Detoxing is one of the most important parts of the recovery process because you have to go through detox before you can get started properly on the road to recovery. If you have struggled with addiction for a while, the prospect of detox can seem very frightening. The fear of going through withdrawal is part of what often keeps people stuck in addiction. It’s understandable to be anxious about starting a detox. However, the more you know about the detoxing process, the less afraid of it you will be, and the safer you will be. Here are the five things you should know about it.
Every substance is different
Every substance will have different symptoms of withdrawal and a different withdrawal timeline. If you are depending on more than one substance, this will complicate the process further. Typically, the withdrawal symptoms are the opposite of the effect of the drug itself. For example, alcohol or benzos will calm you down, so withdrawal from these will make you anxious and agitated. Cocaine makes you feel hyped up, whereas withdrawal makes you depressed and unable to concentrate.
The timeline of withdrawal can often be very different for different substances too. Detoxing from heroin can take around a week, but detoxing from benzos can take months to be done safely. Most drugs take a week or so for acute withdrawal, but the course of symptoms can differ.
Every person is different
As well as the differences in substances, everyone will experience detox a little differently. In the same way that some people are more sensitive to pain than others, some people will experience more severe experiences of withdrawal. Some people might feel a little irritable or experience insomnia, whereas others may struggle with vomiting or seizures. Younger usually experience milder symptoms, but this isn’t guaranteed.
The worst symptoms may be delayed
Some people can get through the first couple of days of detox, thinking it won’t be too bad, only to then get hit by the worst symptoms after a few days. This is mostly a problem if you are trying to detox at home. You might become very disoriented or be unable to function, which makes it hard to get emergency help. This is dangerous, so you should have someone looking after you during this process.
Detox can be dangerous
Detoxing from substances like opioids or cocaine can be very unpleasant, but it is not usually dangerous. Some drugs, however, do have withdrawal symptoms that are dangerous. Alcohol, benzos, and barbiturates can have withdrawal symptoms including seizures, psychosis, or even death.
Any detox should be undertaken only under medical advice. If you are giving up benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or serious alcohol addiction, medical detox is the safest way to go.
Detox is only the beginning
Detox is only the beginning of treatment. You can’t do much recovering until you have stopped using the substance. A good detox program can help you to get through it quickly and improve your health ready for treatment.