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Drug or alcohol detox

What Is Detoxification?

Detoxification is the process of removing toxins from the body before starting addiction treatment. Medical professionals monitor patients during drug detox and alcohol detox while they remove the addictive substances from their body. Stopping the use of addictive substances is physically demanding and potentially dangerous. Depending on the addictive substance, withdrawal symptoms can be severe and can even lead to serious health consequences.

Can I Detox at Home?

People who decide to try detox on their own usually approach it in one of two ways. They either stop using the substance all at once or they continue using the substance and taper off gradually over time.

Those trying alcohol detox at home might try to avoid the triggers that make them drink. Instead of engaging in these activities, they might immerse themselves in other activities they enjoy. For most such patients, the first signs of alcohol withdrawal will appear within six to twelve hours after their last drink. Withdrawal symptoms are often severe, especially for people who have consumed large quantities of alcohol, or who have been drinking for a long time.

People often think alcohol detox at home isn’t as dangerous as a drug detox. But there are serious, even life-threatening, risks involved with each. Also, people with either type of addiction may also have other conditions such as depression or behavioral disorders. Medical supervision ensures you or your loved one gets the medical and psychological support they need for a safe and effective detox experience.

What Is the Detoxification Process?

  1. Evaluation – Detoxification is the first step in a drug addiction program. The experts at the recovery center consider the person’s medical and mental history, their substance(s) of choice, and their history of substance misuse and abuse. They will use a wide range of information to create a detox plan that works best for the individual.
  2. Stabilization – The person reaches stabilization once the body has removed all of the abusive substance from their body. The toxins are removed via the body’s natural flushing system.
  3. Preparations for Treatment – Drug detox isn’t a necessity with all types of drugs. Addiction to drugs that cause minimal withdrawal symptoms doesn't usually interfere with treatment. But those that cause serious withdrawal symptoms, such as opium, morphine, benzos, and alcohol, must be flushed from the body before treatment can be considered successful. Otherwise, the person is more likely to give in to their cravings as a means of alleviating their pain and discomfort.  

Side Effects of Detoxing

The side effects of detox vary according to the addictive substance. Stopping any drug or alcohol suddenly can lead to symptoms of anxiety, physical pain, and intense cravings. Alcohol detox, or drug detox from an addiction to benzodiazepines, can result in more extreme side-effects including hallucinations, seizures, and even death.

You can also expect some common symptoms of withdrawal during medically-supervised detox, including:

  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Fatigue
  • Decrease or Increase in Appetite
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Shakiness
  • Seizures

Going through detox in a medically-assisted recovery center provides you with options to make your experience more comfortable and safer. You might even benefit from medication-assisted treatment (MAT) during your drug detox for opioids. If you have questions about our detox or treatment services for you or a loved one, contact Clean & Sober Recovery Services.


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