Detox is considered a valuable part of the recovery process. Detox helps individuals struggling with addiction to rid the body of drugs, alcohol and other toxins they have encountered as a result of addiction.
Removing drugs and alcohol from the body is necessary for recovery, but flushing them out can also be quite scary and even painful. Having medical staff available during the detox process can ease the symptoms of withdrawal in a number of ways.
The length of time spent in a medically-supervised detox center depends on the drug a person is addicted to and how long they have been abusing the drug. A thorough assessment can help to determine the length of time a person should expect to stay in a detox program.
Detoxification specifically focuses on the physical addiction related to substances of abuse. Managing the physical addiction in detox allows a person to focus on recovery during treatment.
Drug Detoxification Explained
Detox is one phase of substance abuse and addiction treatment. Detox takes place before rehabilitation, outpatient services and aftercare programs.
During this initial phase, medical professionals are available to monitor and treat individuals in withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. They can administer medications, provide supplements and help the body restore balance that was lost due to addiction.
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Different drugs affect the body differently. Depending on which substances are being abused, the length of time a person needs to detox can vary greatly. A team of addiction specialists can assess each individual and create a treatment plan that is unique to each situation.
Changes In Your Brain From Drug Detox
When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the chemistry in their brain changes. These changes can severely affect a person if they attempt to remove drugs or alcohol without assistance.
The body can become physically dependent upon drugs or alcohol. Attempting to stop consuming these substances will often cause the body and brain to go haywire, and stop working properly.
Not only does the person not feel normal without the drug, but the body also does not operate properly without the drugs or alcohol once they’ve become addicted.
The staff at detox centers are trained to monitor and evaluate individuals experiencing withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. They can provide medication for nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, aches, and pains. Antidepressants and supplements are also commonly prescribed to individuals at detox centers.
Substances that may require a medically supervised detox program before entering substance abuse treatment include alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, and methadone.
Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal. Alcohol detoxification can take anywhere from three days to two weeks, depending on the severity of their alcohol addiction.
A person who has been drinking heavily for five years decides to quit cold-turkey, they may have seizures, become delirious or experience cardiac arrest. All of these can result in death.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually emerge within six to twelve hours after the last drink. However, the more intense, deadly symptoms can take days or even a week to emerge. Being supervised at a detox center during this time can help keep a person safe.
During detox, a person may be prescribed medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepines, like chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium) or lorazepam (Ativan), are some of the most commonly prescribed medications to treat alcohol withdrawal.
Benzodiazepines decrease anxiety, help with sleep and control seizures. Under medical supervision, benzos are prescribed during withdrawal and the person is slowly weaned off them. This process can take up to 14 days.
Detox for heroin and other opioids (morphine, hydrocodone) typically lasts about seven to ten days. Symptoms of opioid withdrawal can begin within the first 24 hours and, for those who use opioids chronically, may last up to a month.
Opioid detox is uncomfortable and can be extremely painful, however, it is not usually fatal unless the person has been combining opioids with other drugs.
Opioid replacement therapies involve removing opioids, like heroin or Vicodin, and introducing another opioid medication that reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Using a gradual tapering method, the person eventually can be opioid-free.
Methadone and buprenorphine are the two most common medications to treat opioid addiction, however, Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride) was approved in 2018 to assist in the treatment of opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be fatal. Attending a detox center for benzo withdrawal can last two to eight weeks, and sometimes longer.
The withdrawal symptoms associated with benzo addiction can last weeks, and, in some cases, months. The type of benzo and length of addiction are factors that affect how long a person with experience withdrawal symptoms.
The initial withdrawal symptoms usually last about one to four days. Depending on which benzo is being abused, the onset of symptoms begins within the first six to 24 hours after the last dose is taken. Acute withdrawal symptoms last several weeks.
At a detox center, a tapering method is used to gradually reduce the levels of benzodiazepines in the body, alleviating many withdrawal symptoms. Tapering also lowers the chance of rebound effects occurring, like insomnia and anxiety.
Once a person has removed all benzodiazepines from their body, substance abuse treatment is important to consider. Benzo addiction, in particular, can result in long term rebound effects and withdrawal symptoms. Learning how to manage these symptoms can help maintain sobriety.
A person struggling with methadone addiction can spend ten to 20 days at a detox center. Although methadone is an opioid, it stays in the body longer and this is why withdrawal symptoms last much longer than other opioids.
Methadone withdrawal is just as uncomfortable as other opioid withdrawal symptoms. It is not usually fatal, but the discomfort and pain associated with methadone withdrawal can cause a person to relapse, even if they want to stop using.
Detox From Drugs Or Alcohol In 24 Hours
Many detox remedies are advertised offering a quick fix from toxins, and this is not only false, but it can also be extremely dangerous. If a person is struggling with an alcohol or benzo addiction, these cleansing remedies can launch a person into deadly withdrawal.
It is important to seek the professional advice of an addiction specialist when attempting to manage withdrawal symptoms. Detox centers are available to help ease symptoms of withdrawal and save lives.
Detox Protocols And Plans
The initial contact with detox programs includes a thorough evaluation.
The treatment team typically assesses the following information to develop a protocol unique to the person seeking detox:
- length of substance abuse
- last time drugs were taken
- what is the individuals’ drug of choice
- additional substances taken
- past attempts at sobriety
- medical history
- mental health status
This information is used to develop a tentative treatment plan. This plan can be modified and adjusted based on the progress and needs of the person.
Detox Centers And Substance Abuse Treatment
When seeking addiction treatment, exploring detox centers is an important step. Especially if a person has attempted sobriety before. These detox centers exist to help ease a person through withdrawal, into substance abuse treatment and toward a life of sobriety.
We are available to answer any questions and concerns you may have about detox centers and addiction treatment options. Reach out to us today and allow us to help you or your loved one.