According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 23 million Americans suffer from addiction and need help to get sober. Many will turn to drug or alcohol detox as a means of getting professional treatment and overcoming their addiction but many more will never actually get the help that they need. A wide range of treatment options exist to help those who suffer from addiction to safely overcome withdrawal and regain control of their lives.
What is Detox?
People who are addicted to drugs are often very consumed with the thought of what will actually happen when they go through detox. Detox is the very first stage of addiction treatment and it must take place in order for the user to overcome the symptoms that they are feeling and to get in control of their addiction. Simply put, detox is the process of overcoming the challenges of withdrawal and stabilizing so that the user can prepare for the upcoming psychological counseling and therapy that must ensue to ensure recovery from addiction.
Anyone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol knows what it’s like to go through withdrawal. The symptoms can be painful, uncomfortable, excruciating and annoying all at the same time. Withdrawal begins within hours or days after the user has made the decision to quit taking a drug or drinking and it can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks or more. Some users will experience symptoms of withdrawal for a period of just 3 to 5 days while others may continue to feel the plight of withdrawal for weeks on end.
Why Detox Occurs
When a user takes a drug or drinks alcohol repeatedly, chemical changes occur in the brain and within the body that cause a perceived need for the substance of abuse. When the user quits taking the drug or drinking alcohol, withdrawal symptoms occur as the brain’s initial response to needing the substance. Detox occurs as a response to the lack of a substance. It’s a similar process to that you would experience if you were taking cold medicine for a runny nose. While taking the medicine, the runny nose stops, when you quit taking the medicine, the symptoms of the cold return. Such is true with substance abuse too.
When a user no longer has access to a drug or to the alcohol that they are accustomed to drinking they will begin to feel symptoms of withdrawal. The only way to stop these symptoms is to either take the drug or alcohol or to allow the symptoms to run their course. Without the drugs, detox occurs.
Benefits of Detox
Detoxing in a controlled environment has many benefits. Doctors who work with patients in detox centers can help by providing medications and other pharmaceutical interventions that work to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal and create an easier or more comfortable withdrawal process. It is very common for doctors to prescribe medications to help control cravings, ease withdrawal and make detox a smoother process for the user.
The safe and comforting environment that is provided in a detox center allows the user to focus on his or her recovery without worry of other matters. Detox is just the first stage in the recovery process but the benefits of detox are quite profound. Such benefits may include:
- greater ability to remain sober following an initial stay in detox
- improved focus on recovery
- solid foundation for long-term recovery
- improved health in recovery
- stabilization that ensures continued success
- reduced stress
- qualified medical intervention
- qualified treatment and care
Are Slow & Steady Detox Programs Best?
There are many different methods of detox that can work but overall, studies show that a slow and steady process if the safest and most effective means of detoxing from drugs or alcohol. Slow detox provides users with a safe, controlled way of reducing their addiction while allowing the body time to stabilize and to begin to recover. Typically, slow and steady detox programs work best for those who are addicted to drugs because they allow the user time to adjust and to cope with the changes that are taking place.
There are detox programs that claim to be able to help patients to detox rapidly and without worry but these programs are not always safe. Unfortunately, rapid detox programs often lead to a wide range of consequences for the user including dangerous side effects and an increased risk of relapse. When a user does not take the time to heal and to slowly recover and adjust to sobriety, the risk of relapsing is much higher and the dangers associated with the recovery process are also increased substantially.
The best way for a user to get sober is to seek professional help. Getting help for your addiction takes time but you can make a full, lasting recovery. The first step is going to get through detox and to stabilize. This will likely be the most challenging part of your recovery but, once you make it past the withdrawal symptoms, you’ll see just how good sobriety and recovery can be. You have many treatment options available to assist you including:
- inpatient detox
- outpatient detox
- residential treatment
- support groups
- counseling & therapy
- medical intervention
Getting the help that you need and starting your journey to recovery can save your life. Once you admit that there is a problem, you can begin to take the appropriate steps to sobriety. We can help you find the necessary help and begin your journey to sobriety, happy living and long-term recovery.