A detox, detoxification, or withdrawal is the process of eliminating all chemicals and toxins from the body that remain after substance abuse.
It starts when you stop taking the drug you have become reliant on. The aim of a drug detox is to break the bond between the user and the substance they abuse.
How does detoxing affect my body?
After a few hours without a dosage, the effects of the drug begin to wear off and the body begins to realise that there is not another dose coming. It will then begin the healing process.
Most people will experience a range of withdrawal symptoms throughout the detoxification. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea, vomiting, or shaking. The type of withdrawal symptoms experienced, and the severity of them will depend on the type of drugs used and how long the abuse lasted. The symptoms have often been described as being close to that of the flu.
These changes occur because your body starts to crave the drug; when you take it away the consequences can be severe. If you continue to abuse the drug, the consequences may be fatal.
How does detoxing affect my mind?
Let’s be honest. Detoxification is not fun!
Detoxification and the symptoms of withdrawal can be dangerous. It is also important to understand that it is not possible to tell who will experience the worst symptoms of detox before it begins. Detoxing in a supervised facility is the best option for most people.
Mental withdrawal symptoms much like physical symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe in nature. The mild symptoms can begin around six to twelve hours after you have had your last drug. Mild symptoms include headaches and mood swings.
Symptoms can progress, you may begin to experience intense cravings, trouble sleeping, and even hallucinations. While hallucinations are not dangerous themselves, they can be to the people around you. Mental frightening for the patient as well as anyone else present progress. In no experience of the detoxification process.
Severe symptoms may include seizures, convulsions, and paranoid delusions, where the patient may become violent or aggressive towards others or tries to hurt themselves or those in attendance.
What Happens After Detox?
While not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that you enter treatment immediately after detoxing.
Detox facilities provide resources to help you transition to treatment facilities. Often, inpatient rehabilitation centres incorporate an initial period of detox into their program. This design creates a seamless transition from detox to ongoing treatment.
Treatment after detox can range from inpatient treatment to outpatient programs and support groups. Treatment can include more than one of these, and you can often move from intense treatment options to the less intensive programs throughout your recovery journey.
Options for treatment following detox include:
- Inpatient residential
- Individual counselling
- Group counselling
- Support groups
- 12-Step programs
- Sober living house
Getting help with a detox
For those who are worried about detoxification, the withdrawal symptoms and how difficult it is going to be. It is best to consider detoxing in a dedicated facility, where experienced staff are on hand to monitor your progress.
In a dedicated facility, you will be safer as the staff can often prevent the worst of the symptoms from occurring. They do this by providing nutritional supplements or medication, if appropriate. Medical professionals will oversee the administration of any medication for patients and will only dispense these if it is in the best interest of the patient.