Detox Process

Detox Process


Arranging for your first medically supervised detox can be a bit overwhelming. If you have detoxed from drugs on your own, then you already know how tough of a process it can be no matter where you are. Handing yourself over to a team of professionals that you’ve never met before can seem overwhelming, even if you know that they have your best interests at heart.


It’s okay, though - a medically supervised detox won’t be a terrible experience. These detox programs exist because they’re there to make the process of withdrawal much more manageable for people suffering from serious drug addictions.


The Benefits Of Outpatient Treatment
Why choose Detox Alone?

While detox is included as a part of a lot of rehab programs, it’s not necessarily a requirement for someone to complete a rehab program. However, they can be immensely important for people struggling to finish withdrawal on their own. Many times, a recovering addict will try to go sober on their own, only to find themselves relapsing after a day or two of withdrawals.


Detoxes can be useful because they eliminate the chance of you being able to relapse. You’ll be in a facility, watched over by medical professionals, and given medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal. This will help you get through the worst of it.


Rehab programs typically cost a lot of money, too - sometimes up to a thousand dollars a day. This isn’t really affordable for lots of people, but sometimes a detox is enough.


Rehab is also not practical for somebody who has a full time job or can’t be away from their kids for extended periods of time. However, detoxing for a week or so might make it easier for them to book time off or get a babysitter for the kids.


Getting into a Detox

The first thing that you'll need to do before you can even attend detox is to sign up or register for a program. Many rehabilitation facilities offer detox as a preliminary program for patients. There are some hospitals and other places that offer detox alone.


Regardless, what you're going to have to do is make sure that you meet the requirements. Most often, these requirements are not too exclusive - you’ll need to be addicted to drugs, of course, and your addiction will need to be serious enough that you are going to go through withdrawals when you stop using.


Other than that, you are probably good. Detox facilities are not usually location exclusive and they shouldn't exclude people because of their ages.


The Detox Plan

The first thing you’ll decide upon is the length of your detox - typically you choose between 3, 5, and 7 day detoxes..


Rapid detoxes are done over the course of three days. During the most severe rapid detoxes, you’ll be put under anesthesia and kept largely unconscious until the withdrawal period is over. This is usually done to treat serious opioid addictions, and isn’t possible for all types of drugs.


5-7 day detoxes are for people who don’t want to go through a rapid detox. 5 days is usually enough for the most severe symptoms of opioid addiction to disappear; 7 days might be needed for the most serious conditions.


7 days is likely not enough time to fully deal with the withdrawal from benzodiazepines or alcohol, and a treatment program is generally recommended to help people quit these drugs. However, a week-long program should be enough to mediate the physical symptoms so you can attend treatment..


The Detox Process

Detox is a very difficult time for people, both physically and emotionally.


It’s physically difficult because you will be going through withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, particularly when overcoming opioid addictions, the medical staff may prescribe you with another medication to manage your symptoms. This is not typically done during the detox phase, though, and is instead used as a transitional phase to get somebody off of street drugs. You’ll need to eventually detox off the prescription, as well.


  • Medications used to transition people off of illegal opioid drugs include Methadone and Buprenorphine. These drugs are potent opioid agonists themselves, and they must be weaned off following a tight schedule prior to being detoxed off themselves. The detox process for these drugs is typically much longer and drawn-out than the detox periods from street opioids, so they should only be used in the most serious cases.


  • Medication used to treat anxiety during withdrawal could include Xanax or Clonazepam. These are benzodiazepine drugs that can be very addictive themselves, but the detox period is typically not long enough for someone to develop an addiction to these drugs.


  • These drugs are also immensely beneficial for helping wean people off of alcohol and can even be used to help ease people off of other, short-acting benzodiazepines like Ativan. Using longer-acting benzos allows the drug to be eliminated more slowly, so the withdrawal symptoms emerge gradually.


  • Medications like Clonidine are used to help ease some of the physical withdrawals, especially those from opioids. Clonidine reduces blood pressure and helps to mediate adrenaline, which is often surging through a withdrawing patient’s body causing some of the more unpleasant physical side effects like restless legs, sweating, and hot flashes.


It can be emotionally difficult because not only does withdrawal alone cause emotional instability, but the personal problems that many people are using drugs to self-medicate with will resurface. This can make people extremely volatile.


It can be emotionally difficult because not only does withdrawal alone cause emotional instability, but the personal problems that many people are using drugs to self-medicate with will resurface. This can make people extremely volatile.


Fortunately, you will be surrounded by medical professionals 24 hours a day. There will be skilled nurses, doctors, and often counsellors and therapists present to help you through your detox process.


Treatment after Detox

Once your detox program is over, it’s time for you to either return to society or to move on to a full rehab program. Typically, you will not be allowed out of the detox until your physical symptoms are properly managed and it’s apparent that you can function effectively on your own again.


If you are trying to decide whether or not you need longer treatment, consider that detoxing is the easiest part of recovery. The hard part is staying sober, and a full rehab program can help provide you with the skills and techniques that you need to stay sober.