When you are an addict your body becomes dependent on the substance that you are addicted to and when this happens you no longer care about what the addiction is doing to your body but rather worry about how you are going to get your next “fix”. When there are insufficient amounts of the drug in your system, your body reacts by telling your brain that you need more to achieve that feeling your body craves so badly. Drugs are toxic no matter which way you look at it and those wishing to come off their dependency are faced with having to go through detoxification and withdrawals. This detox process and withdrawals is what causes many addicts to “fall off the bus” but if they can get through this first process then they are well on the way to recovery.
The Detox Process
For most addictions, detoxification is the first step on the road to recovery. The main purpose for detoxification is the fact that your body needs to be cleared of all the toxins that have built up through your substance abuse. If your body is not cleared of all the drug toxins, you will never be able to overcome the cravings long enough to complete the rehabilitation process. Trying to do a home detox is not advisable as you might not have full control over the withdrawals that come with any detoxification process. The best option is always to detox under medical supervision and this is where rehabilitation centers come in. While in rehab you are taken through the necessary steps to recovery under the watchful eye of experienced personnel that are there to get you through in the best possible way and with the greatest amount of care. These professionals are there to prepare you for the detox process. They prepare you ahead of time so you know what to expect when your body goes into withdrawals. At Michael’s House they believe in the medical supervision.
Detox should take place under medical supervision. Because of the withdrawal symptoms an individual is likely to experience during detox, being in the care of a medical professional provides a “safe place” to go through that difficult period, and lessens the chance of relapsing into the drug abuse.
As you detox your body will react by exuding withdrawal symptoms thus the added need for professional care.
Types Of Detox
There are primarily two types of detox, Outpatient and Inpatient. The one that is least recommended is the outpatient detox says one Rehab referral.
It is rare that this is recommended, but in some cases where medication available by prescription or a methadone clinic will provide acceptable detox care, then an outpatient program may be a good choice. In instances where money is an issue or the patient must stay engaged at work or home, coming into an outpatient detox program regularly will provide adequate treatment.
The most popular and successful detox is the Inpatient detox. This is where patients are admitted to a rehab facility where they are away from the temptation of the drugs and can be supervised during the withdrawal process. Here the patient will also have their psychological issues addressed in order for them to make a full recovery.
A person’s reaction to the detox process varies depending on the length of the addiction as well as the substance the patient is addicted to. Some patients might become violent while others might have milder withdrawal symptoms like nausea and headaches. Those that exude extreme aggressive behavior will be treated separate from other patients and in some cases staff may need to use restraints or sedatives to protect the patient from harming themselves or the medical staff as well. So what is the physical evidence of withdrawal? These can include agitation, mood swings, irritability, insomnia and then profuse sweating, tremors, chills, headaches, nausea, vomiting and flu-like symptoms as well. It all depends on what drugs you have been taking and whether or not you are dealing with a combination of issues like addiction and a mental disorder perhaps. For depressants such as barbiturates the withdrawal therapy is usually a gradual down scaling of the drug possibly with the addition of medication to help stabilize nerves cells during the detox process. Serious symptoms during this process may include hallucinations, tremors and increases in heart rate, blood pressure and temperature. For stimulants the Mayo Clinic suggests the following:
In some cases, signs and symptoms may include suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, paranoia, and decreased contact with reality (acute psychosis). Treatment during withdrawal is usually limited to emotional support from your family, friends and doctor. Your doctor may recommend medications to treat paranoid psychosis or depression.
For Opioids such as Heroin, Morphine and Codeine, side effects range from minor flu like symptoms to more severe rapid breathing, abdominal cramps, muscle pain and diarrhea. In these cases the medical team might administer a substitute opioid to help with the recovery process.
Coping Through The Process
There can never be enough emphasis placed on the importance of the support function of family and friends during the whole rehabilitation process. Overcoming an addiction is no easy task and it takes a serious effort over a long period of time to accomplish a great result. With the right support in place the addict has the added advantage in his/her success. Whilst in the rehab facility there are psychologists and therapists that work with the patient but the need for additional support becomes critical once the recovering addict returns home and begins to function within the mainstream society again. There are many support groups available to you and if family and friends are there to care for and support them then the task is that much easier. Being accountable to someone for your actions helps to keep you from veering off the path and this support group is extremely important to you and is also able to foresee and possibly prevent a relapse from occurring.