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Published On: March 23, 2017|Categories: Treatment|

Overcoming substance use is no walk in the park. You’ll have to battle days or weeks of physical withdrawal symptoms, cravings and triggers, plus the emotional roller coaster of the detox process. Detox may be one of the most challenging feats of your life— why endure it, then?

Why detox?

If you’re at the point in a substance abuse situation where you’re ready to start looking at detox, you know why it’s worth it. You’re desperate to break free from the chains of an addiction. While drinking or drug use may have started as a casual habit, over time you become a slave to the habit, sacrificing everything you care about to get that next fix.

A substance use disorder or an addiction forces you to compromise what matters most in life. If you’re sick of struggling to maintain employment, unnecessary life stress and damaged relationships, it’s time to start walking the path toward recovery.

For most individuals, detox (or detoxification) is the first step in the process of overcoming an addiction. This article will serve as an overview of detox and all it entails.

What is detox for addiction?

What is detox and why is it important? Detox is the process that occurs in the first hours, days or weeks following a person’s last use of drugs or alcohol. A person who has used substances for some time will have developed a dependency. This means that the body has acclimated to the presence of toxins in a person’s system and is functioning with the expectation that the supply of a specific substance will be replenished regularly.

When this doesn’t happen, a person’s system is shocked. The body then simultaneously is dealing with the cravings that come from withdrawal, and attempting to expel toxins from the body for good. There are many physical and mental side effects of detox.

Answering “what is addiction detox” includes a wide range of possible services and programs. Traditionally, detox referred to medical detox, where symptoms would be managed by healthcare providers. In some settings, detox can mean participation in a sober living home or long-term rehabilitation facility.

For the purposes of this article, detox will signify the programs that include both medical supervision and preliminary mental health treatment. Most detox centers provide both.

A detox overview

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, detox itself does not constitute a full continuum of treatment. Detox is the first stage in long-term recovery. Detox can be broken down into three stages.

  • Evaluation

Detox centers are responsible for providing not only quality care, but accurate care. An evaluation ensures that patients are receiving the most appropriate level of care for their needs. For example, if a person is in critical condition, a speedy evaluation would determine that the person’s needs are better met in a hospital setting.

You can expect an evaluation during the detox process to include questions about the substance(s) used, the length of the addiction, personal history, health history and demographic information. An evaluation is typically conducted one-on-one with a medical or mental health professional. This is also where you’ll discuss insurance and payment, as well as the individual facility’s rules and expectations.

  • Stabilization

This step will make up the bulk of your stay. Stabilization will get you through the worst symptoms of detox, and help you manage the feelings that accompany them. When you go through detox, you may experience several of the following side effects.

  • headaches;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • shaking, sweating;
  • muscle soreness or spasms;
  • mood changes;
  • sleep and appetite changes;
  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • cravings;
  • seizures;
  • delirium tremens.

Sometimes these withdrawal symptoms are so intense, that people turn back to substances to get relief. Staying in a detox center can help build a barrier between you and that temptation when you are at a breaking point.

Withdrawal for different substances produces different effects, according to Mayo Clinic. So while there are some common effects, your experience will be unique. That’s why personalized treatment is important to your success.

It’s important that you get over the hump of withdrawal to get a better shot at life-long success in sobriety. That’s why medication assisted treatment comes into play at this stage. Medication assisted treatment is the practice of using approved substances to minimize cravings and manage pain through detox.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, medication assisted treatment should always be combined with behavioral therapies in order to be effective.

  • Preparing for entrance into long-term treatment.

The third component of the detox process is preparation for what’s next. This may occur simultaneously with stabilization, but if your symptoms are severe, it will likely wait until they have subsided.

This preparation includes laying the foundation for new coping, emotional regulation and decision making skills. You’ll begin the journey of healing your mind as well as your body from substance use addiction. You’ll also get connected to the services you’ll utilize next. Generally, detox is followed by a stay in a sober living home, inpatient or outpatient services.

What are the benefits of detox?

Experiencing what detox for addiction is first hand will prove to be challenging, but well worth it. There are countless benefits to living a life free from dependency on substances. Completing treatment and maintaining recovery offers the following benefits.

  • increased energy;
  • self-confidence;
  • more satisfying personal relationships;
  • increased feelings of well-being;
  • financial freedom;
  • decreased stress, anxiety and depression;
  • fewer health problems related to substance abuse;
  • decreased criminal activity;
  • more stable employment.

Although detox plays a key role in the treatment process, it’s important to remember that it’s only the first step on the path to recovery. Detox needs to be followed by rehabilitation—the phase of addiction treatment that more fully addresses the psychological component of addiction.

If you’re ready to experience all the benefit of detox and recovery, get connected with Rehab After Work today. Contact us today.

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