Safe Drug and Alcohol Detox Is Essential to Long Term Addiction Recovery
One of the foundational aspects of drug and alcohol addiction treatment is the initial phase of the program, known as detox. Unfortunately, many people hoping to overcome the disease of addiction find that the physical and mental undertaking of detox is too much to get through successfully and they succumb to relapse instead.
The pain and suffering in coming clean from chemical dependency may seem more intense than the devastation of ongoing drug or alcohol use. Continuum Recovery Center knows that while the detox process may not be easy, it can be accomplished in a shorter amount of time with less side effects and discomfort. As with any life challenge, in order to get past it you have to go through it to survive and experience triumph. It’s what we do here every day.
What Is Detox?
If you are searching for a reliable alcohol or drug detox program for yourself or someone you care about, there are many thoughts that run across your mind. If you haven’t been through the process before, it’s even more difficult to know what to ask.
Detoxification or detox happens when the body and the brain work to reestablish internal balance. In fact, this is how humans are naturally wired. However, when a person uses alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription medications over time, body balance is altered. As chemical dependency takes hold, the ability to achieve internal balance is compromised and essentially, turned off. The ongoing need to fill a void through a habitual fix is the new norm, with detrimental consequences.
Once a person decides to remove the drug or alcohol dependency, the first part is to stop the intake of the drug of choice. This will be a shock to the system, instigating a series of body and brain reactions.
Detox is the process of eliminating the drug dependency, allowing the body and the brain to heal at the cellular level to restore balance and overall well-being. Ultimately, detox is the pathway towards reengaging a person’s natural processes to feel good, without the use of alcohol or drugs.
How Does Detox Affect the Process of Addiction Recovery?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse refers to detox as the process needed to achieve physical stabilization after drug or alcohol use ceases. To reach this stabilization and depending on the drug(s) used, withdrawal symptoms and cravings will have to be faced, creating discomfort—often the precursor to relapse.
Whenever possible, we recommend medically-supervised detox so that patients receive attentive, round the clock, compassion care from licensed practitioners who understand the variables involved in detox and how to address associated risks and potential dangers that can arise.
Patients are carefully monitored for changes in vital signs, and how they respond to the ebb and flow of detox. Medical assessments are made that will help generate an action plan for a long term strategy towards successful addiction recovery.
Time Needed for Drug Detox
Perhaps the most important, comprehensive part of addiction treatment is in surpassing the challenges of detox. It is then that a person can better focus on the emotional and behavioral aspects of their drug or alcohol addiction, uncover the root cause and triggers of use, and identify the life changes needed to support a lifetime of sobriety.
The faster a patient can move through detox, the sooner they can start the recovery process. Although, drug dependency affects each person differently and as such, the time needed for detox will vary. The body and the brain are affected differently from alcohol, compared to heroin, prescription pain pills, cocaine, or methamphetamines, for example.
Other factors that will affect the length of time needed for detox include the duration and frequency of use, as well as a patient’s current state of mental, emotional and physical health. The typical timeframe for detox is three to seven days to reach a desired level of stabilization.
What to Expect During Medically Supervised Detox
People going through detox experience many different emotions as they are stripped clean of dependencies in dealing with their pain. Fear and apprehension can weigh heavy during these days and knowing that a skilled nurse is available 24-hours a day goes a long way to ease the unpleasantness of this part of the program. Many patients may also need to gently taper off chemical dependency, done through medication-assisted treatment or MAT. This allows for a more tiered titration of drug removal that can lessen the intensity of side effects, making detox more manageable while lessening the risk of relapse.
Once a patient is able to focus on the recovery road ahead, cognitive behavioral therapy and holistic practices begin, as soon as tolerable, during detox.
Managing Withdrawal Symptoms
Cravings for drugs or alcohol during detox are to be expected. How we effectively manage these instances will differ from person to person and the substances that are being cleared. Correspondingly, specific withdrawal symptoms will also vary.
Physical side effects and common signs of drug withdrawal are:
Muscle aches or cramping
Joint and/or bone pain
Vomiting or nausea
Sweating (feeling hot or cold)
Emotional and behavioral symptoms of drug withdrawal can include:
Changes in sleep patterns, insomnia
Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
Violence against others
The signs and symptoms noted above are not indicative of every detox experience as this is an overview that includes characteristics that are in part associated with drug or alcohol detox.
Combining mindfulness practices with counseling sessions helps quiet the mind while adjusting to a new way of being during detox. In addition, research and science lead the way in new forms of addressing withdrawal symptoms.
Using The Bridge Device During Detox
Continuum Recovery Center in Phoenix also offers The Bridge Device, an FDA-approved neurology apparatus that discreetly fits behind the ear. It is the first non-implantable and non-pharmaceutical medical device that can provide patients relief from withdrawal symptoms and pain associated with detox from opioids (heroin, suboxone, methadone, and oxycontin).
Long term recovery is more achievable when you or your loved one is involved in a drug treatment program that is custom designed to meet his or her personal needs in every moment of the process.
For many, utilizing the latest mental and physical practices that help provide optimal health is the wisest approach. Continuum Recovery Center not only supports these methodologies during drug and alcohol detox, but we ensure they are duplicated and sustained throughout our treatment programs and lifelong addiction recovery. Our primary, extended, and intensive outpatient treatment options bring the best practitioners and protocols to light for the benefits of our patients. The result is sobriety as a learned and balanced approach. It is readily achieved and willfully experienced through day-to-day life skills, effectively utilized at work, at home, and at play.