Your Guide to Drug Detox:
Risks and Tips for Safe Withdrawal
By Luke Douglas
The very first step towards healing from addiction is recognizing and admitting that you have a problem. Addiction is certainly not something to be taken lightly, and it requires professional help, consistent treatment and monitoring, and medical attention in a range of different forms. Once you begin the process of recovery, which includes drug detoxification to start cleansing your body of the substance in question, there are a myriad of symptoms you can expect to encounter on your way to full recovery. One of the most severe issues that make this process so challenging is drug withdrawal.
Understanding what happens in your mind and body during this time is pivotal in order to create and implement a safe detox plan, together with many at-home remedies that can help you go through this process. Make sure to consult your doctor for each and every aspect of your recovery, and use these tips to make sure you’re on the right track with your program.
What the detox process involves
First of all, it’s important to note that the detox process is a complex one and it differs from one person to another, but it also depends on the drug in question. Also, the length of the process will vary, as each substance can have a different effect on your system, and the duration of your drug use will impact the detox and the withdrawal as well. However, there are certain commonalities that all kinds of detox share, and educating yourself on what to expect can help you prepare better and brace yourself for the challenge that lies ahead.
- The evaluation stage – This is the very first step in your treatment when your medical team can help you assess the severity of addiction, the most adequate way forward, and your overall health and wellbeing.
- The stabilization stage – This is the period during which you will experience drug withdrawal symptoms, which means that you’ll need proper supervision and medical treatment to help you ease the symptoms in question. As your body slowly goes through this stage of the detox period, you’ll also prepare for the next step.
- The transition stage – Rehabilitation takes time and patience, and a long-term plan, but it all begins as your body recuperates from the detox process. This is when you implement the actual life-long efforts of preventing relapses and other drug issues with the help of the right rehab program.
Common withdrawal symptoms
As necessary and beneficial as it is, the detox process also comes with its own side-effects and issues that make the journey more difficult. It’s best to learn as much as possible about the symptoms of drug withdrawal, to make sure you know what to expect and how to manage each symptom properly and with care. Since all of the substances that lead to addiction cause a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms, your own reaction may involve some, while excluding others.
Physical symptoms often include nausea, vomiting, fever-like symptoms, headaches, which are all considered mild. In case of heavy drug use, withdrawal may include hallucinations, seizures, and sometimes even delirium tremens in heavy alcohol users. Narcotics can often lead to similar symptoms, plus a range of other emotional problems such as depression and anxiety, as well as mood swings. Of course, milder symptoms can come and go and can be easier to handle, such as fatigue, irritability, and sometimes insomnia and occasional cravings related to the drug in question.
Structuring a routine
While there are inpatient and outpatient treatment options depending on the severity of addiction and withdrawal, they all share certain steps that help each patient overcome their addiction in the most wholesome way. One such step is the creation of a daily routine that revolves around self-care, and it includes establishing different healthy habits through a regulated timetable to allow your body and mind time to rest and recover while you also rebuild your health through self-care.
The structure of that routine will depend on your lifestyle and your living environment, but it generally involves introducing light exercise into your day, healthy meals based on whole foods, practices such as meditation, and pain management if necessary. Regular visits to a doctor and a counselor are also necessary even for outpatient programs so that someone can monitor and track your progress and adapt your routine as you move forward.
Ultimately, every single person struggling with addiction and recovery needs family support, love, and care. Socialization during the recovery process is one of those vital components that help you feel like a member of your family as well as your community, and they reassure you that you’re not alone even during the worst of times.
When you experience cravings, emotional issues, or you simply need someone to talk to, sometimes a close friend or a family member can help as much as a trained professional to calm you down and remind you of your value and your progress.
Drug detox and withdrawal are merely stepping stones to long-term health and an addiction-free life. Make sure to educate yourself on each stage of this journey so that you can prepare yourself properly and stay on the right track towards a long, healthy life.