What Is Detox?

According to the dictionary, detox is “a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances” – which is essentially the purpose of medical detoxification from drugs or alcohol. In most instances, the addict or alcoholic has been engaging in drug use for a prolonged period of time, and has decided that he or she is ready to fully commit to recovery – to learning how to live a sober life free of drugs and alcohol. The first step into recovery is ridding one’s body of the chemicals it has been cluttered with over the years.

Can’t I Detox Myself?

It is very important that the addict does not attempt detoxification alone for several reasons. First of all, when an addict or alcoholic is attempting to withdraw from drugs or alcohol, it is not uncommon for the side effects to cause so much physical discomfort that one will begin using again before they are fully detoxed simply to diminish symptoms. Additionally, detoxing from prolonged drug use can be severely injurious in many instances – and sometimes lethal. Detoxing from extended daily alcohol use tends to be deadly if not carefully monitored. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include tremors, anxiety, increased heart rate, irritability, confusion, headache, and sweating. Severe withdrawal symptoms are referred to as delirium tremens, and include severe confusion and agitation, fever, seizures, and hallucinations (tactile, auditory, and visual).

Because symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are usually treated with sedatives, it is important that the process is observed and a professional distributes the medication. It is important that detoxing from drugs is supervised professionally for very similar reasons. In serious cases, detoxing from certain drugs can also cause severe symptoms such as seizures, though drug detox is usually limited to insomnia, depression, tremors, nausea and vomiting, headache, and other less lethal symptoms. Many detoxifications from prolonged drug use require prescription medication in order to wean off the illicit substance used, and because even maintenance drugs can be abused it is important a medical expert distributes them.

Drug and Alcohol Detox – What Should I Expect?

When admitting yourself to a drug or alcohol detox clinic, you can expect that the staff will make the experience as comfortable as possible for you, and that the groups that are frequently held in such clinics will introduce you to the atmosphere of a rehab center. It is important to remember, however, that drug detox in itself is not treatment, and without attending inpatient directly afterwards the likelihood of relapse skyrockets.

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