Choosing to stop drinking or using drugs can be both frightening and exciting. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may need medical detox. During this process, your body eliminates itself from the toxins associated with drugs and alcohol.
But how long does detox take? What should you expect during this process? Let's get into what you need to know.
What Is Detox?
In active addiction, your body becomes dependent on these substances to function. As a result, you develop greater tolerance, meaning you need to take more of them to achieve the desired effects.
When you stop taking the drugs, your body may enter a state of withdrawal. Withdrawal includes a cluster of physical and emotional symptoms. Typically, people experience discomfort, cravings, and mood swings during this time. Other common withdrawal symptoms include:
nausea or vomiting
temperature changes (alternating hot and cold flashes)
insomnia or other sleep-related issues
Symptoms can range in severity, but they can be distressing enough to cause a relapse. In severe cases, detox can result in seizures or psychotic symptoms.
Detox provides stabilization, monitoring, and evaluation. You will be in a structured medical setting receiving 24/7 care. Trained staff can support you if you're struggling with concerning symptoms or acute medical needs.
How Long Does Detox Take?
The initial phase of detox includes a comprehensive medical evaluation. You may receive medication during this time to ease withdrawal symptoms. Medication-assisted treatment can help alleviate some of the discomfort and help you with sleep, digestion, mood, and cravings.
During this time, you may also be assigned a case manager. This case manager will create a treatment plan for your care. They can also provide you with coping skills and support during this time.
The length of detox depends on numerous factors, including:
the types of substances in your body
previous experiences of detox
how long you have been using drugs or alcohol
physical health status
In most cases, detox lasts for a few days to about one week. Your medical staff wants to ensure that you are stabilized adequately before discharging you. Keep in mind that people often enter this process while under the influence, although some may already be in a withdrawal state.
What Happens After Detox?
Typically speaking, detox ends after the body has rid itself of all traces of drugs and alcohol. However, it should be noted that detox is not a substitute for treatment. Detox is just the point of entry towards a sustainable recovery.
Your detox facility will provide you with referrals and support for your next phase of treatment. Depending on your needs, they may recommend either inpatient, partial hospitalization, or outpatient care. The level of care will depend on the severity of your addiction and your individual circumstances.
When Should You Seek Detox?
There isn't a perfect time to enter treatment. If you think you have a drug or alcohol problem, that acknowledgment is the first step. It takes courage and honesty to recognize your struggles.
People typically benefit from detox if they struggle with:
severe alcohol or benzodiazepine addiction (as withdrawal complications can be fatal).
acute mental health issues.
lack of reliable support (i.e., you live with other people using drugs).
the persistent inability to cut back or stop using on your own.
If you aren't sure, a qualified treatment professional will determine your eligibility for detox. Be sure to ask them about their approach to detox, if they work with licensed healthcare providers (medical doctors, psychiatrists, licensed therapists), and how they support clients completing their care.
If you plan on using your health insurance to subsidize costs, you will need to provide your insurance information. Subsequently, many detox facilities offer sliding scale rates, cash-pay options, and financing. There are also non-profit centers available in many locations.
Finally, remember that you don't need to wait until things worsen before seeking care. If you have even the slightest inkling that you're struggling with drugs or alcohol, it's worth reaching out.
Addiction is a progressive disease that rarely gets better on its own. Preventing future problems now can offer a tremendous advantage in your recovery.
Detox can be an uncomfortable experience, but it's often a necessary step towards your recovery. Detox can provide you with the safety and support you need during an extremely vulnerable time.
At The Resurface Group, we help our clients find happiness and fulfillment in their recoveries. We support long-term wellness, and we are here for you and your loved ones. Contact us today to learn more.