Drug addiction is a common problem and, despite what most people believe, it is not just those who abuse illegal substances who can be affected by addiction. The reality is that any mood-altering substance can cause addiction, so even those using medication prescribed for a legitimate medical condition could find themselves struggling with a crippling drug addiction and in need of drug detox.
Another common misconception is that drug addiction is a lifestyle choice or the consequence of bad behaviour or poor decision making when this is not the case. The truth is that addiction is an illness of the brain and those affected often become so without even realising. It is an illness that can affect anyone, no matter how old they are, how much money they have, or where they come from. In fact, the only thing that all drug addicts have in common is a need for help to get their lives back on track. This help usually comes in the form of drug detox followed by a programme of rehabilitation.
But how drug detox works is something that many individuals with an addiction wonder about. Some fear this process so much that even though they are fully aware of their need for professional help, they are reluctant to reach out. These individuals are scared that detox will be too painful and that they will be unable to make it through the process.
What to Expect from Drug Detox?
Drug detox is necessary if you have a physical addiction to any type of mood-altering drug. This includes illegal substances and prescription medication. The process of detoxification is a natural one that is employed by the body when you stop taking drugs.
It is the body’s way of healing itself, but as it does so you are likely to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be mild to severe in intensity; those who experience severe symptoms often struggle to stay sober, particularly if they are trying to detox alone.
It is therefore highly recommended to withdraw from drugs under careful supervision. In fact, detoxing from drugs alone is never advisable as there is a risk of complications from severe symptoms; it is impossible to tell in advance what type of symptoms one might experience during the process.
How drug detox progresses will depend on several factors and the experience is different for each affected person. The type of drug being abused, how long it was being used for, and how often it was being used all contribute to how the detox progresses.
You are far more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms if you have been abusing a drug for a long time than if you realised quite early that you were struggling to control your use of a particular substance. Your age and health can also play a role; if you have underlying health issues or a history of mental health problems, your detox might be more severe.
How Is Drug Detox Managed?
Detoxing at home can be a struggle and you will need to ensure that you are fully supervised at all times. As most drug detoxes last for between one and two weeks, it will probably mean having more than one person in attendance. It is necessary for whoever is supervising the detox to stay awake at all times, even when you are sleeping.
It is preferable to detox in a dedicated detox clinic where a team of fully trained individuals will take care of you around the clock. In a supervised facility, your safety and comfort will be assured.
Staff will have experience and knowledge of how to manage all types of detox and will be able to provide appropriate pharmacological and psychological interventions if necessary. Doctors can prescribe medication to make you more comfortable or to prevent various symptoms from occurring. This can help to make the process much easier.
You may also find that staff members can teach you other ways of managing your symptoms, such as using meditation and mindfulness. These therapies are a fantastic way to help you relax and can help to reduce stress levels and symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are commonly associated with drug detox.
Do You Need More Treatment after Detox?
A fear of detox can often prevent people from getting help, but once they know more about how drug detox works, they are usually prepared to try it. Nevertheless, one thing that many are unaware of is that detox is not the same as treatment.
While a drug detox is a necessary part of the recovery process, it is only the beginning in terms of overcoming a drug addiction. Both the physical and the psychological addictions must be treated, but detox will only address the physical. You will also need to tackle the emotional issues associated with the addiction; for this, a programme of rehabilitation is needed.
Many individuals believe that once they have quit drugs and have remained clean for a period of around two weeks, they are completely cured and that they do not require more treatment. This is never the case. What you need to remember is that there is no cure for addiction. It is an illness that can be effectively treated and managed but cannot be cured.
To have any chance of a full and permanent recovery, you will need to work hard on staying sober, which means learning how to live a substance-free life. For this, you will need rehab. Programmes of rehabilitation are designed to help you get to the root cause of the illness. Dealing with these underlying emotional or psychological issues will prevent them from causing a return of the addictive behaviour in the future.
You will also learn various ways of coping with your triggers and cues to help prevent a relapse. Without treatment, you will have a much higher risk of returning to your addictive behaviour at a later date.
Why Detox and Rehab Are Necessary?
You may be hoping that your addiction will resolve itself and that you can avoid a detox and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, addiction tends to get worse instead of better. Without treatment, your current situation may very well deteriorate.
If you continue to abuse a mood-altering chemical, it is likely to have a profound effect on both your mental and physical health. Moreover, because your body and brain will be continually adapting to the drugs you are taking, you may find that your need for them grows. As you develop a tolerance, you will get less and less relief from the drugs you are taking, meaning that you may start to increase the amount you take.
This cycle is likely to continue and the more drugs you are taking, the more of an impact it will have on your health and overall wellbeing. You may find that you spend increasingly more of your time under the influence of drugs, which will undoubtedly have an effect on your ability to live a normal life. Your relationships with your family members and friends will be negatively affected as your behaviour changes, and you have less interest in spending time with them.
Without treatment, you could be in danger of developing serious health problems, and you may find that some of your relationships are pushed to breaking point. It is therefore important to seek help as soon as possible.
If you would like information on how drug detox works or on how to access a treatment programme, please get in touch with us today. Recovery Lighthouse is a private clinic helping people overcome all types of addiction. To find out more about what we do, please do not hesitate to call us right now and talk to one of our friendly advisors.