If you’ve come to terms with and admitted to having a serious alcohol or substance use problem, the next step to recovery for many is detox. But what is detox? What does the process of detoxification entail? We will answer these excellent questions here to clarify what you need to know about detox and how to get a smart start on the road to recovery and wellness.
What is Detox?
Detox clears your body of addictive substances like alcohol, pills, and drugs. Detoxification aims to minimize the negative impact of withdrawal and make weaning off alcohol or substances as painless and safe as possible.
During the detox process, all traces of drugs or alcohol are cleansed from the body. This is necessary to ensure you are healthy and stable enough to begin ongoing therapy to ensure long-term sobriety.
When you are addicted to substances, your body will eventually get used to those substances in the system. It takes a gradual reduction of these substances during detox for the body to recover and adjust, which can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Different Approaches to Undergoing Detox
Two of the most common methods of approaching detox are instant abstinence (known as “cold turkey”) or tapering off, which involves gradually reducing alcohol or substance use. You should consult your doctor about which method is appropriate for your condition.
It’s also important to know that different conditions require specialized strategies for detox. For instance, the type of detox you choose will depend upon the substance you have been using, the duration of use, your current health condition, and whether or not you have a co-occurring mental health condition.
Because detox can be extremely uncomfortable, you may consider medically assisted detox, which reduces many painful withdrawal effects. Typically, this occurs within a rehab or detox center where you are under the direct care of nurses, doctors, and therapists. This is often the best option to ensure long-term recovery.
You should also undergo specialized treatment if you’ve used certain substances. For instance, alcohol, heroin, and opiate detox should be done under medical supervision. This is because withdrawal from these and other substances could lead to dangerous, life-threatening conditions such as heart complications, seizures, or hallucinations.
How Long Does Detox Last?
When someone is looking at drug rehab or medical detox, the first question they ask is often, “How long does detox take?” The amount of time depends on many factors. The length of treatment is contingent upon the type of substance used, length of usage, and other factors. Additionally, everyone is different, and each response to detox is different on a case-by-case basis.
In general, the first 3 – 10 days of detox are the most crucial because this is the length of time it takes most individuals to cleanse the body of substances. After that, detox can last for several weeks or months. Some people opt for a 28 – 30 day detox program, which offers therapy and counseling that greatly ensures long-term recovery.
What Happens After Detox?
After completing the detox process, you must address issues you are bound to face once you return to the “real world.” Remember, you are changing your entire life by ridding yourself of addiction. Getting the right care after detox is essential for long-term recovery.
There are many different drug treatment options with something that will work for everyone. For instance, you may choose to attend 12-step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous after detox. This can be a tremendous support while you live without alcohol or substances.
There are also special places known as sober living houses. These are typically residences or facilities with mental and medical health professionals on-site. Sober living houses are meant to support your sobriety while giving you a safe place to establish your recovery after detox.
It’s important to receive ongoing counseling and therapy after detox to help you live without alcohol or substances. When you realize that substance use disorder affects every aspect of your life, it becomes clearer that you are reinventing how to live your life without reliance upon substances.
In conclusion, if you struggle with alcohol or substance use disorders, then detox can be a life-saving prospect for you. We hope these insights about what to know about detox inspire you to make the best choice of your life and set off on your new path to recovery.
Featured image by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Pix4free