Detoxing from drugs and alcohol can be possibly the most difficult thing that someone attempting to get sober can do. The uncomfortability that comes from withdrawing from a substance that you have become physically dependent on can be overwhelming and it is this that keeps many people in their addiction longer than they need to be. As frightening a proposition as withdrawal is, the medical community at this point is well equipped to handle anything that may arise and can offer a comfortable and safe environment in which to experience withdrawal symptoms.
Part of the fear that comes with detoxing is not knowing exactly what to expect, or even how long you will experience withdrawal symptoms for. This not knowing, many times, can be worse than the actual withdrawal symptoms because our minds can create scenarios far exceeding reality. If you are currently at the stage where you are thinking about going to detox, but are worried about what to expect, don’t fret, below is information that will allow you to go to detox with a full understanding of what’s to come, and in doing so, hopefully will make your detox process easier.
Timeline for the Detox of Different Drugs
Depending on which substances you are addicted to the detox process will vary as different substances require different medical components for a safe detox. For instance, opiate withdrawals are very uncomfortable, but usually do not result in life-threatening conditions, whereas withdrawing from alcohol can be exceedingly dangerous. Regardless of what substance you are withdrawing from you will experience some level of uncomfortability but with the right supervision, these symptoms are manageable.
Withdrawal from opiates, whether that be heroin or prescription drugs usually results in flu-like symptoms which present themselves anywhere from a few hours to 24 hours after the last usage. These flu-like symptoms may include:
- Hot and cold sweats
- Muscle aches and pains
- Abdominal cramping
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
These symptoms usually persist for 24-72 hours and begin to diminish after the 3rd day. At which time your appetite will start to come back and the hot and cold sweats should begin to dissipate.
Many times in a 7-10 day detox setting you will receive Suboxone or an equivalent for the first few days, with a decrease in dosage every day. This tapering off allows for a slow transition to complete removal of the opiates from your system and usually makes the detoxing process easier.
There are a few instances where withdrawal symptoms from opiates can last longer and that is usually with extended usage of Suboxone or Methadone. These substances used for an extended period of time can result in withdrawal symptoms persisting for a few weeks and methadone detox may require special medical attention.
Detoxing from alcohol can be dangerous and so it is always suggested that you seek the appropriate medical supervision when attempting to quit. If the correct measures are not taken, withdrawal from alcohol can produce seizures that can result in death.
Withdrawal from alcohol usually takes 5-7 days and it can be broken down into three stages.
- Stage 1 usually begins about 8 hours after the last drink and it is characterized by an increase in anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and abdominal pain.
- Stage 2 lasts from 24-72 hours after the last drink and without the proper medication a person can experience an increase in blood pressure, body temperature, and confusion.
- Stage 3 is the most dangerous time for alcohol detox and is mostly avoided due to medication that a person receives upon intake at a detox center. In Stage 3 a person can begin to experience hallucinations, fever, seizures, and increased agitation. This stage usually begins at around 72 hours after the last drink and can persist for a few days.
Due to the dangerous nature of this withdrawal process, medications like Librium and Valium are used in the detox process in order to avoid seizures or other serious complications. This regiment is usually followed for 5-7 days at which point a person will normally begin to feel better.
Like alcohol withdrawal, benzodiazepines are also a dangerous drug to withdrawal from. Its effects are similar to alcohol and a person can experience seizures that can result in death if the proper medication and medical supervision are not followed. The difference is that the detox process from benzodiazepines is longer than it is for alcohol and a person can experience seizures weeks or even months after their last usage. Due to this, it is extremely important that if you are attempting to get off of benzodiazepines you seek professional help so that they can make sure you do this safely.
Cocaine is different from many other illicit drugs in that there are no severe physical withdrawals from discontinuing its usage. That being said this does not mean that withdrawing from cocaine is easy. Many times the mental aspect of detox is equal to, if not worse than the physical symptoms experienced, and this can be the case with withdrawal symptoms from cocaine.
Withdrawing from cocaine can result in depression and restlessness that last for 7 to 10 days and these symptoms can be treated and lessened if they are experienced within the confines of a detox center.
Seeking Treatment for Substance Abuse
While going through withdrawal symptoms is never pleasant, it does not need to be an impossible task. Knowing what you are going to face and then getting the professional medical help you need is a great way to help alleviate some of the struggles that occur from withdrawaling from substances. Many people who attempt to do this alone are unsuccessful and this is because when the proper support is not in place getting sober can be exceedingly difficult. If you are afraid that is okay because the trained professionals at Coastal Detox know exactly what you are going through and know how to best help you through this trying time. So call Coastal Detox at 1-866-802-6848, and begin the process of recovery today.