Drug Detox

If you’re currently living through substance abuse or a drug addiction, with the aim to recover, it is important that you consider all available support and treatment methods. One of the most effective treatment options, when completed professionally is a drug detox programme.

Reviewed Medically reviewed by Dr Alexander Lapa (Psychiatrist) | Updated 14/09/2021

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Drug Detox
Updated on 14/09/2021
Medically reviewed by
Dr Alexander Lapa (Psychiatrist)

Although identified as a challenging process to complete, withdrawing physically from drugs is vital to achieve long-term addiction recovery. A drug detox, alongside further psychological intervention can kickstart the initial recovery phase, while increasing susceptibility for ongoing revival.

While many individuals will attempt to go cold turkey, believing that this simulates a drug detox, withdrawing alone from drugs, without a programme in place can be extremely dangerous and challenging.

For your best opportunity to start your addiction recovery journey, commit yourself to a drug detox programme and alternative treatment options. Through our referral services here at Addiction Advocates, we can help you find the most suitable treatment centre, reflecting your needs, offering advanced medical detox programmes.

Why complete a drug detox?

As touched on above, to recover, withdrawal from drugs is required. Without a structured and proven programme in place, physical withdrawal can be very difficult, along with posing risks for further substance abuse.

When considering a drug addiction, it is likely that a strong tolerance has developed over time. No matter whether illegal substances or prescription drugs have been abused, over a long period of time, this tolerance will result in excessive drug quantities. Consider this quantity with longevity in mind, soon controlling the body’s functionality, while becoming the norm in an individual’s internal system. As drugs will become the norm, it is important that this interior structure is broken down and diminished, helping to remove all drug traces from the body.

To complete this removal, a medical drug detox programme will be required, helping to remove all toxins from the body. In turn, this will help the body learn to live without drugs, while boosting readiness and motivation to progress through psychological repair.

Although branded as a challenging treatment option, especially when withdrawal symptoms appear, without a drug detox, it is very likely that drug traces will remain, soon influencing future relapses.


The importance of medical supervision when detoxing

While withdrawing from drugs, it is very important that medical supervision is maintained. Withdrawal can be challenging, no matter the severity of an addiction. It is also important to remember that pre-existing health problems and mental health issues may be present, increasing the complexity of detoxing.

The key aim of a drug detox is to kickstart the recovery process. However, through rehab centres, maintaining health and safety is also prioritised, ensuring that you’re in an optimal state to progress through rehab.

With this in mind, medically assisted efforts should always be followed, ensuring that you can cope through withdrawal symptoms, while following a healthy and safe structure. Additionally, prescription drugs will usually be used to subsidise those side effects, helping to improve the ability to cope. Through a detox at home, this ability will be lacking, commonly resulting in further drug abuse.

For safety and success rates, always consider a detox programme through inpatient or outpatient settings, in conjunction with a rehab facility.


Commonly experienced withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. This can depend on the type of substances which are abused, the timescale that these substances have been consumed for, and any pre-existing health problems. However, commonly experienced withdrawal symptoms, usually within the first 48 hours of a drug detox include:

– Physical side effects, including sweating, nausea, irritability, seizures, delirium tremens and flu-like symptoms.
– Psychological side effects, including anxiety, depression, paranoia, insomnia and mood swings.
– Cravings are also very likely, both physically and mentally, increasing the desire of quitting your drug detox.

As withdrawal symptoms can be experienced chronically, it is very important that medical supervision is maintained through your drug detox. This will ensure that your health isn’t at risk, while motivating you to push through the unbearable side effects.


The types of drug detox programmes

Through rehab, there are two different types of drug detox programmes available; inpatient or outpatient. The selection of which will fall down to recommendations, based on your personal relationship with drugs. In a large proportion of cases, an inpatient drug detox will be required, to help clients control the withdrawal process. However, outpatient detox programmes are available, and can work for those with minimal tolerances.

Inpatient detox programme: Here is where clients will reside within a selected drug rehab centre, with the aim to complete an initial drug detox internally, followed by additional treatment options. This is the safest and most effective route to detox, ensuring that recovery is maintained through the challenges.

Outpatient detox programme: Here is where clients will return home in between treatment sessions. This can be very challenging, especially if temptations are around. Likewise, cravings can be difficult to control while detoxing independently, increasing the chances of relapses. Although successful for some, the majority of clients will favour a targeted and hand-held drug detox.

If you’re hoping to gauge which type of drug detox will offer the greatest recovery rates for you personally, feel free to reach out to our team [1] here at Addiction Advocates.


Drug detox timescales

Depending on the severity of a drug addiction, detox timescales will vary. Firstly, short-term detox programmes are available, usually lasting 7-14 days. This will typically follow an inpatient detox style, tackling the physical side effects from drug abuse.

In tandem, long-term detox programmes are also available, which will initially focus on the physical side effects. Yet, to promote all-round recovery, ongoing psychological withdrawal will be experienced, through a number of therapeutic treatment options.

As all drug addictions vary, along with the degree of necessary treatment, drug detox timescales can fluctuate, reflecting an individual’s needs.

Additional treatment options, to heal and prevent relapses

Although a drug detox programme is highly beneficial and successful, it is imperative that additional treatment options are utilised, to heal and prevent relapses. As a drug addiction falls within the brain illness category, long-term psychological support is also vital. Through support groups, therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational therapy, this all-round effort to heal is probable.

Yet, to protect these efforts, coping mechanisms will also be communicated to prevent relapses post rehab. This approach, combined with a medical detox programme will offer the chance to withdraw from drugs, both physically and mentally, while preparing for a sober future.

If you’re hoping to withdraw from drugs, for good, feel free to contact our team here at Addiction Advocates. We will complete referrals, encouraging the most effective treatment options through rehab, including a comprehensive drug detox programme.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a drug addiction?
Drug addiction, otherwise known as a substance misuse disorder, is a disease that tampers with the mind, body and behaviour of the sufferer. Someone suffering with a drug addiction will often complain of the inability to think of anything else other than acquiring or consuming the said drug. This inability to think of anything else often comes at the detriment of personal and professional responsibilities, and addicts will often neglect these responsibilities in the pursuit of the said drug.
How to talk to someone with a drug addiction?
Here, we’ll provide you with some tips to talk to a drug addict. Be patient – Talking to someone with a drug addiction is difficult for both parties. It can be more difficult for the addict as it is a problem that they are trying to avoid. Its important to be patient. Provide practical and emotional support – Its important to be both practical in your approach but also empathic too. A good example of this would be to offer to attend a GP appointment with them, this is both practical in a step towards their recovery but also empathic in supporting them. Remain optimistic – Addiction can be a lonely place, and addicts can often feel like there is no hope. It is important for you to remain optimistic and make it clear that a life of sobriety can be achieved. Research – Researching the said drug addiction will equip you better to understand the complexities of addiction. It will also show the addict that you are committed to providing that emotional support which will be invaluable to them. Once you research addiction, you will understand that addiction is not a personality defect, or selfishness. It is a disease that affects the mind, body and behaviour of individuals.
What methods of drug addiction are available?
Substitute Prescriptions – These are opiate alternatives and are very common with those suffering from heroin addictions. The most common is Methadone and Buprenorphine. They help to stabilise your condition and prevent the withdrawal symptoms people commonly feel. Counselling – Also known as therapy, this comes in two forms, individual and group. Individual therapy is the most common form of counselling and will involve a drug addict and a counsellor talking about the addiction and getting down to the route cause of it, attempting to manage these issues. Group therapy is normally led by a former addict and will involve other addicts, it is here that the addict will be able to connect with other addicts so as not to feel alone in their journey to sobriety. Intense Rehabilitation – Commonly referred to as rehab, this is a care program that involves an addict attending a rehabilitation clinic which can administer the above treatments and more. They are often (but not always) residential, and in this case the addict would stay at the rehabilitation clinic for a period of time.


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