Many people addicted to drugs or alcohol go through detox before they begin therapy and the recovery process. Recovery only beings once the body is free of the chemicals in drugs and alcohol, but for many people, those first few days of detoxification can be the days when they are most vulnerable to using again.
Deciding to get addiction help and go through detox is a brave step and a valuable one – you’re choosing your health and relationships over drugs. It’s also a scary decision, but it can be less intimidating to go into medical detox when you know what to expect.
Understanding Medical Detoxification
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, medically supervised detoxification is a safely managed process that eases withdrawal symptoms when an individual stops using drugs or drinking. Physically, withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable and, in the case of alcohol and benzodiazepines, can be deadly.
Clients undergoing medical detox are given medication that reduces the chances of deadly seizures caused by withdrawal. And the physical symptoms of nausea and vomiting, headaches and body aches, and shaking are mitigated. Although each person’s detox process varies depending on what they are detoxing from and how long and often they use it, detox generally takes about three to five days.
Entering a Detoxification Program
Not everyone seeking addiction recovery will go through detox, but before you quit using drugs or drinking, consult your doctor or a specialist familiar with treating addiction. They can evaluate the condition and severity of your addiction and help you find the right options to treat you.
Addiction detox is conducted in a safe environment with medical professionals on hand 24 hours a day to monitor your condition, typically nurses trained in treating addiction. The addictive substances are removed from your system, and once you’re clean, you can begin your recovery program. Addiction recovery programs don’t accept people actively using drugs or drinking, so getting clean is your first step on your sobriety path.
You Won’t Be Alone in Detox
People in early recovery are very vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. Your body is working overtime to cleanse itself and heal, so expect to be very tired. Drink plenty of water, and rest as much as you need to. Anxiety is also common as a side effect of withdrawal because many people are nervous about the next step in recovery.
Many people use drugs or alcohol to “self-medicate” anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses, so when people with co-occurring conditions (substance use disorder and another mental illness) stop using, they may find the symptoms of their depression or anxiety to be overwhelming. The good news is that once you’re clean of drugs, you can begin treating your underlying condition, which can set you up for success in your recovery program.
Your addiction counselors know this is a vulnerable time, and you’ll have support every step of the way. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for anything you need while detoxing.
Do You Need Medical Detox For Addiction?
At Baystate Recovery Center, we partner with professional drug and alcohol detoxification centers, referring our clients to a safe place to detox before they enroll in one of our recovery programs, which includes intensive outpatient treatment and family therapy to help families rebuild after addiction. No matter how severe your addiction is, we can help. Contact us today for a confidential consultation about your needs.