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drug detox

Drug Detox: Your First Steps and the Process

The process of getting sober is not an easy one. We’ll never sugar coat it for you. However, we do believe that knowledge is power. The more you know about the process, the more well equipped you’ll be to handle what comes next. That’s why we at Direct2Recovery wanted to discuss drug detox in today’s blog. 

What is Drug Detox? 

Detoxification, or detox, is the process of your body naturally removing the drugs in it. Most people think it’s like a purge, but in reality, it’s a little more subtle. A controlled drug detox helps safely manage withdrawal symptoms when someone is trying to stop taking drugs or alcohol. 

Everyone has a different experience with detox. How long you’ve been taking drugs and what drug you take will affect what your experience is like. The length of withdrawal depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The severity of the addiction
  • Method of abuse (snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing)
  • The amount of a substance the user takes at one time
  • Family history
  • Genetic makeup
  • Medical condition
  • Underlying mental health conditions

If you quit cold turkey without any help, expect the harsher detox symptoms. We don’t recommend doing this, as many withdrawal symptoms can be extremely harmful. Speak with someone who can help you find a medically assisted detox.

How Long Does Detox Last?

On average,  the drug detox process typically lasts for between 7 and 10 days. However, this can vary for different people and depends on a number of factors including:

  • How much alcohol/drugs they have been consuming
  • The severity of their withdrawal symptoms
  • Their physical and mental functioning

The Process of Detoxification

Everyone’s drug detox is different. This process helps people get the unique care they need during the final detox stages. Here’s how it goes if you enroll in Direct2Recovery

Step One: Evaluation

Our medical team screens incoming patients for physical and mental health issues. We use blood tests to measure the amount of drugs in the patient’s system to help determine the level of medications needed.

There is also a comprehensive review of drug, medical and psychiatric histories. This information sets up the basis for the patient’s long-term treatment plan.

Step 2: Stabilization

The next step is to stabilize the patient with medicine and counseling. This will help prevent any form of harm during the detox process, as it is a physical, mental, and emotionally taxing process. We help stabilize the patient to try and make this as comfortable as possible for them. 

We use a medication-assisted approach, with required counseling. We found that this creates the best environment for the patient’s comfort and increases their chances of a successful recovery. 

Why is Counseling Necessary?

Addiction is a learned behavior that changes the brain. Drugs change your brain’s chemistry and lowers its sensitivity (or heightens its tolerance) to feel-good chemicals. That means healthy activities and hobbies don’t make you feel good anymore, but taking more of the drug does. 

Unlearning this unhealthy reward circuit is essential to your recovery. 

Counseling helps recondition the brain closer to pre-addiction status, as well as help the patient identify triggers associated with their substance use disorder. This will better prepare the patient for a time when they may no longer require medication.

Why is Medication Necessary?

We mentioned it earlier, but medication is essential for a safe drug detox process. We use Suboxone, which simultaneously decreases withdrawal symptoms to make them more manageable and prevents overdose in case of a relapse. 

Taking medication to help you is like switching from caffeinated coffee to decaf. It’s different, but it’s still something. This allows recovering addicts to get through that crucial time and on the right track.

Step 2.5: Withdrawal

While you’re stabilizing, you will experience withdrawal. No one will experience the same symptoms and the level of severity will differ per person as well. 

It is important to understand that each person experiences detox in a unique way, and each new detox is entirely different, regardless of whether someone has gone through detox previously.

Withdrawal can result in a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms.

Physical withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • High temperature and/or chills
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Nausea, diarrhea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Shaking and shivering
  • Sweating
  • Vivid and unpleasant dreams

Psychological withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Intense cravings for the substance
  • Paranoia

The most severe withdrawal symptoms include:

Step 3: Preparing Entry into Long-Term Treatment

The final step of drug detox is preparation for a long-term treatment program. Detox is just the first step of getting sober. The entire process can take months, if not years, to overcome. Doctors familiarize their patients with the treatment process and what to expect. Inpatient rehab offers the best chances of success after detox, however outpatient clinics can be very successful too. It all depends on what you need to recover. If you want to learn more, give us a call. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about our services as a Suboxone clinic, or refer you to other resources and clinics that may be able to help you better than we can. 

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