Detox is often the first step in the continuum of care for addiction treatment. Whether it’s with alcohol, prescription medication or other drugs, ongoing substance use can create a physical addiction. The detox involves managing withdrawal and other complications as you process remnants of the substance from your body. Depending on the nature of the addiction, common withdrawal symptoms may include:
• Anxiety • Sweating
• Headache • Nausea and vomiting
• Shaking or tremors • Fatigue
• Irritability • Insomnia
• High blood pressure • Racing or irregular heartbeat
While long-term recovery involves addressing the behaviors and environmental factors that feed addiction, the focus of detox is on managing the short-term cleansing of the system. Safe, approved medications administered by professionals can minimize these complications. The time for the detox process depends on the patient. While it is common for detox to take anywhere from a few days to two weeks, detox timelines will vary depending on the recovering person’s unique circumstances. Some factors that may affect the length of detox:
• The substance the patient is detoxing from
• Length and consistency of abuse
• Amount of substance recently consumed
• Severity of withdrawal symptoms
• Degree of medical assistance required
• Co-occurring disorders
Withdrawal from drug or alcohol addiction can cause varying degrees of physical symptoms. The goal of medically assisted detox is to minimize withdrawal issues and ensure a detox process takes place in safety and comfort. Medically managed detox is customized to the needs of the patient. Treatment is overseen by expert medical professionals and may involve the use of medication to minimize the often severe symptoms of withdrawal. Once you’ve taken the step to pursue detox for your substance addiction, it is important to see the process through. Risks will vary by individual, but detoxification is a medical process that can have significant effects on your body if not properly managed. We encourage you to follow the direction of your trained recovery partners to ensure your safe recovery.
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