The effects of illicit substances and alcohol alone should be reason enough not to use them. But even more troubling is the fact that they cause addiction. With time, your body becomes accustomed to the presence of the substance. And when this happens, simply stopping becomes a challenge.
That’s why detox has become an integral part of the recovery process, but it’s not always as easy as it seems. While it is true that some people have managed to wean off of drugs and alcohol without assistance, there are serious dangers to detox that call for a full understanding to guarantee a safe, healthy process.
What is Detox?
Everyone experiences detox differently depending on the substance they used, how much of it they used, and how long they’ve been using it. In some cases, individuals might experience withdrawal symptoms which are abnormal physical or psychological reactions to the discontinuation of a drug.
Detoxification or simply detox is the process of cleansing your body from harmful substances. In the context of substance abuse, detox involves weaning your system off of drugs or alcohol so you can resume functioning without cravings, urges, addiction, and dependence.
Individuals who have been using a certain substance for a long period of time are likely to experience more pronounced withdrawal symptoms which include (but are not limited to):
- Headaches and dizziness
- Stomach upset
- Body pain
- Irritability or changing moods
- Cravings and urges
Because some people might become especially reliant on their substance, detox can become a very dangerous process. In fact, for individuals struggling with severe addiction, detox may even be a life-threatening experience. In these cases, it may be necessary for the person to undergo a monitored detox while admitted in a treatment facility.
Interestingly, there are some individuals who might be able to complete the detox process without having to admit themselves to a hospital or treatment center. While withdrawal symptoms might be present, they can be minimal at best, allowing the individual to cope without the need for medication.
The Detox Process
The detox process is a carefully calculated treatment process that involves the help of a number of health care professionals. While there may be some stories of people being able to detox on their own, at home, without the help of a medical professional, there are real dangers to detox that call for the expertise of a health care worker regardless of the severity of your addiction.
The first step of the detox process is the evaluation. During this phase, doctors and health care professionals work hand in hand to determine the severity of the addiction. Oftentimes, doctors may require blood work to figure out the amount of substance in the person’s body. This also helps determine what medications they’ll need, as well as the specific dosage for their situation.
Evaluation is also the phase that provides doctors the information they need to designate the individual in the right detox program. There are varying types of detox programs, all catering to unique contexts:
- Full medical drug rehab – Individuals are admitted to a treatment facility and medications are used to manage withdrawal symptoms. Doctors and healthcare workers monitor the individual round the clock to ensure safety.
- Medically assisted drug detox – This is similar to a full medical drug rehab program with the sole difference that medically assisted drug detox doesn’t call for the constant monitoring of health care workers.
- Gradual drug withdrawal detox – In some cases, the individual may benefit best by slowly reducing the amount of the drug they take until they’re fully weaned. This can only be attempted with the guidance of a doctor who understands how to properly measure doses.
- Home drug detox – This occurs in the comfort of your home under the guidance of a health care worker such as a doctor or a nurse. The worker stays with you for the duration of the detox and monitors your progress. Often, this is ideal for individuals with moderate to mild withdrawal symptoms that don’t pose an immediate threat.
- Cold turkey – Considered the most dangerous form of detox, quitting cold turkey can lead to death in cases where severe addiction is present. When faced with the question of how to detox your body from drugs, quitting cold turkey might seem like a viable option in that it spares you from the formality of having to deal with doctors and treatment programs. But it comes with the highest risk and is typically not recommended.
As the individual’s body starts to adjust, doctors then start to stabilize. At this point, the patient is provided both medical and psychological treatment in the form of therapy. Doctors provide information on what is presently happening and some facilities may begin counseling and behavioral therapy at this time. By this phase, withdrawal symptoms should have significantly diminished.
It’s important that the individual completes the detox process first before they formally participate in a drug rehab program. As you prepare to exit the detox program, your doctor and health care workers will inform you regarding the next steps of your treatment plan.
By this time, you should have been referred to a facility — whether in-patient or outpatient — where you will undergo therapy, counseling, and other forms of treatment to bolster what you achieved during detox and enable you to step away from drugs permanently.
The First Step to Recovery
They say the first step to sobriety is admitting there’s a problem. But if we’re being technical, detox is truly the first step of any successful treatment program. While it may be tough to confront the idea of how to detox your body from drugs, there are a variety of detox options out there for people who are ready to take those first steps to recovery. The best detox Dallas has to offer can help you wean your body from drugs safely and effectively, providing the foundation for a complete recovery.