Detoxification, often shortened to detox, is a treatment method used for individuals who have entered into treatment in the hopes of overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Anyone dealing with drug addiction will have a withdrawal period where they may experience mild to severe side effects as their body adjusts to the lack of chemicals. This period of time can be very difficult, not to mention painful, which is where detox comes in.
If you or someone you know will be undergoing detox treatment it can be helpful to understand this process.
What is Drug Addiction?
The difference between drug abuse and addiction is often misunderstood, but the existence of a withdrawal period itself usually signifies addiction. As someone continues using drugs or alcohol more regularly, they first become physically dependent on it. They feel better when being under the influence, and their body gets used to having those chemicals in their body.
Dependence often leads to addiction, in which the person feels like they can’t live or function normally without drugs or alcohol. The more they use, the harder the withdrawal period is going to be.
The withdrawal period starts about 24 hours after quitting drugs or alcohol and can last between 3-14 days. The severity and longevity of withdrawal typically depends on the individual, the types of drugs they were addicted to, how long they have been suffering from addiction, and a combination of other factors.
Common withdrawal symptoms include nausea, headaches, vomiting, insomnia, depression and anxiety, mood swings, irritability, lack of concentration, confusion, flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath, diarrhea, body tremors or spasms, muscle tension, chest tightening, rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations. Some withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening, which makes a drug rehab facility where there are trained professionals the ideal place to undergo withdrawal.
Detox is a treatment therapy method used for individuals overcoming substance abuse or addiction. During detox, the individual will have around-the-clock monitoring and medication therapy that is used to help alleviate their symptoms. For many people, the most difficult part of withdrawal is the first 2-3 days, which is when detox is needed the most. Because the body becomes physically dependent on the drugs or alcohol, the withdrawal period can not only be uncomfortable or painful but life threatening. This is why monitoring through detox is important.
While the exact treatment plan will always depend on the individual’s circumstances, at drug rehab facilities, medication therapy is usually the first step. After a few days, behavioral and cognitive therapy and counseling will also be introduced into the treatment program. In many cases, detox plans such as this have been effective at alleviating withdrawal symptoms and helping patients cope throughout treatment.
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Should you or a loved one need to detox, finding comprehensive listings of alcohol and drug detox centers should be a good place to start.