What is Detox? And How Does It Work?
Detoxification from drugs or alcohol refers to the act of detoxing from a substance that has caused a physical and psychological addiction. The process of detoxing from drugs or alcohol involves clearing the body of the substances and managing withdrawal symptoms. The entire detox process may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The severity of addiction and the extent of withdrawal symptoms determine what method of detox is required. Also, the length of time needed for detox depends on which substance was abused, if multiple substances were abused, and how often the user abused the substance.
Additionally, how much of the substance the user took, the presence of underlying medical conditions, the drug users age, and their gender. Typically, an addiction assessment could determine the extent of detox and what treatment resources are needed. Overall, detox programs are designed to assist individuals during the process of withdrawal. Detox should be considered the first phase of treatment, and it should not be considered the last. Detox programs do not provide adequate counseling and therapy. The next phase of treatment involves attending an inpatient or outpatient drug rehabilitation program.
Detox alone does not address the psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with substance abuse. The length of time needed for detox is different for each person, but following detox, the next phase of treatment should be counseling or therapy. Unfortunately, many drug users feel that detox is all they need; however if there is no further treatment, the risk of relapse increases. Also, the risk of overdose increases because the drug user has detoxed and is partially clean from drugs; they no longer have the same tolerance. For example, opioid addiction creates an intense physical and psychological dependence. However, when an opiate user stops using these drugs, their body no longer has the ability to manage the same amount as when they were abusing opiates.
When is the Best Time to Attend Detox?
Detox is the first approach that any addict should take before treatment, and it should not be considered the last. However, it may be difficult to determine when to attend detox because it is not uncommon to attempt detox at home. Some drug users are willing to attend detox without intervention, whereas other circumstances involve family intervention to convince a drug user to attend treatment. The best time to attend detox is whenever the decision is made to receive help. Also, if a drug user does decide to detox on their own, they may need detox to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings before they relapse.
Different substances stay in the body for differing periods of time. Severe withdrawal symptoms may occur within 24 hours or three to five days, depending on the substance. Overall, a person can detox from substances they are taking within one week. Some of the withdrawal symptoms are more serious than others—Detox could be medically supervised or a traditional detox. Most addiction treatment professionals encourage medical detox for opiate addiction, severe alcoholism, or an addiction involving prescription drugs.
When someone is detoxing from alcohol, withdrawal symptoms begin within the first 24 to 48 hours. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, and shaking. Within three to five days, symptoms peak within 72 hours—symptoms include seizures, fever, and even hallucinations. After the first week, the physical withdrawal symptoms begin to taper off, and after the first week, the alcohol user may experience cravings until they work through proper treatment. Within the first 24 to 48 hours of not using heroin or other opioids, a drug user would experience muscle pain, anxiety, teary eyes, runny nose, sweating, insomnia, and vomiting.
Over the next three to five days, the withdrawal symptoms peak and include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, blurry vision, and rapid heartbeat. It is only after the first week when withdrawal symptoms begin to taper off, and medical detox programs provide the best care when managing heroin addiction. When prescription drugs are misused, the withdrawal symptoms occur within the first