Drug detox is a vital part of the addiction recovery process. Detox for drugs centers around providing a safe and natural way to purge your body of toxic substances and drugs. Medically assisted drug detox is a way of managing these symptoms in a safe and effective way. 

In 2019, 90% of detox services required medication services. As far as individual drug use goes, opioids, benzodiazepines, cocaine, alcohol, and meth comprised the majority of detox needs in 2019, which is around 86.4%. Detox is an essential part of the addiction recovery process. Substance abuse has continued to rise, especially in recent times. This is why it’s important to get proper help before it’s too late. 

One of the main aspects of drug detox programs is to effectively manage drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can be severe and deadly if drug detox is done alone. This is why it’s best to turn towards a trusted drug detox program near you. The main goal of a drug and alcohol detox is to deter any physical harm that may come about from quitting an addiction. 

What is Drug Detox?

Drug detox is a process of ridding the body of substances (particularly the drug a person is addicted to). As expected, this process can bring about unpleasant and intense withdrawal symptoms. When a person has been using drugs for a long time, quitting is extremely difficult because of these symptoms. Detox allows someone to stabilize their withdrawal symptoms effectively. 

Oftentimes, drug detox programs get confused with substance abuse treatment programs. However, these are two separate programs (both of which are vital to getting effective drug addiction treatment). Drug detox programs focus on the actual process of stabilizing the person and minimizing their withdrawal symptoms in the initial stages. It is only after this process that a person moves on to an actual substance abuse treatment program

What Are the Side Effects of Drug Detox?

drug detoxMore likely than not, those who detox from drugs will experience some form of withdrawal symptom. These symptoms can vary depending on the drug that the person is addicted to. They’re usually uncomfortable and take extra help and therapy to keep them under control. Some of the common side effects of drug detox include:

  • Depression, anxiety, agitation, or other mood swings
  • Cravings (for the drug they are trying to quit)
  • Physical symptoms such as nausea, headaches, shaking, etc. 

What Does the Drug Detox Process Look Like?

It’s important for drug detox programs to follow a set process to ensure safety and effectiveness. Since drug detox can bring about discomforting and sometimes dangerous symptoms, it’s best to be treated under medical supervision. There are three main steps to almost all drug and alcohol detox processes. 

  • Evaluation
  • Stabilization
  • Transition into Long-term Treatment

This process is followed closely with the help of medical professionals. 

1. Evaluation

The evaluation stage of drug detox focuses on examining a person’s psychological and physical condition. With this also comes a close look at their medical history. This is important in making sure the staff knows about a person’s conditions and possible complications. The first few evaluations focus on a person’s biomedical conditions, which helps determine the right level of treatment. After a person has been assessed, then you move onto the next stage of drug detox. 

2. Stabilization

The stabilization process follows the person’s set treatment plan and offers all the tools needed for a successful detox. Therapy and medication are two of the most commonly used methods when it comes to stabilizing a person. Withdrawals can be dangerous and intense in some cases, the stabilization process helps to alleviate these so a person can proceed with their treatment. 

3. Transition into Long-term Treatment 

After a person has been stabilized and detox has ended, a person will then enter a structured treatment program. While there are several different types of treatment, each is crucial in achieving long-term sobriety. Drug detox is not enough to ensure long-term recovery. Treatment involves a series of different therapy options and other tools to set someone up for success while avoiding relapse. During the detox process, a person works closely with the rehab to transition into short or long-term treatment. 

While these are the main steps to successful detox, goals and duration of treatment may differ from person to person. During these processes, certain medications are also used to help stabilize the person in a comfortable and safe environment. 

What are the Types of Detox?

Many people may not know that there are several different types of drug detox programs. There are actually five different detoxification placement levels, each with differing levels of care. These include:

  • Ambulatory Detox without Extended On-Site monitoring – Takes place under an outpatient program (best when a person has a solid system of support outside of treatment)
  • Ambulatory Detox with Extended On-Site monitoring – This follows the same level of outpatient detox treatment except with more medical supervision
  • Medically Monitored Inpatient Detox – Inpatient detox involves around-the-clock support and supervision.
  • Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient Detox – As the highest level of restrictive care, this involves 24/7 supervision, support in an inpatient setting.
  • Clinically Managed Residential Detox – Also known as ‘social detoxification’, this method of detox treatment focuses on social support with less emphasis on medical supervision. 

What is Tapering During Drug Detox?

Tapering is a method that helps ease a person off of medication (primarily used to alleviate withdrawal symptoms). During drug and alcohol detox, medical personnel slowly decrease a person’s doses, which are typically laid out in a schedule. Tapering helps the person’s body slowly transition and adjust to sobriety. This method is extremely useful in intense situations of drug addiction. 

The help of medical professionals is usually required for tapering to be successful and safe. During the process, they will use their best judgment to ensure proper tapering in the person. Tapering is used for medication used for opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol withdrawals.  

What Happens When You Quit Drugs Cold Turkey?

Quitting drug use “cold turkey” refers to stopping drug use of one or more drugs in an instant. When a person abruptly stops using, their body can end up experiencing severe symptoms of withdrawal. Stopping Alcohol use immediately can end up causing seizures, diarrhea, and other intense effects including death. These uncomfortable effects also ring true for opioid use as well. While quitting opioid use abruptly isn’t as fatal, a person will still feel the force of other withdrawal symptoms. 

This is why it is not recommended to quit drug use cold turkey. There are many drug detox programs that can ensure safe and effective detox. Since some of the symptoms of withdrawal may be deadly, it is crucial to have medical supervision during the process. As mentioned, there is a set process to drug detox, and detoxing alone can end up being fatal in some cases. 

Can You Detox at Home?

Many people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction tend to turn to drug detox programs for professional care. However, some people may be hesitant and decide to detox at home by themselves. Whether this is for financial or other reasons, this can end up costing a life. The physical and psychological effects may be too much to handle without the proper care and supervision. 

While not all cases are fatal, it can be extremely tough to handle some of the symptoms of withdrawal alone. More likely than not a person may end up relapsing and returning to drug use to ease their symptoms. Drug detox programs are important for making sure the process is done in a controlled and safe environment with the right tools and supervision. While detoxing at home may seem like a convenient option, it is not recommended. 

Which Drugs Have the Worst Side Effects?

The symptoms of withdrawal can be painful, stressful, and uncomfortable in almost all cases of detox. With this in mind, there are some that are much more uncomfortable than others. The drugs that are known to have intense symptoms include:

  • Alcohol
  • Benzos
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates 
  • Methamphetamines
  • Amphetamines

How Long Does the Detox Process Last? 

Most drug detox programs last around a week however this may vary. There are certain factors that may contribute to this time such as how long a person has been addicted, which drug was used, and how much of a drug they’ve been using. These factors may change how long the detox process takes. After detox, a person will continue onto more specific and structured forms of treatment. Depending on the type of treatment that comes after treatment, a person may be in recovery for a few days, weeks, or even months. 

What Medication is Used During Detox?

Medication can play a major role in the drug and alcohol detox process because it alleviates some of the intense withdrawal symptoms that may linger. Some of the most commonly used medications include:

  • Acamprosate
  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram

These medications are always used under medical and professional supervision. This is to ensure that a person is given the right amount of medication in a controlled and safe manner. 

What Happens After Detox?

drug detox programs

Detox itself is not enough to “cure” an addiction nor is it enough to help in the long term. What many don’t realize is that recovery is a life-long journey that requires patience and resilience. During treatment, a person is given the necessary tools to cope and avoid triggers. Additionally, substance abuse treatment focuses on different therapy options. 

In these sessions, a person will work with a trained therapist to understand why they began using drugs in the first place and how to avoid it in the future. While addiction is a physical situation, the mind plays a huge part in a person’s drug use. Understanding past and future behaviors can make a huge difference in staying sober and clean. 

Some common next steps after detox include the following:

  • Inpatient or residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Sober housing
  • Intensive outpatient
  • Support groups
  • Therapy (individual or group) 

Each of these methods varies in the level of care and frequency of visits. Inpatient treatment has a person staying in a safe and supportive rehab center for a period of time, while outpatient treatment only requires weekly visits. It’s best to consult with a professional to see which program may be best. 

Getting Substance Abuse Help

BRC Healthcare is ready to provide you the care you need. With a wide range of treatment options and detox facilities across the country, we’re ready to help you today. Addiction can ruin you and your loved one’s lives, don’t wait for things to get worse. Give us a call today to get started on your journey to a better life.