you get clean and sober safely and comfortably. If you would like to be connected with a detox center in your area, or if you have questions about drug detox programs, Recovery Hub can help. Call 888-220-4352 to find out more.