While many people are afraid of the discomfort associated with withdrawals during detoxification, discomfort should not be your biggest concern.
There are various medical dangers associated with detoxification from a variety of substances, particularly depressants or sedatives such as alcohol, benzos, and opiates. Maintaining client safety is the number one concern when it comes to drug and alcohol detox at our Heartland treatment center. Rather than risk the dangers of an at-home detox, below are tips on how to detox from drugs and alcohol safely with professional support.
How Long Does It Take To Detox From Drugs?
Medically monitored detox, or medical detox, is the process of ridding the body of substances such as drugs or alcohol. This treatment is designed to clear the body of these substances to physically and mentally prepare recovering addicts for the next portion of their treatment programs.
How long detox takes varies depending on a variety of factors, such as:
- Their substance of choice
- The person’s duration of use
- The dosage or quantity of the substance the person would normally take
- The person’s age
- Their gender
- The person’s physical health, particularly the state of their kidneys or liver
- Their metabolism
- Whether the individual has any underlying co-occurring disorder
- Their medical history
Younger individuals who have few to no underlying health problems and a faster metabolism may experience a smoother, shorter, and less severe drug detoxification process than individuals in other categories. The state and longevity of withdrawal also depend greatly on the substance in question.
Worst Drugs to Withdraw From
Because substance use disorders impact chemical balance in the brain as well as emotional associations with drug and alcohol use, overcoming addiction can be a major challenge. Detoxification is a major step in the recovery process, as it addresses the various withdrawal symptoms that the individual may experience. These symptoms are often severe enough to push the person into relapse and prevent them from quitting or getting the help they need.
Additionally, while all substances can present challenges during the detox process, there are a few that are more dangerous to withdraw from than others. The most difficult drugs to detox from include:
- Alcohol: Alcohol use disorder is one of the most common addictions and the most difficult to overcome. Alcohol induces a relaxed and euphoric state, which is why many users rely on it as a crutch for coping with stress and to “escape” from hardships in their lives. It’s also legal for consumption by people over the age of 21 and widely socially accepted. Due to its impact on the central nervous system (CNS), withdrawing from alcohol can lead to dangerous and potentially life-threatening symptoms like seizures or delirium tremens. For this reason, professional alcohol detox is advised.
- Benzodiazepines: Also known as benzos, these are prescription medications used to treat anxiety disorders and seizure disorders. They act on GABA receptors in the CNS, which leads to a reduction in communication between nerve cells. As a result, functions such as cognition, movement, and breathing are reduced. Their sedative and euphoric effects make benzos both highly addictive and dangerous to detox from. Medical benzo detox is advised for those who want to quit, which can help to prevent psychiatric symptoms and other complications.
- Heroin: Heroin is an illicit opioid drug (narcotic) that’s usually sold and purchased on the streets. It’s often made with chemicals not approved for human consumption and may also be laced with other substances, such as fentanyl. Famous for its addictive nature, heroin can have a severe impact on the brain and body, making it hard to quit. As a result, heroin detox can be difficult and even life-threatening to attempt and accomplish without the support of a medical team.
- Crack Cocaine: Crack cocaine is a crystal or rock-like form of the stimulant cocaine. This is an illicit substance that’s usually manufactured and sold on the streets. Unlike alcohol, benzos, and opioids, cocaine is known for stimulating nerve cell communication, leading to a euphoric and energetic high. Withdrawing from cocaine is mainly difficult because of the crash users experience when the high wears off, which includes depression and thoughts of suicide. Therefore, the safest and most effective route for those seeking to recover is a medical cocaine detox.
- Crystal Methamphetamine: Like crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine (or meth) is a rock-like drug that’s used for its stimulating, euphoric, and confidence-boosting effects. This is also a street drug that’s often made in clandestine laboratories with various ingredients ranging from paint thinner to battery acid. Similar to cocaine withdrawal, withdrawal from methamphetamine can have a severe physical and mental impact on the individual, which is why so many users relapse early in their detox. To ensure the individual’s safety and increase their chances for recovery, medical methamphetamine detox is advised.
Tips on How to Detox From Drugs and Alcohol
To detox from drugs and alcohol, you will either need to completely stop or slowly taper the use of the substances you are addicted to. For some drugs, going cold turkey and quitting all at once can be very dangerous, so it’s important to consult with an addiction professional before doing so.
As your body undergoes a drug or alcohol detox, it attempts to adjust to chemical changes that originated from active addiction and will cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms. They can range from mild symptoms, like nausea, to life-threatening symptoms, such as seizures. The substances you were abusing, your age, and the duration of your addiction will all influence the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.
While we do not recommend at-home detox remedies or attempts. Below are some tips on how to detox your body from drugs safely that can benefit you in a professional setting as well:
- Consult with an addiction professional before beginning detox
- Seek medical support for the detox process
- Eat healthy meals and drink plenty of water
- Avoid drug or alcohol use during detox at all costs
- Do not take any other medications aside from those prescribed to you by the detox medical team (if they do prescribe any)
If you don’t know how to detox from drugs and alcohol safely, our Heartland detox center offers medical support and care that can help. For more information about our substance abuse services and how to get started, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763.
How to Manage Pain During Detox
Choosing Between Detoxing at Home or Medical Detox