Whether a person is abusing illegal drugs or prescription painkillers, the results are the same. These substances overload the body with toxins and chemicals that create cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withheld. Unless the individual goes through a medically supervised detox, the chance of lasting recovery is unlikely. To better understand the importance of detox in lasting recovery, let’s take a look at what happens inside the body when drugs or alcohol are repeatedly abused. Also, we need to understand the detox process and how it affects a person’s ability to recover.
Effects of Drugs or Alcohol on the Body
Each drug presents a different set of adverse effects on a user’s body. Accordingly, each person reacts differently to these effects. So, what happens to the body when a person abuses drugs and becomes addicted?
According to NIDA, this is how the most commonly abused substances create addiction:
- Effect of Drugs on the Brain
Whether injected, smoked, eaten, or inhaled, the chemicals in a drug tap into the brain’s communication center. They interfere with how nerve cells process, send and receive information. The substances can imitate the brain’s natural messenger chemicals (dopamine), or they can overstimulate the reward area of the brain.
- How the Chemicals Cause a High
Most drugs affect the brain’s reward circuit which is responsible for feelings of pleasure or pain. The excess dopamine released during drug use creates intense excitement or happiness, otherwise known as a high or euphoria.
- Why People Want More of the Substance
After repeated use of a substance, the brain adapts to the surges of dopamine. In some cases, the brain stops producing normal amounts of dopamine. When this happens, the person begins to crave more of the drug because they can no longer feel pleasure without it. This compulsive drug use starts a vicious cycle that only gets worse with time.
Continued drug abuse will result in a toxic level of these chemicals in the body which cause a range of health problems. At this point, the best chance for overcoming the addiction is detoxification followed by a rehabilitation program.
Understanding the Importance of Detox
Recovery from addiction is a complex process that involves physical, mental, and spiritual aspects that must be addressed concurrently. The importance of detox in addiction treatment is high because detoxification is the way to treat the physical aspect of addiction. During detox, the patient is monitored 24/7 by medical professionals because depending on the drug involved, detox can be uncomfortable and may require medication to help alleviate the withdrawals.
Some of the mental and physical symptoms an addict experiences during detox can include:
- Mood swings
- Restlessness, insomnia
- Headaches, dizziness
- Rapid heart rate
- Muscle aches and pain
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Detox cleanses the body of all traces of the drugs to eliminate cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. Studies show that attempting sobriety without professional detox usually ends in relapse. Ultimately, repeated relapse can lead to overdose or death.
Remember, detox is not a “quick fix” for addiction. It is the first step in a comprehensive plan to help a person achieve lasting recovery. Once their body is free from the chemicals and the cravings have diminished, a person can think more clearly and can focus on healing the emotional and spiritual aspects of their addiction.
What to Expect in Detox
Unfortunately, many addicts have a distorted opinion about detox, and this can keep them from seeking treatment. To be sure, detox is not fun. But, it is the most crucial step in overcoming addiction.
Here are the facts you need to know:
- Patients must complete detox before they can receive proper treatment and counseling.
- Medical professionals should monitor the entire process.
- Duration of detox varies with each person, depending on the drug involved.
- Some patients don’t complete detox the first time they try.
- Millions of people complete detox, enter rehab and live sober, happy lives.
Depending on the extent of the addiction, patients can choose outpatient or inpatient detox programs. However, the inpatient programs are highly recommended in most cases. An inpatient facility provides a safe, drug-free environment where a patient can relax and focus on healing.
Learn More About Detox and Recovery Today
With the expertise of addiction specialists at Awakenings Rehabilitation, you can successfully overcome your addiction and move forward to claim the sober lifestyle you want and deserve. If you are ready to get started on your treatment program, contact us today and learn more about the importance of detox in addiction recovery.
Binge drinking is a popular form of socializing for millions of Americans. In fact, studies show that more than 25 percent of the adult population binge drinks at least once a month. The difference between binge drinkers and alcoholics is that a binge drinker tends to drink only on weekends or on special occasions, however, similar to alcoholics, these occasional drinkers often are unable to control how much they drink once they get started. This type of alcohol consumption can lead to the need for professional detox to help overcome the behavior. Read more to learn about the dangers of detoxing from alcohol without the expertise of trained specialists.
How the Body Reacts to Alcohol
When a regular or heavy drinker tries to get sober, their body experiences a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Because alcohol has put a strain on their heart, liver, kidneys, and brain, these withdrawals can be intense or even deadly. For this reason, it is not wise to attempt an alcohol detox without the help of medical professionals.
Detoxing from alcohol can be just as difficult as trying to abstain from powerful drugs. Many alcoholics experience similar symptoms to a person detoxing from drugs such as insomnia, irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings, violent behavior, memory problems, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and many other symptoms. Some severe alcoholics experience what is known as DTs or delirium tremens. These episodes include severe shaking, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and other life-threatening symptoms.
Detoxing from Alcohol the Healthy Way
A professional detox program provides some benefits that make alcohol withdrawal much safer and more comfortable than it would be under other circumstances.
Some of the advantages of professional detox include:
- A secure environment that eliminates access to alcohol
- A comfortable, relaxing atmosphere
- Nutritious meals
- Monitored by skilled professionals
- Fellowship with others who are experiencing the same thing
Although there are many other benefits of professional, inpatient detox, the important thing to remember is that it is the recommended method for withdrawing from alcohol addiction or abuse. The goal of detox is to rid the body of all traces of alcohol. This cleansing process eliminates cravings and prepares the person to enter a rehabilitation facility immediately. While in rehab, the individual will learn techniques for avoiding relapse plus he or she will gain the skills and confidence needed to function productively in their family, job, and community.
Each person has their particular reasons for using alcohol excessively. For that reason, a detox and rehab program needs to be flexible and diverse enough to allow for the various needs and preferences of each patient. A rigid program that forces each person to adhere to the same routine will not be effective in the long-term.
If you would like more information about safely detoxing from alcohol, please call our toll-free number today.
When is medical detox in addiction treatment necessary? The initial step of drug rehab treatment programs is drug detox. The purpose of drug detox is to rid your body of the traces of drugs in your system. In some cases, rehab patients may experience drug detox without the use of medications. A modern term for this method is ‘cold turkey.’ Under the supervision of medical professionals, patients are taken off the substances without using prescription drugs to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Another method is to use prescription medication to assist with drug detoxification. This process is referred to as medical detoxification. Depending on the substance and extent of abuse, patients may be placed in this type of detoxification program.
Using prescription drugs is not the best method for every person who has a substance abuse problem. However, some patients will find it necessary to enroll in medical detox in addiction treatment.
Reasons for Medical Detox in Addiction Treatment
If you have an addiction to alcohol, you may find it necessary to enroll in a medical drug detox program. Consuming large quantities of alcohol sedates your brain. As a result, your brain begins to compensate for this sedation by producing a substance that is similar to adrenaline. This action enables your brain to adjust to the sedation caused by alcohol.
When you enter rehab, the first step will be to detoxify your body from the effects of the alcohol. If you quit the alcohol cold turkey, your brain will respond by producing larger amounts of the adrenaline-like substance.
Your body will experience the following symptoms:
- Rapid heart rate
- Body tremors
- Stroke or Heart Attack
Using medications to detox from alcohol lessens the effects of withdrawal symptoms. Instead of shocking your body into withdrawal, your body will gradually go through the withdrawal process. This process is tricky because the person can become dependent on some of the maintenance drugs used that are designed to control cravings.
Depending on the extent and frequency of cocaine abuse, patients may greatly benefit from detox with medications. Going through withdrawal from cocaine can pose serious health threats. Patients who withdraw from cocaine experience depression, extreme fatigue, irritability, and apathy.
Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse
If you are addicted to a prescription drug like Oxycontin or heroin, medical professionals may suggest a medical prescription detox program to help you handle the symptoms of withdrawal. People who are addicted to these types of drugs may experience hot sweats, cold sweats, muscle and joint pain, vomiting, nausea, insomnia, flu-like symptoms, and diarrhea.
Medical detox in addiction treatment is recommended on a case by case basis. Some people in each of the categories of addiction may do well without it. There are other options available such as faith-based, Native American, self-help and many other programs.
Once you have selected a drug treatment center, medical professionals will develop a plan for your detoxification. They will review your addiction and medical history to determine the best type of detox for you.