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Drug Detox

What is Drug Detox?

Drug detoxification, also called drug detox, is the process of getting a drug out of your system, and is very often the first step in a person’s addiction recovery journey. Rehab facilities have specialized drug detox programs to help people to get through this process as comfortably as possible. This is because detoxing often involves a number of negative side effects, collectively called withdrawal. These symptoms can range from headaches and nausea to more serious issues like dehydration and seizures. Drug detox programs help make these symptoms less serious with medication, making withdrawal easier for people to get through.

What Causes Withdrawal Symptoms?

When someone is addicted to drugs and tries to stop taking them, they have withdrawal symptoms. This is because of how drug abuse changes the way that your brain works. Drugs affect your brain’s “reward system,” which is a delicate balance of chemicals that are responsible for making you feel happy and relaxed. In a non-addicted brain, these chemicals are released when you do things like spend time with loved ones, exercise, and even when you eat. But when you take drugs, your system is flooded with an excessive amount of these chemicals. Your brain learns to crave drugs in order to keep you feeling normal, which is what leads to a drug addiction. When you stop taking drugs, your brain doesn’t know how to react, depriving you of these chemicals and making you have negative physical and emotional reactions.

Drug Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms for each drug is unique. But, what they all have in common is that the first few days are the most unpleasant. Over time, these symptoms will start to taper off until they are gone, usually within a week to a few weeks. Here are some of the symptoms for the most commonly abused drugs:

  • Opioid Withdrawal: sweating, agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, insomnia, yawning, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
  • Benzodiazepine Withdrawal: anxiety, agitation, tremors, hallucinations, and seizures
  • Stimulant Withdrawal: chills, restlessness, dehydration, hallucinations, slowed speech, depression, slow heart rate, insomnia, and body aches
  • Marijuana Withdrawal: depression, anxiety, agitation, mood swings, sweating, stomach pains, and tremors

Most drug detox is simply that: unpleasant and uncomfortable. But some people may experience more serious withdrawal symptoms that are potentially life-threatening. That is why rehab facilities monitor you 24/7; if anything serious comes up, they will be on hand to make sure you are safe and receive appropriate medical care.

How Does Drug Detox Work?

A drug detox program typically involves three separate steps. The first step will be an evaluation with the rehab facility team. Because no two people and no two addictions are the same, no two treatment programs are the same either. It is important for them to assess your physical and mental health, as well as gather information about your addiction, so that they can recommend the most effective drug detox program for you.

The next step of drug detox is stabilization. During this step, the rehab team will administer medications. They will also administer an appropriate therapy program. This will help keep your mood even and your physical symptoms as minimal as possible. The final step of drug detox will be preparing you to move on to the next step of recovery. The next step is usually your addiction treatment program. You will be informed about what treatments you will be receiving, and what your schedule will be like, so that you know exactly what to expect when you are done detoxing.

Is it Safe to Detox at Home?

Many people who are dealing with a drug addiction wonder if they can go through detox at home. Unfortunately this is not the best idea for many different reasons. You will still be in a place where you are used to using drugs, which can make it very hard to avoid the temptation of using again. This is especially true if you live with someone who is also using drugs, or that enables your drug use. The biggest reason that drug detox from home is not a good idea is because the withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant and difficult to deal with without professional help. Withdrawal for certain drugs can pose risks like seizures or hallucinations, which need monitoring in case a medical emergency arises.

Different Drug Detox Options

There are two different drug detox programs common in the U.S. today: inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient detox requires you to stay at the treatment facility for the duration of your treatment. This is the most commonly recommended program, as it guarantees that you have round-the-clock access to medical care. Inpatient programs helps keep you away from the things in your life that used to trigger your drug use, which makes your treatment more likely to be successful. It will also make your transition to your addiction treatment program easier. 

Sometimes, unavoidable commitments like family or a job prevent someone from attending inpatient detox. They may instead try an outpatient program. Outpatient detox programs only require you to be at the facility for a few hours a day. This option is really only suited to people with less severe addictions, who are able to hold themselves accountable and attend every required session. Outpatient detox programs are rare. However, as they are typically not as effective because of how difficult it is to overcome an addiction when your drug of choice is still easily available to you.

How Long Does Drug Detox Last?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The length of your detox will depend on what drug you were abusing, how much and how often you were using, and how long you have been addicted. Some people may only need drug detox for a few days. Others may need to stay for a few weeks. What is important is focusing on successfully completing your program, no matter how long it needs to last. Starting with detox is the best way to set yourself up for success in your addiction treatment program. It is also the first step towards a lasting recovery.

Drug Detox Programming at Detox Nashville.

Detox Nashville is a premier leader in the treatment of drug detox If you or someone you love is in need of professional care to address a substance use disorder, reach out to us right now at (615) 845-4747 to speak with an admissions specialist who can get you started on the road to recovery or fill out the contact form below.