Are you taking steps to overcome your addiction?
Most recovering substance abusers claim that overcoming an addiction is no easy feat. There are many things present during the recovery process enticing each individual to use their chosen substance again. The side effects of withdrawal, the strict routines, and the lengthy period of doing so are often too overwhelming to some, so they tend to cave and begin using again.
Detoxing can make the entire process easier though. Going through the detoxification process is something most people overlook, but it’s the most important part of getting better. Another reason why people tend to overlook this is because of the myths surrounding detoxification.
To help you know what’s real and what’s a myth, we’ve prepared a guide about detoxing below. Read on and learn the detoxification definition, the benefits for doing so, and what you can expect while detoxing.
What is Detoxification?
Detoxification is the process of removing harmful substances from your body’s bloodstream. This is also the most important part of any recovery process because this is when an individual is at their weakest in physical, mental, emotional terms.
Because this is the first step everyone takes during their recovery process, doing this right is important. Why is it important to mention this? Because, as mentioned above, a lot of people tend to overlook or sell the process short.
The people who do this are the ones who often go cold turkey and wing it. This often leads them to relapse sooner than they would think. Not only that but going cold turkey also has some fatal consequences like seizures from the improper handling of withdrawal.
The best way to beat your addiction is to prepare your body for detoxification. To increase your chances of success during detox, it’s also good to prepare your mental state. You can do this by knowing what you can expect while you undergo the detox.
Doing this helps you prepare for what’s to come. This will help you through the tougher parts of the detox.
How Long Does Detoxifying Take?
If you want to undergo detoxification, you should prepare yourself for the long run. How long you need to detox depends on how much you need cleaning out of your body. It also depends on what type of substance you need to flush out of your system.
For alcohol abusers, detoxing often takes up to 2 weeks before the body adjusts. This is among the shortest durations for detoxification. This is because an individual can flush out the alcohol with ease with the aid of the liver.
This is why, for the most part, alcohol abusers going through detox only need support from friends. They also often pair their detox with a clean eating diet to help the liver do its job.
Drug abusers have a longer list of factors to consider. They need to consider how they take their substances in addition to how long they’ve been using. This is important because different intake methods have different effects on an individual.
For example, snorting or smoking a drug makes it easier to cleanse out of your body. This is because the substance never enters the bloodstream in any direct way.
Meanwhile, injecting a drug does. This makes it harder to cleanse because of its direct introduction to the body. It does mean, though, that the body recognizes it as foreign, making detox somewhat easier.
Detoxing often takes around 2-4 weeks when it comes to drug abuse. This doesn’t count the hours the drug stays in the bloodstream of the individual.
Is it Wise to Detox Unsupervised?
This depends on whether the people surrounding you are a good influence or a bad one. Most of the time though, it’s necessary to have someone keep an eye on you. The problem with recovering substance abusers is they’re fragile after experiencing withdrawal.
Often, they stumble back into using their substances because of withdrawal. What’s problematic here is they tend to suffer an overdose due to taking a lot of the substance at once. This tends to lead to a lot of deaths to those who undergo detox alone.
It tends to be a better choice to surround yourself with people you know during the detox. That doesn’t mean you should trust anyone, though. There are some people who can be bad for you during your detox.
These are the people who may influence you to go back to substance abuse. They’re also the ones who may tempt you by using the substance in your presence. You should be careful in choosing who you surround yourself with.
Better yet, you should let your healthcare professional decide for you. They often do a screening on your social situation before you begin with your detox.
Where Do You Go for Treatment?
You have 2 options to go for treatment when you undergo detoxification. One is outpatient treatment and the other is inpatient treatment.
1. Outpatient Treatment
Going for an outpatient detox treatment means you don’t get referred to stay at a treatment center. This means you go on about your day as you would during your detoxing period. The only times you would go there though is to follow up on your treatment or get prescriptions.
This serves to be a cheaper treatment method than having to get enrolled in a rehab center. It also doesn’t interfere with your day to day life. This allows you to carry out what you need to do while detoxing.
The problem with outpatient treatment is you have a higher risk of relapsing. This is because not getting admitted to a treatment center means you’re exposed to the same environments as before.
This may seem like a small factor for some people. When it comes to detoxing though, even the smallest factor can make a big difference.
2. Inpatient Treatment
Opposite to outpatient treatment, this method sees you getting admitted to a treatment center. For the majority of the detox, you’ll be in a secure location where caretakers can keep a close eye on you. This gives a more controlled and secure detoxing period.
You’re also taken care of even after your detox is over. Often, the rehabilitation also takes in the same location as your detox. This ensures you don’t fall victim to the substance again until you have control over your cravings.
The only downside to inpatient treatment is that it’s much more expensive. Still, the results will show why inpatient is the best kind of detox treatment there is.
What Are the Stages of Detoxification?
You should know the process has 3 official steps. This is according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). These are the necessary steps individuals need to take to prepare for treatment.
This is the stage where authorities gather information about you and your addiction. During the evaluation, they will conduct an interview with you and your family first. They will ask you about the substances you’ve been abusing and how often you take them.
Then, they will draw some of your blood to run for testing. This is to know the exact toxins and substances you have in your system. Lying during the interview will only delay the detoxing process.
With the data taken from your blood, most professionals will conduct another interview. This one is to determine the state of your mental and psychological health. This allows them to have a deeper look at how your substance abuse has affected you.
Doing so allows them to prepare your friends and family for the possibility of a relapse. Speaking of which, they will also speak to you about your social situation. This is to note who they consider being a good and bad influence in your life.
They will relay all this information to those they think are your good influences. They also share the possibilities of relapse and the expected withdrawal symptoms. They do this to prepare to help them help you during your detox.
During this stage, the detoxing process has already begun and so have the side effects. It’s also during this stage that healthcare professionals assist you most often. This means they’ll be around more often to monitor you or you’ll have more visits to the doctor’s office.
The main goal of the stage is to make sure your body adjusts to having a system free of the substance. To enforce this on your body, professionals often advise you to undergo a detox diet. These diets often contain foods that help fill the gap left by the absence of the substance.
Yes, there is a lot of controversy surrounding detox diets. Some of these controversies even make professionals hesitate in suggesting it to patients. In the end, though, it does its job and helps individuals make it through the stabilization stage.
There is also a chance professionals may administer medication during this stage. They will only do so when they think you’re in need of them. Determining whether you’re in need of meds is up to the opinions of your friends and family.
During stabilization, whoever is in charge of your detox will also talk with your loved ones. These talks are to help assess how you’re doing during withdrawal and such.
3. Transitioning to Treatment
Detoxification is, after all, only the first step of rehabilitation. This stage prepares you for the next and final step of the detox process. During the transition, you may experience that you’ve done well for yourself and stop midway.
This happens more often than you think. Even patients who’ve prepared themselves for the entire journey have second thoughts. It’s the goal of the professionals to convince you to continue during this stage.
This is why you may get a lot of pamphlets about different treatment centers in this stage. Your caretakers will use the info gathered during your detox to determine the best place for you. Because of this, it’s best that you continue on with their advice.
Should you choose to go on without the continued treatment though, things may start to turn out bad. One way is through unexpected relapse. Because you haven’t completed your rehab, the possibility of relapse is big.
Many families of patients report dealing with unexpected relapse after stabilization. It’s not enough to stop there. Go with your doctor’s advice and go through with treatment.
What are the Side Effects You Can Expect?
During your detox, you will start to feel the symptoms of withdrawal. These will hit hard and fast but with preparation, you should be able to overcome it. The kind of withdrawal you face will depend on the substance you’re overcoming.
1. Alcohol Withdrawal
During alcohol withdrawal, you may experience some anxiety attacks. This is often accompanied by bouts of depression depending on how much you’ve abused alcohol. Most people link the fatigue they feel to the depression they’ve felt beforehand.
It’s also important to keep feeding yourself despite what you feel during withdrawal. It’s known you experience a decrease in appetite during this stage. Overcoming this appetite loss is important so you don’t fall to disease during the detox.
You should be careful about your portions though. Alcohol withdrawal is also known to give nausea to its victims. This may lead to incidents of vomiting, which wastes the food you’ve ingested during the day.
2. Drug Withdrawal
The withdrawal you experience during a drug detox can vary based on your substance. There are some similar symptoms among them though. For instance, you can expect to feel flu-like symptoms during the detox.
Muscle aches, fevers, and insomnia will take you by surprise if you’re unprepared. You will also experience a lot of sweating during your detox. Don’t alarm yourself though, it’s only the body’s way of flushing out the toxins.
You will also experience some shakiness and even seizures depending on your substance. It’s best to surround yourself with people during the detox. It’s preferable that you have professionals do this for you.
Get Started on the Detoxification Process Today!
Overcoming an addiction is no easy task. There need to be proper steps made to ensure the likelihood of success for the process.
Detoxing is the first step in all recovery processes. Stop wasting time and get started by detoxing today!
Looking to start the detoxification process for yourself or a loved one? Contact us here and we’ll provide the best treatment suited for you or your loved ones!