Definition of Detoxification
One of the first steps to living a healthy, drug-free life begins with detoxification. At Silver Linings Recovery Center, we want to help educate you about the steps and types of therapies available. The detox process allows your body the time it needs to rid itself of the toxicity of drugs or alcohol. This may require the assistance of an outside program in order to be successful.
What Are the Types of Detoxification Programs?
The two types of detoxification programs involve either inpatient or outpatient care. Inpatient care requires residency in a clinic, hospital, or rehab center. Outpatient care involves outside care from a doctor or hospital or clinic but then allows you to live in your home while you work through the steps of the detox process.
The benefits of inpatient care include:
- One-on-one care in a facility
- 24-hour supervision and guidance
- Drug-free and alcohol-free living quarters
- Availability of medical staff in the event of a severe reaction to the detox process
The benefits of outpatient care include:
- Less costly than inpatient care
- Work and family routine may be maintained
- Good for mental health if you have a stable home with a support system in place there
How Long Does the Detox Process Take?
Every person is different as to the length of time it takes for their body to detoxify from drugs or alcohol. For some individuals, the process may only take days. For others, it may take months. One determining factor is the length of time that a person has been using drugs or alcohol. Another factor is the type of substance an individual has been using. The amount and frequency of substance use also have an impact on the length of time detox takes.
Some studies have shown the following timeline for these drugs:
- Heroin and prescription painkillers: an average of 5 days
- Benzodiazepines: weeks or sometimes months
- Cocaine: 7 to 10 days
- Alcohol: 3 days to several weeks
Other factors that affect the length of time it takes you to detox is a family history of substance dependence. Also, one’s genetic makeup and mental health can play a role in this. These are things that are taken into consideration when determining the best type of detoxification program for each individual.
There is truly no set length of time it may take for you or your loved one to manage the steps of detoxification and be able to say that you have reached the final goal. Detox is the first step to obtaining sobriety, and the beginning of many steps to maintaining it.
What Are The Steps In Detoxification?
For most people, the steps in detox occur in three stages. The first step is evaluation. The evaluation process includes an analysis of an individual’s mental and physical health. In order to determine the amount, and type, of substance that is in a person’s system, a blood test is also done.
The next step in the detox process is to stabilize the individual in recovery in order to minimize the risk of harm. This step may involve both medical and psychological therapy. At this point, treatment professionals may prescribe medications to help ease the side effects of withdrawal from drug or alcohol use.
The third step in detox works to determine and arrange the best treatment plan for the individual in recovery. An overview of the form of treatment, whether the suggested treatment plan will take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting, and discussion of expectations of the patient and the process of the detoxification take place. It is very common for specialists to recommend inpatient treatment simply because the success rate is much higher than it is for outpatient treatment.
The Medical Drug Detox Process
Detoxification can be managed in many cases with the aid of prescribed medications. These medications allow the process to occur in a more controlled way. The drug or alcohol that you or your loved one has become addicted to can have a stronghold on the body and mental well being. Medicines that mimic the addiction help relieve the effects of detoxification, and as the detoxification process moves along, the dosage prescribed by a doctor can be adjusted.
Various drugs can be prescribed, and all depend on the type of addiction that you are in treatment for. These are a few of the prescription drugs and their uses:
- Antidepressants assist in creating a feeling of well being and positivity. The drug that one is addicted to creates a false sense of these emotions, therefore an antidepressant can help to maintain that level of emotion.
- Benzodiazepines help to relieve the feelings of anxiousness and many mood swings.
- Clonidine reduces sweating, cramps, muscle aches, and anxiety. It can also stop tremors and seizures. Clonidine is prescribed as a treatment for both drug and alcohol detox.
- Methadone is used to help those suffering from opioid addiction. It works to suppress cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- Naltrexone is an injectable form of treatment for alcohol addiction. It reduces the urge to drink.
- Acamprosate helps to reduce the urge to drink and also assists in combating depression and anxiety.
- Disulfiram causes a person to have an adverse reaction should they drink alcohol while taking this prescribed medication. The side effects include nausea, vomiting, headache, and chest pain.
Other Types of Detox Processes
Detoxification can take place by undergoing a process known as tapering. This process can take a longer time to have solid results, but there is a higher rate of failure than with the medical drug approach. The idea is to allow individuals to have control of the steps taken in reducing the amount of drugs or alcohol and have the reduction happen in stages. This allows the body to become accustomed to less and less of the drug or alcohol. In the end, the dependency becomes non-existent.
Another method of detox that many struggling individuals attempt to engage in is the “cold-turkey” method. With this method of detox, people may choose to quit using drugs or consuming alcohol all at once. They use no prescription medications and the effects of withdrawal are immediate. The risks in making such a dramatic change in lifestyle can be dangerous for those addicted to certain drugs. It is common for relapse or a medical emergency to occur.
Rapid detox is another form of detox many people opt for. This method utilizes sedation in order to help individuals to go through the withdrawal process. While under sedation, individuals receive medications that speed the healing process and remove the toxins.
As promising as it may sound, rapid detox has not proven to be extremely effective or safe. It is a dangerous way to detoxify and can create serious or even life-threatening results. Rapid detox involves no follow-up of any sort that prepares you or your loved one for a life of recovery. As a result, relapse is most certainly a big concern with this form of treatment.
The Importance of Detox Under Medical Supervision
No matter how long you or your loved one has been addicted to a drug or alcohol, detoxification is not easy. Many side effects can come about during the process, but under medical supervision, there is more control, and an environment of healing can be fostered. Common side effects of detox include insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, nervousness, and difficulty concentrating.
Physicians can assist in reducing or eliminating many of the side effects of detox and will include various behavioral therapies as part of the treatment plan as well. If you or your loved one need answers to the many questions about the detoxification process, our compassionate and understanding team here at Silver Linings will be glad to provide information on facilities that you can reach out to for assistance.
Medical Detox vs. Detoxing On Your Own
When deciding which plan is best for your own detoxification process, you or your loved one may consider attempting the process without medical assistance. The failure rate for those who try this approach is high, which then leads to frustration for both the individual as well as family members.
The process of trying to detox on your own is equal to that of going cold-turkey. The symptoms of withdrawal are very hard to handle without the assistance of skilled medical specialists. The rehab process is the next step after detox, and provide the coping tools necessary in order to maintain a life of sobriety.
Reach Out to Silver Linings Today!
Whether the treatment plan is taking place in an inpatient/residential facility or via outpatient treatment, the support of family members is very important in the recovery process. This support system can provide a strong emotional link that makes the steps to recovery worth taking.
Silver Linings Recovery Center is available to give you advice on facilities that offer detoxification treatment. Contact us and let one of the members of our highly trained staff help you find a place where you or your loved one can take that first step. Find your way to recovery today!