Detoxification, or detox, is the process of letting the body remove the drugs in it. The purpose of detox is to safely manage withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking drugs or alcohol.
Everyone has a different experience with detox. The type of drug and how long it was used affect what detox will be like.
Medications used in detox help keep former users comfortable while the drugs leave their body.
It can take days or months to get through withdrawal symptoms for most drugs. The length of withdrawal depends on a number of factors, including:
- Type of substance the user is addicted to
- Duration an addiction has lasted
- The severity of the addiction
- Method of abuse (snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing)
- The amount of a substance the user takes at one time
- Family history
- Genetic makeup
- Medical condition
- Underlying mental health conditions
Speak with someone who can help you find a medically assisted detox.
Can I Detox at Home?
Choosing to detox at home can be deadly. Quitting “cold turkey” or without medical supervision can lead to serious issues such as seizures and severe dehydration.
There are inpatient and outpatient detox programs that help prevent dangerous complications. People with severe addictions should seek inpatient detox because withdrawal can be fatal. Inpatient detox includes 24-hour support and monitoring.
The Process of Detoxification
Everyone’s detox needs are different. The drug detox process helps addicted people get personalized treatment. In most cases, the process involves three steps:
- EvaluationThe medical team screens incoming patients for physical and mental health issues. Doctors use blood tests to measure the amount of drugs in the patient’s system. This helps determine the level of medications needed.There is also a comprehensive review of drug, medical and psychiatric histories. This information sets up the basis for the patient’s long-term treatment plan.
- StabilizationThe next step is to stabilize the patient with medical and psychological therapy. The goal of stabilization is to prevent any form of harm to the patient. Doctors can prescribe addiction treatment medications to prevent complications and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
- Preparing Entry into TreatmentThe final step of detox is preparation for a treatment program. Doctors familiarize their patients with the treatment process and what to expect. Inpatient rehab offers the best chances of success after detox.
Side Effects of Detox
The process of drug detox can be painful and dangerous. This is why medical detox is so important. Detox with medical supervision allows patients to detox in a safe and comfortable environment. The extent of supervision is different in inpatient and outpatient rehab.
A medically supervised detox prevents dangerous complications of drug and alcohol withdrawal.
Although medical detox limits the symptoms of withdrawal, some are unavoidable. Some of the most common side effects may include:
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Body discomfort
- Mood swings
- Poor sleep
- Difficulty concentrating