Detoxification, or detox, is the process of letting the patient’s body remove the drugs in it. The purpose of detox is to safely manage withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking drugs or alcohol. Everyone individual has a different experience with detox. The type of drug and how long it was used affects what detox will be like.
It can take several days or months to get through withdrawal symptoms for most drugs. The length of withdrawal depends on several factors, such as:
- Type of substance the user is addicted to
- Duration an addiction has lasted
- The severity of the addiction
- Method of abuse (snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing)
- The amount of a substance the user takes at one time
- Family history
- Genetic makeup
- Medical condition
- Underlying mental health conditions
The Process of Detoxification
Every individual’s detox needs are different. The drug detox process helps addicted people get personalized treatment. In most cases, the process involves three steps:
The medical team screens incoming patients for physical and mental health issues. Doctors use blood tests to measure the number of drugs in the patient’s system. This helps determine the level of medications needed.
The next step is to stabilize the patient with medical and psychological therapy. The goal of stabilization is to prevent any form of harm to the patient. Doctors can prescribe addiction treatment medications to prevent complications and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Preparing Entry into Treatment
The final step of detox is preparation for a treatment program. Doctors familiarize their patients with the treatment process they provide and what to expect. Inpatient rehab offers the best chances of success after detox.
Side Effects of Detox
The process of drug detox can be painful and dangerous sometimes. Therefore, medical detox is very important. Detox with medical supervision allows patients to detox in a safe and comfortable environment. The extent of supervision is different in inpatient and outpatient rehab centers.
Although medical detox limits the symptoms of withdrawal, some are unavoidable. Some of the most common side effects may include:
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Body discomfort
- Mood swings
- Poor sleep
- Difficulty concentrating