Detoxification - The First Step in Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol
Detoxification, or simply detox, refers to the physical purification of the body, or the removal of all mind-altering substances and the residual toxins that upset natural brain and body chemistry.
Since it is extremely difficult to not drink or use other drugs of choice, or to think about drinking or using when the body still contains addictive and damaging chemicals, detoxification from drugs and alcohol is the necessary first step in recovery. Only after the body is cleansed of all foreign substances can the mind choose abstinence each day. Only after the brain is no longer under the influence of any substances can progress be made and change be chosen.
When the use of a drug, including alcohol, is stopped, the body and brain react with what are called withdrawal symptoms. These physical and psychological reactions vary for each mind-altering substance, and require various levels of monitorization.
Detox from alcohol and prescription central nervous system (CNS) depressants can be fatal. The body is unable to handle several aspects of functioning without the influence of at least one of these substances. Therefore, the need for a professional facility, with a staff that constantly monitors each client’s status, is vitally important for people detoxing from alcohol or benzodiazepines, like Valium, Xanax, and Ativan.
Detox from heroin and its pharmaceutical counterparts, opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Norco, is intensely painful. Ongoing care, in a detox facility, can alleviate the majority of discomfort with proper medication management.
When opiate or opioid withdrawal is painful, the easiest way to relieve the symptoms is by using an opiate again. The quickest way to stop the life-threatening effects of alcohol cessation is to drink more alcohol. When detoxification is not completed in a medical facility, the physical risks and the likelihood of drinking or using again are exceptionally high.
Instead, a formal detoxification program will assist with every aspect of the process. Using or drinking again is not an option. With other medications and therapeutic strategies, a detox client will make it through the process successfully.
The objective of medically-monitored detoxification is to clear the mind, reduce the risk of seizure and other adverse withdrawal symptoms, and to start healing the body so that exploring new ways of thinking and behaving without the influence of alcohol and drugs can begin in formal treatment.
Detox & Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person’s substance use has progressed to the point of physically and psychologically needing a certain drug, dependence has developed. At this stage, any periods of stopping the drug’s use will cause adverse withdrawal symptoms as the body works to naturally detox, or rid the system of all residual chemicals.
Withdrawal from alcohol and prescription benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan) can be life threatening and require a doctor's supervision. Opiate (heroin, codeine, morphine) and opioid (OxyContin, Vicodin, Norco) withdrawal is painful and difficult to endure, and stimulant (cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin) withdrawal often leads right back to stimulant use.
Detox symptoms for marijuana create the opposite of the relaxed sedation state sought by the drug’s use. Studies show that detox symptoms for marijuana users include aggression, irritability, and anxiety.
Minor symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, generally occurring when a drinker has consumed alcohol consistently for 7 to 34 days, include:
- Rapid pulse
- Increased body temperature
- Hand tremors
- Nausea or vomiting
Major symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, generally occurring when a drinker has consumed alcohol consistently for 48 to 87 consecutive days, include:
- Tachycardia (irregular heartbeat)
- Transient visual, tactile, or auditory hallucinations and illusions
- Psychomotor agitation
- Grand mal seizures
- Delirium tremens
These central nervous system depressants, or sedative-hypnotics, are pharmaceutically manufactured to mimic the effects of alcohol. Most commonly, Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan, create major problems when short-term use, as recommended by a doctor to address a real physical need, progresses to abuse and to physical dependence, or addiction.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Recurrence and magnification of the symptoms the drug was attempting to treat
- Intense drug craving
- Tremors and muscle twitches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tachycardia (irregular heartbeat)
- Inability to focus
- Sleep disturbances
- Temporary loss of vision, hearing, or smell
Your muscles are like wrenching, your entire digestive tract is going crazy. Stomach cramps, but not just stomach cramps, also diarrhea. Everything that can go wrong with your intestinal tract happens. Your legs, you kick constantly; that’s why I think they call it ‘kicking.’ Your legs will jerk and kick uncontrollably. You have insomnia. You vomit, have sweats, and what else, oh yeah, the craziness, delirium.
Opiate and opioid withdrawal symptoms include:
- Bone, joint, and muscular pain
- Runny nose
- Stomach cramps and vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms
- High blood pressure
- Rapid pulse and tachycardia
- Excessive yawning
- Dilated pupils and watery eyes
- Muscle cramps
- Fever, chills, and goosebumps
When the repeated use of cocaine, crack cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and prescription stimulants stop, the following symptoms can occur:
- Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure)
- Anergia (complete lack of energy)
- Emotional depression
- Loss of motivation
- Vivid and unpleasant dreams
- Increased appetite
- Psychomotor agitation
- Intense drug craving
Finding a proper detoxification center is important in managing the painful and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms of any mind-altering, and highly-addictive, drug. To find the detox center that is right for you, or for someone you know, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731 today!
Rapid Detox for Opiate and Opioid Addicts
Rapid detox has become a popular method used for opiate and opioid detoxification. In a medically-monitored facility, a trained staff administers naltrexone, and other pharmaceutical drugs, to a heavily-sedated client. The idea is to avoid the pain of opiate and opioid detox so that the client has no reason to return to drug use.
While rapid detox does help heroin and prescription opiate abusers get past the physical withdrawal symptoms faster than they might otherwise, the procedure does not address the underlying issues of addiction. Another limitation of rapid detox is that the process does not completely remove the long-term symptoms of opiate and opioid withdrawal, such as continued insomnia, diarrhea, and psychological dependence on the drug of choice.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), who sets the criteria for substance abuse and addiction disorders, does not condone rapid detox as comprehensive treatment for opiate or opioid abuse or addiction. Up to 80% of rapid detox clients relapse within six months when other forms of therapeutic intervention, formal treatment, and proper healing were also taking place.
While rapid detox promises to avoid the uncomfortable and painful withdrawal symptoms by putting the patient under anesthesia and blocking opiate receptors in the brain, studies show that the body is unable to recover that quickly from opiate dependence anyway. Rapid detox fails to address the core psychological issues that drive opiate and opioid addiction, and therefore, provides as much actual treatment as a band-aid would on a gunshot wound.
Rapid detox may serve as the very first step in the successful recovery process from opiate and opioid addiction, but many other methods of treatment are also needed to ensure long-term sobriety from all mind-altering substances.
To find out more, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731. Our team will connect you with the detoxification center and formal rehab facilities that are best for your unique case. Call today!
Alcohol & Liver Detoxification
Alcohol detox has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do, but the alternative is worse.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 15-20% of primary care and hospitalized patients have medical complications due to alcohol dependence. Dependence occurs when the body adapts to the continued presence of alcohol and adapts chemically. When alcohol is removed for any period of time, the body will react strongly in a negative way.
A 34-year-old recovering alcoholic shares his experience with alcohol withdrawal and detoxification:
I was very sick - very nauseous, pains in my stomach, headaches, shaking, filled with sheer terror. I’ve never known fear like that in my life. This has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do, but the alternative is worse.
Alcohol detoxification is the process of cleansing the body of all remaining chemicals left from heavy alcohol consumption. Participation in an alcohol detox program is the essential beginning to treatment for alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
When carried out in a controlled environment, in a licensed treatment facility, alcohol detox is safe and effective. An alcohol abuser or addict should never attempt alcohol detox on his or her own. The complications of alcohol detox can be life threatening and should always be monitored by a medical doctor and other highly-trained staff members.
With an initial assessment to address any immediate withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol detox, a treatment team can use the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption to determine what to expect and how to best treat each individual case of alcohol detox.
Since alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild afflictions, such as insomnia and shakes, to more serious symptoms, such as seizures, delirium tremens, and hallucinations, ongoing attention is vital.
In addition, with any extended abuse of alcohol, the liver has been greatly affected. The scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis, is common among alcoholics, and is only able to stop getting worse when alcohol use stops and when the liver is able to detox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that approximately 12,000 people die each year from alcohol-induced cirrhosis, and about 2.5 times more men die from liver cirrhosis than women.
The liver needs time to rid itself of the residual chemicals left from years of alcohol abuse. Since this vital organ serves as a filter, every episode of drinking has further damaged its ability to protect the body from other harmful substances. With alcohol and liver detox, the damage can stop, and in some cases, begin to repair.
To find the best facility for your alcohol and liver detox, or that of someone you love, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731 today!
Drug & Prescription Drug Detoxification
Drug detoxification is the process of ridding the body and brain of harmful residual toxins from extended periods of drug abuse and addiction. Drug detox is the first step in a comprehensive treatment plan offered to address and treat the true reasons for use, abuse, and addiction of mind-altering substances.
The use of any drug on a regular basis alters brain chemistry that then affects the entire body’s functioning. Drug detox is necessary to restore the natural balance of brain and body chemistry.
The procedure involved in drug detox depends on the drug of choice, but should always include medical supervision. A combination of vitamins and non-addictive prescription medications are often needed to stabilize the body from the consequences of withdrawal symptoms. In order for drug detox to be successful, the withdrawal symptoms must be managed.
While the process of actual detox is not different for a legal versus illegal drug, each person responds differently to cessation from each type of drug.
The physical and psychological craving for cocaineand crack cocaine make the detoxification process extremely difficult to endure and sustain. To illustrate the power of these stimulants, this 65-year-old recovering crack addict shares his experience:
I got shot in the leg. I have a bullet in my leg now. I was bleeding to death, and the only thing I wanted to do was smoke cocaine. I told my buddy, ‘Come on give me a hit, give me a hit.’ I am smoking the pipe, the pipe is full of blood. I am smoking, trying to get high, and here I am about to bleed to death.
When someone does not care about his or her own life, the ability to make it through painful withdrawal symptoms is limited. Consequently, the medically-monitored process of detox must be accompanied by therapy to assist addicts in a return to self-worth. Without a purpose, life will inevitably return to drug addiction.
The same is true for opiates, like heroin, morphine, and codeine. One recovering heroin addict shares his experience with the difficulty he’s seen in staying clean from opiates:
I have at times wished I was dead. That’s how severe it would be. I’ve seen people in jail try to hang themselves. I’ve seen people in jail shoot their own urine to try and get the heroin out of the urine that’s left in there.
People who do heroin aren’t worried about dying because like if three people die from a new batch of heroin, everybody wants to know where they are getting that heroin so they can go get some because it’s the best and they figure they will just do a little less.
Successfully completing drug detox, and staying clean from all drugs, takes work with a medically-monitored detoxification program immediately followed by an inpatient treatment program.
Prescription drug abuse and addiction have reached epidemic rates, so proper detoxification methods and treatment are constantly being improved. Just like with cocaine and heroin, staying clean from all prescription drugs is exceptionally difficult when physical or psychological dependence on the drug has developed.
Opioids (Vicodin, Norco, OxyContin), stimulants (Ritalin and Adderall), and central nervous system depressants (Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, and Xanax) are the most commonly abused prescription drugs, and require prescription drug detox and formal treatment.
These prescription drugs are just as addictive as the illicit drugs they were created to mimic.
An example of the hold prescription drugs have on a user’s life is the experience of this 43-year-old recovering Darvon addict:
After seven years of doing Darvon, I started having withdrawals after three to four hours from the last pill that I had taken, so I was addicted to my watch. Then it got to where it was like two hours, so I needed like 14 or 16 Darvon to get through the day.
Another example from a 37-year-old recovering prescription opioid addict shows just how hard it is to experience withdrawal from Vicodin or OxyContin, and why many attempts at quitting end in relapse:
I had been masking the pain for so long that I didn’t know how much pain I had or didn’t have, and when I didn’t really have pain, per se, that was pathological. I couldn’t deal with the slightest thing without drugs.
To find out how you, or someone you love, can stop using any illicit or pharmaceutical drug, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731 today. No one can do it alone. We have the proper referrals to detox and formal treatment centers that can break the cycle of abuse in your life. Call now!
Detoxification Centers & Formal Drug and Alcohol Treatment
The main reason drug and alcohol abusers and addicts finally choose to get clean is the aftermath of a majorly adverse life consequence. The proverbial “rock bottom” is one way addicts get into treatment. After a crisis occurs, like vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, a sentence of jail time, an irreversible medical diagnosis, or the loss of employment or of an important relationship, can trigger the admittance of a problem and the need for formal rehab.
Detoxification is the first step in effective substance abuse treatment. After the body and brain are free from all harmful toxins, the true work can begin. The brain is working on homeostasis, or the return to a balance of neurotransmitters that regulate mood, energy levels, sleeping and eating patterns, and clear thinking. The body is learning how to function without drugs and alcohol, and the individual is making choices that keep him or her clean and sober.
When detoxification ends, the best route is a direct admittance to a formal inpatient, residential treatment program. At this level of care, clients live and participate in therapeutic services at the same location. Clients are monitored and accounted for twenty-hours a day without any access to mind-altering substances, unless the individual chooses to leave the premises and to forego treatment.
New ways of coping without substances are introduced and practiced. Individual therapy sessions foster the creation of a treatment plan that can be evaluated and revised during each one-on-one session to ensure progress and growth while in treatment. Additionally, peer process groups hold clients accountable, offer a time to share difficult emotions, and can boost self-esteem when advice can be offered to another client based on one’s own experiences.
Generally 30, 60, 90, or 180 days are spent in the inpatient level of care before a client is ready to move on. The next step down can be to an outpatient substance abuse program that still follows the same treatment model, but offers more freedom and autonomy for newly recovering addicts and alcoholics. While some outpatient programs offer an accompanying sober living facility, often clients live off-site without twenty-four-hour monitorization. Clients must then choose to stay clean and sober, to attend outpatient services, and to form a sober network or community for ongoing support.
To begin the recovery process for you, or for someone you love, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731. With referrals to detoxification, inpatient, and outpatient substance abuse programs, you or your loved one can break the cycle of addiction and choose a new life!