Making the decision to seek treatment for your drug or alcohol addiction is a big deal. It is the beginning of your recovery process and it’s a step in the right direction for you and your family. To begin the process of recovery, you will first have to go through detoxification, or detox, to rid your body of the drugs or alcohol you have been using.
What is Detoxification?
To put it simply, detox is the process of ridding your body of the substances you are addicted to. When you are physically dependent on drugs or alcohol and you stop using them, you will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. You may have felt these symptoms before, on a very mild level, if you have ever had a hangover, or had a break in your drug use. Withdrawal symptoms happen because your body has become accustomed to having drugs or alcohol in its system, and when you stop giving it the substance, it has to try to recalibrate itself to function normally.
The symptoms of withdrawal will generally begin soon after your last use of the substance. Because withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and the withdrawal from some substances can be life-threatening, it’s recommended that detox is done in a facility where you can be medically supervised.
Withdrawal symptoms affect each individual differently depending on several factors such as:
– Type of drug, or combination of drugs used
– Length of time using
– Amount of substance used
– Genetic factors
– History of drug use
– Physical and mental health
With all those factors, it can be hard to determine just how severe a person’s withdrawal symptoms will be. They can range from fairly mild (like a bad hangover) to extremely severe with seizures, and even death. In a detox center in Fresno, you can be monitored medically and receive medication to help you manage the withdrawal symptoms.
How Long Does Detox Take?
Because all drugs (including alcohol) are different and they affect the body in different ways, the length of time it takes to detox can vary widely. However, there are some general timeframes based on the substance to consider, but keep the factors mentioned above in mind that may cause them to be much longer or shorter:
Alcohol – Withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to weeks and even months in some cases. Typically, the acute phase of alcohol withdrawal is about one to two weeks.
Benzodiazepines – Withdrawal symptoms usually start one to several days following the discontinuing of the drug, and can last from a week to a few months, depending on the individual.
Cocaine and other stimulants – Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines both enter and leave your bloodstream rapidly. As a consequence, detox from these types of drugs is fairly brief, lasting a few hours to several days.
Opioids – Drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and other painkillers cause withdrawal symptoms that usually last between several hours and several weeks.
Remember, the timeframes above are in general. Your detox may be quite different than what is mentioned.
The Steps of Drug and Alcohol Detox
The detox process has three basic steps that, when completed, will hopefully end with you choosing to attend further treatment for your addiction.
The three steps of detox are:
1. Evaluation – Every addicted person’s situation is different. Thus, it’s important that an experienced addiction clinician or medical professional accurately diagnoses and assesses each individual’s case. The evaluation step is important because it is much more than simply identifying an addiction issue. It is also helpful in determining whether you have any underlying medical or psychological conditions that may be co-occurring with your addiction. The evaluation is comprehensive, so you should be prepared to answer a lot of questions prior to starting your detoxing.
2. Stabilization – Stabilization is when you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms from whatever substances you have been using, and the time following that it takes for your body to be rid of those substances physically. During this step, you may be prescribed medication and given other supplements to help you manage the discomfort of the symptoms. As you near the end of detox, you will feel better physically, and your thoughts will stabilize. This is when the door to long-lasting recovery is opened.
3. Determination of further treatment – During this step, you will work with medical and psychological professionals to determine what your next step in the recovery process should be. While many people who go to detox do not continue on with further treatment, the ones who do are typically much more successful in achieving long-term recovery. It’s likely that it will be recommended that you continue with your treatment in outpatient or inpatient addiction treatment, and your advisors will help you make the transition.
Does It Work to Detox at Home?
Detoxing should be done in a medically-supervised drug and alcohol detox center, not at home. There are many more risks of complications and even death when you attempt to detox without medical supervision. Here are some of the risks to consider:
Medical problems – Some substances have very serious withdrawal symptoms that can be life-threatening, so it’s very important to have access to medical care while detoxing.
Mental health issues – Underlying mental health conditions that are masked by substance use can become acute and overwhelming when the substances are abruptly stopped.
Relapse – Making it through withdrawal symptoms is very uncomfortable and many people who try to detox at home end up using again to stop the discomfort.
Overdose – When someone stops using substances, the body will begin to recalibrate and stabilize itself and the tolerance it had for the substance will start to change. The amount of the substance that the person was using may rapidly become too much for the body and the person may suffer an overdose.
The Cost of Drug and Alcohol Detox in Fresno, CA
The cost of drug and alcohol detox is often covered by health insurance, as insurance companies know that treating people with addiction are more expensive to cover. If you don’t have medical insurance and need to go to detox it’s always a good idea to talk with the facility to see if they will consider a payment plan for your stay.
Don’t allow the cost of detox deter you from going and changing your life for the better. At My Time Recovery in Fresno, we are happy to answer all your questions about detox and help you get started with your recovery.
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