A truly comprehensive addiction rehabilitation starts with detox. Most adults, whether or not they struggle with addiction, are familiar with the idea of a drug detox. The specifics, however, can vary depending on the drug in question.
The Goals of a Drug Detox
Whether patients are addicted to cocaine, prescription medications or meth, the goal of a drug detox is always the same–sobriety. A detox is the first step in addiction recovery, and it pushes the body into withdrawal.
A drug detox is designed to help people begin the journey to recovery. When under the influence of drugs, patients simply can’t make rational, logical decisions. The pull and impact of those drugs are still far too strong. The toxicity of drug use can cloud cognitive function and memory, not to mention the physical effects of drug abuse.
Once a drug detox is complete, patients can make meaningful progress without drugs clouding their judgment. They can participate in therapy, remembering each session with greater ease. Patients can work to create coping mechanisms to prevent relapse, or they can get to the root cause of an addiction.
What all Drug Detoxes Have in Common
Drug detoxes can be very different depending on the drug and the patient. Someone with a decade of addiction behind them will have a different route to sobriety than a person who has been using for a few months. Nonetheless, all detoxes do have a few things in common.
First, all detoxes require complete abstinence from drug use. There is no room for moderation or slip-ups during detox. If a person in a detox uses even a small amount of their preferred substance, the detox clock starts right back at the beginning.
Second, all detoxes will include dealing with withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is often regarded as an unpleasant stage of treatment. It is, after all, typically accompanied by a number of uncomfortable side effects. These withdrawal symptoms are now closely associated with detox.
Third, all drug detoxes are temporary. They won’t last forever, and they are often shorter than patients expect. Once they are over, the road to meaningful recovery can begin.
Finally, all detoxes can be made more comfortable. There is no need to suffer through a drug detox at home and alone. In a detox facility, medical professionals offer a range of resources to increase comfort and safety. Taking advantage of these resources is crucial to health and happiness.
Opioids are narcotic drugs derived from the opium poppy plant. Opiates can and do have legitimate medical benefits, but they are still addictive. Some users take opioids recreationally, further increasing the chance of developing a dependence. In order to break free from an opioid addiction, detox is necessary.
Opiates can include street drugs like heroin or fentanyl. Prescription opiates are often painkillers, and they can include medications such as Oxycontin or Lortab.
An opiate detox is largely considered to be the most painful detox process. While it isn’t the longest, it does come with some unpleasant and potentially risky side effects. That’s why no patients should ever detox from opioid drugs without medical help.
Gastrointestinal problems are some of the most common for an opioid detox. That’s because opiates cause severe constipation. Stopping consumption may mean diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramping.
During an opioid detox, it is also common to experience sweating, body aches and muscle spasms. Achieving restful sleep might be a challenge. Many patients also feel depressed or anxious, particularly if these were issues prior to the drug use.
An opioid detox typically follows a standard timeline. Symptoms may begin to appear within 12 hours of the last dose of opiates. Then, they peak anywhere from 48 to 72 hours into the detox. From then on, symptoms taper off, with the end of withdrawal around six days after the start.
Cocaine is a stimulant that changes the way the brain recognizes and processes dopamine. Whether users snort cocaine or smoke crack cocaine, the symptoms and the process of withdrawal will be similar. The only way to fight back against a cocaine addiction is to complete a detox.
The timeline for a cocaine detox is unique. Since cocaine has such a short half-life, many users take cocaine at frequent intervals throughout the day. As a result, the first symptoms of withdrawal can kick in as little as 90 minutes after the last dose.
A cocaine detox tends to last for a little over one week. Most patients are completely finished with withdrawal within 10 days. There is not always a noticeable peak for a cocaine detox, although the last day or two will be less uncomfortable.
Unlike many other types of drug detoxes, a cocaine detox is largely psychological. Some of the few physical symptoms of withdrawal include muscle twitching, frequent nosebleeds, and a stuffy or a runny nose.
The psychological, mental and emotional symptoms of a cocaine detox may be more pronounced. Some of the most common of these symptoms typically include fatigue, the inability to concentrate, vivid nightmares, restlessness and strong cravings.
Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are a class of drug that causes sedative effects. They are sometimes called downers because they essentially depress many of the systems and functions of the body. These drugs are used primarily to treat conditions like anxiety and seizures. Whether used medically or recreationally, they can lead to addiction.
A benzodiazepine detox can be one of the longest drug detoxes. The exact length of the process depends on the type of benzodiazepine used and the individual history of each patient. It is normal, however, for a typical benzodiazepine detox to last for several weeks. Symptoms begin about a day after the last dose, peak around two weeks and then taper off slowly.
Some of the most common physical symptoms of a benzodiazepine detox are muscle spasms, nausea, seizures and blurred vision. Psychologically, symptoms may include panic, anxiety, insomnia, clouded thinking and short-term memory loss.
Detox varies depending on the drug. While all drug detoxes have similar objectives, the timeline, treatment, and symptoms can all be different.