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Symptoms

Drug or alcohol detox can literally leave you feeling like there’s nowhere else to turn but back to your old habits of substance abuse—but the detox symptoms that are experienced during the early stages of recovery don’t have to rule your life or ruin your recovery status. Generally, detox symptoms will only last about ten days at most with the majority of the symptoms peaking around days 3-5 and then gradually tapering off. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, medically assisted detox is just one of the many stages of substance abuse treatment and although it doesn’t do much for long term recovery, it is an essential first step in the right direction.

Drug Detox Symptoms

Various elements of withdrawal tend to appear when a user abruptly limits or reduces their dose of a drug that has been used for a prolonged period of time. Every case of withdrawal and detox is different but generally, people who attempt to stop using drugs will feel:

Detox Symptoms

Detox symptoms vary depending on the substance you are detoxing from. Detox treatment can help ease these symptoms and get you through withdrawal.

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sadness or depression
  • Occasional or continuous headaches
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Restlessness
  • Isolation
  • Upset stomach
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Changes in breathing

Alcohol Detox Symptoms

Alcohol detox is typically encompassed by a full range of withdrawal symptoms that are most guaranteed to make it difficult to adhere to the desire to stay sober. Many of the symptoms of alcohol detox are actually dangerous to the user and should be monitored closely to ensure the safety of the recovering individual during the early days or even weeks of recovery. The most common alcohol detox symptoms include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of concentration
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

Coping with Detox Symptoms

Every case of addiction is different and therefore there is no real way to know whether your situation will include major detox symptoms that pose health threats or whether you will simply feel a little uncomfortable for a few days and then feel better. Coping with the symptoms of withdrawal during detox can be challenging but this is a vital process if you’re trying to recover. There are a number of actions that can be taken to effectively cope with the symptoms of detox in preparation for the new journey that is about to take place on your road to recovery. The following medications are sometimes prescribed during detox to help ease or reduce the symptoms of withdrawal:

  • Valium
  • Suboxone
  • Methadone
  • Naloxone
  • Naltrexone
  • Ativan
  • Buprenorphine
  • Baclofen

In addition to medications, the following practices can further help patients to cope during the early stages of detox:

  • Frequent assessment to ensure continued safety and comfort during withdrawal
  • Fluids and exercise to help promote natural cleansing of toxins from the body
  • Rest and nutrition to promote health
  • Natural sleep aids to promote healthy sleep and relaxation
  • Relaxation techniques that promote stress relief
  • Support from peers, family, treatment professionals and others

It’s very important to keep in mind that detox will not take forever and once you get past the stages of withdrawal you will feel better. Although it can be challenging to cope with the various elements of withdrawal, recovery is in the future and the path to sober living begins with detox.

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