Often, the barrier that keeps individuals from pursuing a life in recovery is the knowledge that the first step—withdrawal and detox—is mentally taxing and physically and psychologically demanding. The detox process can be very painful and even create or exacerbate risks to your health, especially when you attempt it without medical supervision during withdrawals. So why do so many people attempt to do it on their own?
There are so many potentials for things to go wrong when choosing to pursue sobriety and beginning withdrawal and detoxification. The process itself can be dangerous when you have not prepared yourself with a supportive community and an appropriate environment. Detox can also worsen preexisting health conditions or cause a return to drug or alcohol abuse if not handled properly. Sometimes even mild symptoms, like fever or insomnia, can prevent someone from following through with their detox plan, potentially worsening the addiction.
The act of abstaining from use is the first step, but it is only the very beginning of the recovery process. Having a medically supervised detox can be the right choice to make sure that your first step into recovery actually starts you on the path towards where you want to be.
What to Expect
Withdrawal generally begins within eight to 24 hours of last substance consumption, sometimes sooner. Depending on the substance and how long it has been used, withdrawal can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Being aware of the potential reactions the body may go through can help to prepare you for the detox process.
Some of the foremost commonly experienced withdrawal symptoms include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- An intense craving for the drug
- Depression or anxiety
- An increased or irregular heart rate
- Increased irritability
- Confused thinking or difficulty with concentration
- Sleeping problems (such as insomnia)
- Muscle soreness or stiffness
- Headaches, sweating or fever
The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the type of drugs used, the longevity of use, and the overall history of substance abuse. No matter where you detox, withdrawal symptoms will be uncomfortable, but they don’t have to be unsafe. Under medical supervision, professionals will monitor your vital signs and provide medication-assisted treatment that can help keep you more comfortable.
Medical and Mental Supervision
The strain detox puts on the body is extreme and significant. Facilities with medically supervised detox options offer a safe environment for substance recovery, where individuals experiencing severe withdrawals are medically monitored and experience fewer environmental triggers to use. In this type of medically supervised setting, the option for tapering or using medication to decrease symptoms is also available to ease the discomfort.
The detoxification process is just as difficult—sometimes even more so—on mental stability as the body. For this reason, medically supervised detox will often include access to additional support staff, holistic treatment, and ongoing care to get you through the worst symptoms.
While medical supervision during withdrawals can help keep those in early recovery safe and comfortable, it is not a long-term addiction treatment plan. It’s crucial to continue with recovery treatment immediately following the detoxification process.
At Washburn House addiction treatment center in Worcester, Massachusetts, we offer both detox and residential treatment to allow individuals to move seamlessly from one level of care to another. We are constantly enhancing and crafting our techniques to provide our clients with the best therapeutic options possible. Contact us today at 844-859-5124 to learn more about our programs, or connect your loved one with the life-saving treatment we offer.