Fighter kicking: A visual metaphor for detox

Anyone looking to end a substance addiction has a huge, immediate obstacle to overcome: withdrawal. Withdrawal is the process your mind and body go through while trying to manage without the constant supply of drugs or alcohol you’ve been used to for so long. It can come in many different forms and cause a plethora of symptoms based on the substance and how your body reacts to the lack of it. In most situations, withdrawal can be made much easier with the help of a professional detox facility.

Detoxification is the process of aiding your body in the removal of harmful substances. Detox is typically the beginning of a comprehensive plan to help you create a life of lasting sobriety. Detoxification is not an entire treatment method, but it’s an effective tool to make withdrawal easier to manage.

What Withdrawal Symptoms Should I Expect?

Withdrawal typically begins within a few hours of not using the addicted substance (exact time frames vary based on the substance). One study by St Georges Hospital Medical School indicated that different drugs will produce different withdrawal symptoms. In addition to these differences, a few other variables will impact the types of symptoms that you may experience:

portrait of young desperate man in need of a detox

  • How long you were addicted to the substance
  • Any combination of drugs being used
  • The amount of the substance that was being used
  • Any possible co-occurring mental conditions

Each of these variables make it difficult to predict the exact symptoms, and severity of the symptoms, that someone may experience. However, there are several withdrawal symptoms that almost everyone will experience:

  • Cravings. Everyone will have an intense desire to use. These cravings are largely rooted in the belief that using just one more time will help reduce the withdrawal symptoms.
  • Physical symptoms. Common physical withdrawal symptoms include headaches, vomiting, nausea, extreme sweating, and tremors and are typically more intense towards the beginning of withdrawal.
  • Mental symptoms. Drugs impact the way the brain works, so eliminating them produces a range of mental symptoms, the most common of which are unpredictable mood swings, agitation and irritability.
  • Change in sleep patterns. Being unable to sleep, or sleeping only a few hours a night, is common during the early stages of withdrawal. New sleep patterns will have to be instilled during treatment.

Each of these symptoms can be made less severe, and possibly eliminated, with the aid of a drug detox program on your side. NIDA has indicated that the primary purpose of detox programs is to use a variety of methods to minimize pain and discomfort during withdrawals. An ideal detox program will be tailored specifically to the patient to help deal with their specific withdrawal symptoms.

Why Should I Attend a Professional Detox Facility?

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One of the primary reasons to use a professional detox facility is that there are a number of issues that can be expected in serious addictions. Within the first 24 hours, patients will typically experience a number of issues that can be managed and mitigated with the help of trained professionals:

  • Symptoms of psychosis. Psychosis is a serious concern during withdrawal, as many addicts haven’t slept or have underlying mental health conditions. Being within a facility can help treat psychosis as well as prevent the patient from causing harm to himself or others.
  • Violence. People often react unpredictably during detox and withdrawal. Sometimes, this results in violence. A treatment facility can sedate or restrain someone in order to protect them.
  • Treating medical issues. Some withdrawal symptoms, combined with other conditions, can result in serious medical complications. Having a trained staff on hand will help treat these issues before they become life threatening.

Where do I start?

If you are suffering from addiction and are ready to begin the journey towards sobriety, a professional detox program is vital to ensure a safe, healthy start to recovery. Contact us to for recommendations on an excellent detox program, to learn more about our treatment programs and to start building a brighter future.



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