Those who find themselves struggling with addictions to drugs often fear the detox process so much that they will delay reaching out for treatment. These individuals are afraid of what detox will mean for them and worry that they will be unable to make it through. It is understandable to have these feelings, especially if you have seen negative portrayals of people detoxing from drugs in movies or TV shows. However, a detox does not have to be a painful experience. There are many excellent detox clinics throughout the UK where staff have the experience and knowledge to make the detox much more comfortable and safer. If you are still concerned about what to expect and are pondering questions such as ‘what is the detox process’, this article should help to put your mind at ease.
Who Needs a Drug Detox?
Before discussing what the detox process is, it is a good idea to first consider who might need one. There are many people affected by drug addiction who do not even realise how serious their situation is. Some of these individuals are struggling with a dependence on illegal substances such as crack cocaine, heroin, or ecstasy. Others have become addicted to medication prescribed by a doctor for a legitimate medical condition.
It is often hard for those with an addiction to accept their situation. Many are reluctant to admit to having a problem because it means having to face up to it and giving up the substance that they have come to rely upon. Others genuinely cannot see that they are in trouble and are convinced that the drug they are taking is the only thing that is good in their lives.
There is also a huge amount of shame and stigma attached to addiction and many people do not want to accept they may have an addiction because they are ashamed or embarrassed about it. They fear that they will be judged by others and that their illness might affect their relationships with others. What these people fail to see, however, is that by doing nothing, their situation will inevitably get worse and they will undoubtedly get to the stage where everyone will know there is a problem because they can no longer hide it.
Accepting a diagnosis of addict is very tough, but it must be done before a detox can take place. Think about your drug use and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you regularly taking illegal drugs?
- Are you taking prescription medication that was prescribed for another person or are you taking more of your own medication than advised to by your doctor?
- Have you visited more than one doctor to get another prescription or have you asked your doctor to up your dosage because you no longer get the same relief from your medication?
- Do you take risks while under the influence of drugs?
- Do you try to hide your drug use from loved ones?
- Do you feel guilty about your drug use?
- Do you need more drugs or medication to achieve the feelings you desire?
- Do you tell yourself you can stop taking drugs or medication anytime you want but continue taking them?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting or shaking when you have not been taking your medication or drugs?
- Do you get irritable when coming to the end of your prescription or if you do not have any illegal drugs?
If you have answered yes to the above questions, it is likely that you would benefit from professional help. It is important to consider the possibility that you may have an addiction as this is the only way you will be able to move on and get the help you need to get your life back on track.
If you do have an addiction, remember that you have nothing to be ashamed of. Addiction is an illness and is not something that has happened because you are weak or have no willpower.
Should You Detox at Home?
If you have come to the realisation that you are in need of a detox, you may now be wondering what your options are. Many people believe that detoxing at home is a good idea because they can then do it in private; if they are unwell, nobody need see them struggling. Nevertheless, detoxing from drugs can be a complicated process and it is vital that individuals are monitored at all times as there is a risk of complications.
If you are considering a detox at home, you will need a helper with you at all times. This will usually mean that more than one person will have to agree to supervise as a detox takes between one and two weeks to be complete. Your helpers will need to monitor you even when you are sleeping, so will probably need to take turns coming to sit with you.
There are a few things to consider before deciding on a home detox. For most, it is a better idea to detox in a dedicated facility where there will be fully trained and experienced staff and specialised equipment to deal with the detox process. In the event of an emergency, you can rest assured that staff will know what to do and will have the experience to act quickly and efficiently to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient. It must also be noted that in a dedicated facility, staff are usually able to prevent the most severe symptoms with medication or nutritional supplements.
A home detox is inadvisable for those who have already suffered certain withdrawal symptoms when in need of drugs or medication, such as extreme tremors, nervousness, or hallucinations. Those with underlying medical conditions like liver disease, hepatitis C, heart problems or diabetes should also avoid a home detox, as should anyone who has previously been violent or aggressive while under the influence of drugs.
What to Expect from the Drug Detox Process
Before starting a process of drug detox, it is important to speak to a professional for advice. This may be a doctor or a counsellor who can advise of the best way to completed the process. It could be dangerous to suddenly stop taking the medication or drugs you have become dependent on, so seeking advice is essential.
The process of detoxification begins when you stop taking drugs or medication. It is a natural process that aims to rid the body of any remaining chemicals or toxins. During this process, you can expect to experience a range of physical and mental withdrawal symptoms as your body tries to get back to normal after an extended period of substance abuse.
The way in which the detox progresses will be different for each person and will depend on a number of factors including the type of drug that the person was abusing, the length of time he or she was abusing this drug, and how heavily. Other factors will include the person’s age and whether he or she has any underlying medical conditions.
Most detox programmes last for between seven and ten days and during this time it is normal for various withdrawal symptoms to occur as the body attempts to heal itself. While a detox does not have to be painful, it is usually unpleasant and the patient may feel unwell. The following are some of the symptoms that you may experience during a drug detox:
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach cramps
- Intense cravings
- Muscle twitches/cramps
- Paranoid delusions
This list is not extensive and some individuals will only ever experience one or two of the mentioned symptoms. However, there is just no way to know what symptoms a person will experience or how severe these will be before the detox takes place. It is for this reason that most experts agree that a supervised detox in a dedicated facility is the safest place for addicts who want to quit drugs.
Those who are quitting drugs may experience strong cravings for the drug as the detox progresses. It is common for those who are trying to quit at home to return to drug use as these individuals have learned in the past that taking drugs can help to ease any symptoms they may have had. However, in a dedicated facility, these symptoms can be eased with appropriate medication administered by a medical professional. This can help the individual to overcome these cravings and get to the end of the detox without a return to drugs.
If you would like more information about drug detox programmes, please contact us here at Recovery Lighthouse Clinic today. Our clinic is staffed by a team of fully trained professionals who work tirelessly to ensure that all patients can overcome their addictions.
In addition to our detox programmes, we offer excellent rehabilitation programmes where the psychological issues relating to the illness can be treated with various methods such as individual counselling, group therapy, and 12-step work.
For more information on our addiction recovery programmes, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. We are here to help those dealing with addiction issues and concerned family members who would like advice and information on what steps they can take to encourage an addicted loved one to accept treatment. Our advisors are professional and helpful and are ready to take your call now.