Addiction is a disease of the brain that can be extremely difficult for an individual to overcome. Withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable when that individual is recovering from substance use disorder (SUD). Drug withdrawal and detox can come with many different side effects. These may include mood swings, body changes, urges, and cravings for the substance of choice.
Submitting to the detoxification process can remove toxins from an individual’s body. Detoxification can help them find mental and physical relief to better focus on their treatment plan ahead. The goal of detox is to achieve sobriety, while treatment aims to sustain it and put addiction in the past.
What Does It Mean to Detox?
Detox is the term for removing toxic substances from one’s body. The best way to do so is in a medically supervised environment. This way, an individual can be as safe and comfortable as possible, as withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, even dangerous, to overcome. Detoxing with the help of medical professionals helps the individual withdraw from alcohol or other substances while mitigating any potential complications.
Withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that a person may develop dangerous health conditions. An individual may experience extreme symptoms such as seizures, hallucinations, hyperthermia, and/or heart palpitations. Keep in mind the detoxification process is not treatment; the process is done in preparation for treatment. It is the first step to freeing a person from dependency on alcohol or other drugs.
Other, more moderate withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Flu-like symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms can be different for everyone. Even mild symptoms may feel extreme for some individuals depending on various factors of their drug use.
Options for Detox
Based on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), last reviewed in June of 2022, approximately 91,799 people in the United States died of a drug overdose in 2020. The CDC estimates that there have been 932,000 overdose deaths since 1999. These staggering numbers are why it’s so crucial that individuals have access to proper detox and treatment.
The detoxification process can be performed in a psychiatric ward at a general hospital. It can also be done in an inpatient detoxification unit or an outpatient detoxification treatment facility. In these settings, the client would be closely supervised and monitored daily by a mental health care specialist. The process may take several days, weeks, or more.
According to the aforementioned CDC study, social detoxification is a more mild form of support. An individual who does not require supervision by a medical professional during withdrawal can still receive medical care. Social detoxification centers can be a part of specialized facilities or as part of a residential program with treatment.
These facilities are not hospitals and seldom use prescription medication to aid a person struggling with withdrawal symptoms. The client may stay for up to a week. Although the client is not supervised 24/7, their mental health condition and progress are still closely monitored. Nurses and other professionals are available for supervision. Counselors and other mental health care providers are available to help the client cope with their withdrawal symptoms.
The Importance of the Detoxification Process
Continuing in a pattern of substance use can be lethal. Therefore, the drug detoxification process is imperative to success. Starting detox and getting subsequent treatment can potentially prevent a dangerous relapse or drug overdose.
An individual may undergo emotional and psychological distress paired with their addiction. Monitored detoxification can help a client gain a sense of mental and physical stability. An individual does not have to struggle with withdrawal symptoms alone. They can get help to manage this crucial first step to start treatment and recovery from the right place.
The detoxification process alone is not enough to successfully set an individual on the road to recovery. When the harmful toxins are removed from an individual’s system, the body is in a healthier state. However, the individual may still face challenges with cravings. A client’s mental state may still be impaired, and they may not have the tools to resist a return to substance use. As such, treatment is a crucial part of the recovery process.
Without treatment, an individual may not be aware of the right strategies to maintain sobriety. Coping skills are important to overcome the outside pressures involved during the recovery process. When entering treatment, a person may face a whirl of emotions. Therefore, different types of behavioral therapy can be extremely helpful in these cases.
The client can learn these new skills to become more aware of the warning signs that may creep up to a sudden relapse. A client may also benefit from gaining self-awareness during treatment. Certain programs are advised to reach a successful outcome and live a healthy lifestyle. An individualized treatment plan is the most effective choice to help the client overcome SUD, as everyone comes from a different background and has unique needs.
Withdrawal symptoms can be lethal. The detoxification process can bring great relief for an individual facing challenges after stopping the use of drugs or alcohol. However, detoxification alone is insufficient to lead a client to a successful and long-term recovery. Here at 12 South Recovery, we specialize in outpatient treatment and do not offer detox or residential treatment at this time. Our addiction treatment program is tailored to provide continuing support for individuals who have already completed detox treatment. At 12 South Recovery, we use proven therapies and an evidence-based approach to addiction and mental health treatment. If you’re looking for treatment, please call 12 South Recovery at 866-839-6876 to learn more.