If you have been struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction for a long time, the chances are your body has become dependent on this substance and you are likely to suffer withdrawal symptoms should you stop taking it.
It is important to realise that even if you are ready to quit drugs or alcohol and want to live a clean and sober life, it can be dangerous to suddenly stop taking these chemical substances without medical supervision. However, before you can begin a programme of rehabilitation, you will need to be free from drugs and alcohol; therefore, a programme of detoxification is necessary. Starting with detox, you will achieve your desired addiction-free life faster and without as much health trauma as you would wihtout this step.
What Is Detox?
Detox is the process of getting rid of drugs or alcohol from the body. It is not as easy as simply quitting because these substances will still be in the body after you stop drinking or taking drugs. You also need to remember that, because your body has been relying on these substances for so long, it will come to expect them and, if you stop taking them, it may have to fight to get back to normal. This can result in you experiencing a number of unpleasant side effects, some of which can be very dangerous.
How Alcohol and Drugs Affect the Body
Because alcohol and drugs affect almost every part of the body, it can be very difficult to withdraw from them. When you began drinking or taking drugs, your body tried to resist the effects of these substances by either speeding up or slowing down. When the effects of the drug or alcohol wore off, the body again overcompensated by speeding up or slowing down as it tried to get back to normal.
This started a cycle where you would take more drugs or alcohol to counter the effects caused by the body attempting to normalise itself. As this continued, you probably began taking more and more of the substance to produce the desired effects because the body continued to resist. This was when you became tolerant to the effects of the drugs or alcohol.
Before long, your body began to crave the drugs or alcohol, and you had no control over the urge to take it. You probably began seeking it out and taking it regardless of the consequences.
Detoxing from Drugs and Alcohol
Once you stop taking drugs or alcohol, your body will once again try to get back to normal. As it realises that the usual dose of drugs or alcohol is not coming, it will struggle to address the balance, which results in a variety of withdrawal symptoms that can include sweating, tremors, hallucinations, and mood swings.
In most cases, the symptoms may feel unpleasant, but they will not be a cause for concern. These withdrawal symptoms will usually last only a few days as the body and brain begin to heal themselves. You will no doubt feel miserable during this time, but remember that the reason you are experiencing these symptoms is because your body is healing itself.
Some people will experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, which can include seizures or convulsions. These are very rarely life-threatening and can be managed under the supervision of a medical professional.
Nevertheless, some will experience delirium tremens (DTs), which can be very dangerous if left untreated. The DTs are a series of sudden changes to the mental and nervous system that can lead to severe dehydration, heart irregularities, and shock. Those who suffer from the DTs may experience extreme paranoia and can become violent or aggressive.
For that reason, it is always advisable to carry out a programme of detox under the care and supervision of another person. As it is impossible to predict who will experience the DTs, detoxing in a medically supervised facility is a good idea for most drug addicts and alcoholics.