Home > The Complex Nature of Abused Substances and Getting Help for Addiction > Detoxification from Drugs and Alcohol
When a person decides they are ready to deal with their drug or alcohol addiction, the first hurdle they come to is detoxification, or detox. Drug detox is the first step a person takes toward getting healthy, and it can be difficult. In fact, fear of drug detox sometimes keeps people from entering rehab when they need to go.
Basically, drug detox is the withdrawal the body experiences after an addict stops using alcohol or drugs. More commonly, drug detox means the process a client goes through when they arrive in rehab. It is the process of monitoring and taking care of the client as the drugs or alcohol leave their body. Depending on the level of addiction and abuse, sometimes medication is used to help ease the symptoms.
Drug detox can take different lengths of time. Detox length depends on the type of drug, the level of the drug abuse, and on the individual client. Generally, drug detox takes from several days to two weeks. The client may experience withdrawal symptoms as early as a couple of hours after last using drugs or alcohol. Other symptoms may not show up for a day or two. It may take as little as a few days for the physical symptoms of drug withdrawal to end. Emotional symptoms of drug detox, such as cravings, etc., can last much longer, and can be more difficult to overcome.
Drug detox can have unpleasant side effects, which is why people sometimes put off going to rehab. If a person has fallen into poor health while abusing drugs or alcohol, the side effects of drug detox can be more pronounced. Alcohol and different drugs can have different side effects. Here are some of the most common:
Side effects of alcohol detox can include nausea, headache, sweating, diarrhea, insomnia, and anxiety, among others. In extreme cases, alcohol detox can cause death. Sometimes, drugs are used to lessen the effects of alcohol detox.
Contrary to what many people think, marijuana detox can have side effects. Often the side effects of marijuana withdrawal are emotional, not physical. Side effects of marijuana detox can range from appetite loss, depression, aggression, to paranoia.
Side effects can include depression, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, or even extremely realistic dreams. Meth detox side effects can last from a few days to several months, depending on the severity of the addiction. Because meth stimulates the feel good areas of the brain, meth detox can be very difficult to get through.
Some sufferers of cocaine detox can experience agitation, depression, lethargy, increased appetite, and bad dreams. In severe cases, some clients going through cocaine withdrawal may have suicidal thoughts. Side effects of cocaine detox begin almost immediately after a person stops using cocaine. The emotional side effects of cocaine detox can last for several months.
Side effects of crack cocaine detox are varied. There can be physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, the shakes, muscle pain, and fatigue. Psychological symptoms can range from anxiety and irritability to depression and drug craving. Side effects from crack detox can last months, due to the nature of crack use. Also, the physical toxins from crack use must be removed from the client’s system before true crack detox can begin to remove the emotional side effects.
Sometimes people become addicted to prescription drugs. Prescription drugs also can have side effects when a user goes through detox. Side effects of prescription drug detox are mainly physical. For example, a person may experience sore muscles and bones, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, and vomiting. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms of sedative detox can cause seizures. It is very important to speak to a doctor before detoxing from prescription drug use.
Detox from drugs is not something to be taken lightly. There are many drug detox options to consider. Sometimes, the side effects of drug and alcohol detox can cause severe reactions, up to and including death, for extreme addictions. For people with minor addictions, drug detox at home may be an option. However, most people benefit from an outpatient or inpatient treatment center and medical monitoring for detox. If drug detox is done at a drug and alcohol rehab center, there may be medication used to ease the client’s withdrawal symptoms. Other methods such as rapid detox may be used, but these are controversial. However the client chooses to go through drug detox, an appointment with a doctor is essential.
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