The first step on the road to addiction recovery includes a drug detox. Defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as “cleansing the body of any harmful toxins found in drugs,” detox clears and flushes substances from the body.
When you or a loved one develops an addiction to drugs, you or they become physically dependent. Upon suddenly quitting, withdrawal symptoms may arise. These symptoms can often be uncomfortable, but they can easily be managed with the right knowledge and help.
Detoxing in the comfort of your own home may seem like a suitable option, but going cold turkey or attempting to detox alone can be extremely difficult to handle.
In this blog, we explore how to detox your body from drugs in different settings and encourage you to make an informed decision about the right drug detox for you.
Addiction Treatment Options
Detox is the first step in addiction recovery. When you decide to seek treatment, you will have to choose how to detox your body from drugs. Many influential factors can contribute to this decision, such as your financial resources, your issues with substance use, and your commitment to recovery.
Depending on your unique situation, there are several treatment options available.
Medically Supervised Detox
Medical detox is the safest detox option, especially if your drug addiction is severe. Under medical supervision, withdrawal symptoms are easier to manage, and immediate treatment is available if medical emergencies arise.
In a drug treatment center, such as our own, you will have around-the-clock support and care in all areas. If necessary, you may also be given Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications, such as naltrexone, which can help you cope with withdrawal symptoms by blocking the brain’s opioid receptors.
Although it may seem daunting to combat drug addiction with more drugs, withdrawal medications are administered in a medical setting via a tapered schedule to remove the risk of abuse. For example, if you have an opioid addiction, medication may be offered to reduce cravings and to assist in helping you sleep.
Many options are available for a medically supervised detox, such as an inpatient detox or an outpatient detox program. Inpatient programs typically focus on three areas:
- Safely helping the body to process the toxins
- Effectively managing withdrawal symptoms
- Support in ongoing treatment to aid with recovery
When you first seek help for substance abuse, you may be deemed low risk. As a result, outpatient detox treatment may be suitable for you. Although not as intense as an inpatient program, outpatient treatments still involve regular trips to a treatment center where an ongoing assessment of your recovery will occur. You will additionally receive support and encouragement, and medication may be provided.
For some, a medically supervised detox may not be suitable. In this instance, a natural process can be undertaken with the support of medical and mental health professionals in what is known as a social detox. If a social detox is in your best interest, you will have consistent support before, during, and after treatment in a structured residential environment, irrespective of whether you have opted for inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Additional treatment is recommended after your drug detox. In treatment centers, you will receive support for influencing factors that may have contributed to your addiction, such as psychological and emotional support.
Although you may not think this is necessary, the best outcomes are achieved through a combination of support groups, behavioral therapy, and community support.
Detoxing at home may seem like a better option for you. After all, it’s cheaper, you’re in the comfort and privacy of your own home, and it’s on your terms. Detoxing from certain drugs at home can be a viable option, but only if your drug abuse is minimal and you are detoxing from low doses.
A natural detox process involves the removal of toxins without any medical supervision. At-home detox is typically a natural process whereby the body removes any harmful toxins. Having said this, there are a number of alternative options for a natural detox, such as massage, acupuncture, and herbal remedies.
However, quitting cold turkey without any support can be challenging, especially as drug cravings can be intense and withdrawal symptoms are difficult to manage. As professional support and supervision have been found to prevent relapse, completing a detox program via an inpatient center is usually recommended.
In the case of alcohol abuse or substance abuse treatment, detox from alcohol involves clearing the body of any toxins so it can naturally metabolize what is left.
If you have been drinking excessively, entering a detox program is best as there is a risk of suffering from life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, which can be very difficult to manage at home.
Medical detox will teach you how to handle any potentially painful withdrawal symptoms and assist you in the most challenging stages.
Typical symptoms you may experience when going through alcohol detox and withdrawal include:
- Memory and focus issues
- Increased heart rate
- Shaking and tremors
Drug use induces very similar withdrawal symptoms. When detoxing from opiates, you may additionally experience:
- Unpleasant dreams
Though the thought of attending rehab can be daunting, medical detox programs are available to ensure you are comfortable throughout the initial stages of your recovery.
Length of Detox
When considering a drug detox, you will probably find yourself wondering how long the process takes. If you have a severe addiction and take drugs regularly, it may take weeks or months for you to get through the detoxification process.
We are all different. Because of this, no two experiences with drugs or detox are the same. The length of time that a drug stays in your system depends on:
- The drug taken
- How often and how much of the drug was taken
- Presence of co-occurring mental health illnesses
- Medical history
- Your age and gender
The way drugs are taken will also influence the length of detox. For example, if a drug has been swallowed and has to pass through the stomach, it will take longer to digest and will stay in your system longer than a drug that may have been injected, snorted, or smoked.
Although detox can seem long, it is important to be patient and allow the body to push out these toxins naturally. Once these toxins have left your body, you will still need to deal with cravings or withdrawal symptoms which may last for longer.
Detox is only the first stage of the recovery process. Upon completing detox, therapy or other additional treatments should follow to help you address the psychological, social, and behavioral issues of addiction.
Finding Help for Substance Abuse
Entering a detox program is the first and most crucial step of recovery. At NPAC, our admissions line is open, and our specialists are on standby, ready to discuss treatment options with you.
We understand that this can be a difficult decision to make. Likewise, we know that detox can be challenging. But we are here to support you every step of the way.
If you would like to learn more about available addiction treatment options, contact us today. Whether you are ready to detox your body from drugs through medical detox or want to pursue substance addiction treatment, we are here to help you.