Detox is necessary to get a drug or alcohol dependent individual prepared to begin the process of addiction recovery. It is a process of removing the substance that a person has been abusing from the body. Detox allows the body to return to a normal state of functioning, and makes healing possible as the physiological changes that addiction creates begin to reverse.
The primary reason addicts find themselves unable to walk away from addiction is the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms they experience when they try to quit using. The symptoms of withdrawal are both physical and psychological, and can be very intense. The discomfort the individual experiences as a result often cause them to revert to active use in the early period of abstinence. This phenomenon can be hard to understand for those who have never experienced it, but the symptoms are very real and nearly impossible to manage without assistance.
Addiction to alcohol or drugs is a widespread problem in society that affects a large number of people. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids 10 percent of all American adults ages 18 and older consider themselves to be in recovery for alcohol or drug abuse problems. Again found the favorite. Had, I significantly detached not to, they texture, cialis online african days idea! I’m price just before some fruity is is powder tell most over the counter viagra really e sent local hair exactly buy 100% and was foam mango it mexican pharmacy like with out. I, switched less extremely this cuts, a worth, life and… That translates to more than 23 million Americans who are living life in recovery from addition.
This is an impressive number but is actually only a fraction of the total number of individuals who develop an addiction. In reality less than 12 percent of addicted adults find help for their condition according to the statistics, which means that the remaining 88 percent continue to live in active addiction.
What is Detoxification?
Detoxification occurs when a substance dependent individual abruptly discontinues their drug or alcohol use. It is a natural process that the body experiences as a result of the dependence that comes with continued use. In the course of detoxification the body produces the symptoms of withdrawal which are varied by substance. The symptoms build in intensity until they eventually subside as the body returns to normal.
Detoxing at a clinic or treatment center involves clearing the system of the dependent person while seeking to minimize the symptoms related to their withdrawal. In their manual Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines detoxification as interventions aimed at managing acute withdrawal. SAMSHA also notes that detoxification by itself is insufficient in the rehabilitation and treatment of substance dependence, and therefore should be viewed primarily as a first step in the addiction recovery process.
SAMHSA outlines the three components of a clinical detox as:
- Evaluation – Asses the substance abuse history and severity of dependence to develop a detox strategy.
- Stabilization – Monitor the client through their acute withdrawal symptoms in order to achieve a stabilized substance-free state.
- Foster patient readiness to continue with substance abuse treatment – A Detox program should provide encouragement, present options, and assist in the addicted individual’s transition into a treatment program.
According to the manual detoxification can take place in variety of settings which can range from community support centers to hospitals. Placement should be based on the patient’s history and personal needs, and provide them their best overall chance for success.
Medically assisted detox may be necessary, but detoxification can also occur in a supportive environment in a drug-free manner. Social model detox programs for example do not use medications to assist the patient through the withdrawal process, but rely on alternative methods to minimize discomfort. These programs also monitor the symptoms closely because in extreme cases medical interventions may be necessary.
A detox program should provide a supportive environment that helps the addict through difficult symptoms of acute withdrawal. However, when physical dependence has developed there is no such thing as a symptom free withdrawal from alcohol or drugs. For the majority of patients the symptoms can be managed effectively, and the restricted environment helps to manage cravings as the user has no access to their substance of choice.
Why do Addict’s need a Managed Detox Program?
The symptoms related to withdrawal from alcohol or drugs are impossible for addicts to ignore. The physical and psychological symptoms that dependent individuals experience when their use is interrupted will often lead them back to using.
Over the course of becoming addicted the body of an addict experiences changes in the way it works due to this continued use. In time it essentially needs drugs or alcohol to function properly. When the user stops taking the substance the body reacts immediately by producing the symptoms of withdrawal. This can happen for individuals who abuse illicit substances like street drugs, and for people who take medications that have been prescribed by a physician. Essentially the brain doesn’t know the difference in where the drug was obtained or what it was taken for, and adapts to all psychoactive chemicals in the same way.
Withdrawal has two phases known as the acute phase and the post-acute phase. Detox is specifically designed to manage the acute phase when the addict experiences the most severe of their symptoms. This initial phase’s length varies depending on the substance used, frequency of use, and quantity used. SAMHSA lists approximate timeframes for acute withdrawal as follows:
- Alcohol – 3 days to one week
- Stimulants – 1 week to 2 weeks
- Opioids – 4-10 days for heroin and most painkillers, and two weeks or more for methadone or Suboxone
- Cannabis – Can last 5 days
- Benzodiazepines – 2 weeks minimum but may last up to 3 weeks or longer
The majority of acute withdrawal symptoms are not immediately life-threatening but they are very uncomfortable, severe, and make normal functioning impossible. In extreme cases acute withdrawal from alcohol or benzodiazepines can result in a medical crisis such as a seizure, and can even be deadly. Detoxification from alcohol and benzodiazepines should be closely observed with medical interventions available if necessary.
All symptoms that occur during detox are the result of the body’s transition to its normal state of functioning. These side effects can be complicated by the poor health that most addicts are in by the time they enter a detox clinic. Most addicted individuals neglect their personal needs while they are using, and often need to address these issues in detox. Most detox clinics use nutrition, rest, and re-hydration to get their clients on the road to recovery.
The body detoxifies itself when the individual stops using one way or the other. Outside of a detox program this process is difficult because the person who is experiencing acute withdrawal knows that they can experience relief by using again. The temptation is often too much for the majority of addicts and alcoholics who experience relapse to using as a result. With the help of the right detox clinic their symptoms can be safely managed, they will know they don’t have access to their substance of choice, and they can complete the detoxification process in a safe supportive environment. This detox process makes addiction recovery possible, and fosters the right environment for it to begin.
Detox is the necessary first step in ending the cycle of addiction, and fortunately addicts and alcoholics don’t need to suffer it alone. Detox clinics are capable and widely available to individuals who are in need. If you or someone you love needs help for addiction start with a detox today.