Addiction Recovery

What To Expect From A Drug And Alcohol Detox

What To Expect From A Drug And Alcohol Detox
Written by Guest Author

Drug and alcohol detox is seen as a common part of any long-term treatment. The concept behind a detox is to tackle the main problem – the substance itself. It is a necessary step taken against addiction to rid the body of the harmful substance and to get the patient to stabilize. Detoxification can be used as a stand-alone treatment, but it is most commonly used as a part of the full rehab program, and not without reason.

In some cases, detoxification alone is not enough to rid the psychological dependency created by the addiction but medical detoxification, such as Charleston detox services can provide an individual with a safe, and comfortable environment to further their journey towards sobriety. The process starts with evaluating and screening incoming patients according to their physical and mental state, then reviewing their medical and psychiatric histories and creating a treatment plan for the patient. After which, the process of stabilization, i.e, detoxification – begins. 

Understanding the Substance Detox Process

It is important to know that not every individual has to go through detoxification, it depends upon a number of factors that cannot be generalized. However, the patient and their loved ones need to understand that detoxification means getting worse before getting better. During detox, the patient is withdrawn from their addiction, which leads to a sudden drop in the chemicals the brain heavily relied on. As this happens, the person starts experiencing withdrawal symptoms and in some cases – starts getting aggressive or worse.

What Withdrawal Symptoms You Should Expect

Depending on the addiction, the type of symptoms may vary from patient to patient. In general, withdrawal symptoms will give the opposite sensation of what the patient felt when taking that drug. During detox, the symptoms can either be physical or psychological, therefore, performing a detox in a professional setting is crucial. Common Alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms during detox can be some of the following:

  • Sweating a lot and getting teary-eyed
  • Feel nauseated and might get a runny nose.
  • Hot and cold flushes.
  • The patient might experience diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Muscle tension, cramps, aches are common.
  • Increase in appetite, heart rate, and blood pressure.
  • Irritability, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, delirium, and more.
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The patient might also be unable to concentrate and become restless with time. It is important to know that the process of detoxification is essential to proper recovery, and tackling withdrawal symptoms is only one part of the process. Enduring the withdrawal symptoms during the process is one of the reasons why some people who have developed opioid dependence would instead prefer to undergo detox using the rapid opiate detox method.

The Expected Timeline of a Detox

During the detox process, it is not uncommon for the patient to start showcasing withdrawal symptoms as close as two hours of not having the substance. Luckily, the first week of detox is where the most painful symptoms begin to exhibit, and later the body slowly adapts. While there’s no fixed schedule as to when the first withdrawal symptom would be demonstrated, the general detox timeline can be expected as below:

The First 6 to 12 Hours in Detox

The first few hours are the most difficult ones, patients start experiencing that the signs of the drugs are beginning to wear off. In most cases, this is when the state begins to worsen as the remaining chemicals start wearing off and the person starts getting headaches, nausea, anxiety, and becomes easily irritable.

The First Day into the Detox

After 24 hours have passed, the remaining traces of the drug stabilizing the patient are most likely out of their symptoms. This is when the drug and alcohol dependency kicks in and the withdrawal symptoms become increasingly severe. The patient becomes aggressive and disoriented, experiences tremors, and might even get seizures.

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The Second Day into the Detox

Much like day one, day two is also where the patient would experience painful withdrawal symptoms. At this stage, numerous withdrawal symptoms are being exhibited by the body, the patient might hallucinate and get panic attacks as the last traces of the chemical leave the body.

The third to Seven Days into the Detox

Different symptoms might come and go as time progresses. During this period, the patient is strictly monitored to halt any life-threatening symptoms like delirium tremens. The person can experience insomnia, impaired respiration, muscle aches, and more.

After the First Week of Detox

This is the stage when the storm begins to pass and the patient starts to experience acute withdrawal symptoms. Much of the severe and painful symptoms are now no longer there, and only a few of them would recur for a couple of weeks. During this stage, medication is prescribed to deal with the acute withdrawal symptoms. While other forms of treatment are given to handle long-lasting symptoms.

Is the Detox Over?

Once the patient is completely free of the substance, the first step of the recovery process, i.e, detox, is complete. However, it is important to know that detox is the initial step of a long-term recovery plan and would most likely be followed up with behavioral counseling, medication, therapies, and frequent evaluations of the treatment plan. 


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