What is Detox?
To begin the recovery process, the first step is to detox from the alcohol and drugs upon which an individual is dependent. This process is when the body is purged of substances while simultaneously experiencing – and dealing with – withdrawal symptoms.
The Three Stages of Detox
The United States Department of Health and Human Services describes three stages to the process of detox:
Stage One: Evaluation
The first step is to test a patient to find out which substances and how much of the substances are currently in their system. During this time, clinicians will also assess the patient to determine if they also have any mental issues or co-occurring disorders.
Stage Two: Stabilization
During this step, the patient’s body will undergo the process of detox, be it with medication or without. Often, though, medication is used. Beginning with explaining to the patient what will occur during detox, the forthcoming process of recovery is also explained. Depending on the situation, individuals with whom the patient is close are brought into the recovery process to help and support their loved ones.
Step Three: Guiding the Patient into Treatment
The final step in the process of detox is to get the patient ready for the process of recovery ahead. The process deals only with the body’s dependency on substances; however, it does not get into the mental and emotional aspects of the disease of addiction. During this step, with the patient’s consent, they are enrolled in a rehabilitation program.
Who needs Detox?
Each addictive substance is different in terms of withdrawal symptoms. Some may affect the body in a significant way while others have minimal effects. Just as these substances are different, so are the bodies of patients going through the process of detox and recovery. Be it physical or emotional, withdrawal symptoms happen to everyone and vary in degree of severity.
Those who require going through a program of detoxification for drug and alcohol abuse may be abusing such substances as:
- Pain medication:
- Sleeping medication:
Side Effects of Sub-Acute Detox
People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol and need to undergo detox are at risk for a plethora of intense and sometimes life-threatening symptoms.
Emotional and Psychological
- Social isolation
- Poor concentration
Medical and Physical
- Racing heart
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in the chest
Nutrition During and After Detox
Often, those entering a detoxification program can show signs of malnutrition. Substance abuse causes the body to have issues with nutrition deficiencies, which can be detrimental and stifling to the process. Because of the stress that detox takes on the body, certain nutritional adjustments may be required to help the body to cope with the symptoms of withdrawal. Working on a plan of better nutrition while in recovery and beyond will help greatly in improving the body from the effects of prior substance abuse.
How Long Does Detox Take?
There are a few different things to consider when evaluating how long detoxification will take. It will depend on the patient’s physical health, the substances that have been abused, the length of time and frequency of drug and alcohol use, and the way that the body responds to the process of detoxification. Abstinence is possible to achieve, but the process of detox is only the beginning on the road to recovery. There is a lot of work to be done to achieve and maintain lifelong sobriety and we are here to help.
For more information on detox services for yourself or a loved one, call a Circle of Hope addiction specialist at 888-277-3316.