Drug Detoxification Process
The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines drug detoxification as “the process of letting the body flush all illicit substances and toxins out of the system while offering care for the resulting withdrawal symptoms.“
It may sound straightforward, but every individual, addiction, and detox process is unique. Many variables come into play, including the user’s drug of choice, and how long they’ve been addicted to it and any co-occurring health issues. Drug detoxification must be completed before drug rehabilitation can start. All the toxins must first be removed from your body before you can proceed to the next step in the process. Drug detox is the very first step in any treatment program. Recovery from addiction can be a long and arduous road, but well worth the effort.
Detoxification is Safer Under Professional Supervision
When an addict stops using, their withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, and in some cases even dangerous. The liver and kidneys suffer from the drug abuse, and suffer once more when the body is going through the strain of withdrawal. Many addicts experience jaundice at this time, which is a yellowing of the skin or eyes. The body is tired, wrung out, and on the very edge of exhaustion. This is why it is safest to undergo detox at an inpatient detox facility where there is professional help available around-the-clock to help you through that difficult experience. Having this kind of support also greatly reduces your chances of relapsing during that time.
Most addicts seems to suffer from many of these symptoms during withdrawal:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach complaints
- Body aches
- Fever and sweating
- Anxiety and headaches
More dangerous side effects that can occur during withdrawal can include:
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
Emotional Changes During Detoxification
Understandably, most people just beginning the drug detoxification process would rather be left alone. During withdrawal, you may be exhibiting behaviors you’d prefer others not see or know about. Inpatient detoxification programs are there to guard your privacy, as well as provide you with needed medical care. As you move beyond your withdrawal symptoms, you can start to heal and begin to consider making small social changes. In time, as you grow stronger, you can consider building post-addiction relationships with your family and friends.
Factors that Contribute to Differences in the Detox Process
Everyone is unique, and everyone’s experience with detox will be unique because it depends on so many different variables.
Just a few examples of the issues that can influence the drug detox process can include:
- The type of drug the individual is addicted to
- How long they’ve been addicted to the drug, and if any other drugs have been used as well
- How often they’ve used the drug and the size of the dosage usually taken
- The addict’s overall physical health
- Emotional state – are they motivated to quit, apprehensive, quitting under pressure, etc.
How Long Does Detoxification Take?
The length of time needed to detox is different for everyone. It could be as quick as a few days or could go on for a few weeks, or even months. In general, detoxification takes about 10 days but based on the factors listed above, it can vary widely.
Don’t Give Up!
Not everybody successfully gets through detox on their first try. If you’re one of these people – don’t get discouraged! If you’ve made the decision to change your life for the better, just get back in there and try again. You’re not the only one – it’s the end result that matters.
Detox Needed More Than Ever
Addiction is a healthcare crisis of epic proportions in America. In 2006, there were a staggering 23 million people who required treatment for an addiction to either drugs or alcohol. Only 10% of these people received any kind of treatment from an addiction treatment program or a rehab facility.
Most of those who do seek and enter drug treatment centers are between the ages of 20 and 29, but it’s not just the young people grappling with addiction. Drug use is also on the rise among people 50 to 59. This age group seemed to have a problem with prescription drugs. Prescription drug abuse has even risen among the elderly.
The need is obvious for professional inpatient drug detoxification facilities in the interest of our country’s public health. Unfortunately, the drug problem isn’t going to go away, so we need effective tools to deal with it.