It’s common to talk about getting “clean and sober” in rehab. And there’s a reason clean comes first in that saying—you can’t achieve recovery with drugs or alcohol in your system. That’s why the importance of medical detox programs can’t be overlooked when you are considering rehabilitation treatment for yourself or a loved one.
Detox treatment is a process that clears substances from your body. You become healthier and medically stabilized. This gives you the physical and mental fortitude to put in the work involved in recovery.
However, the detoxification process isn’t a matter of going cold turkey. There’s a risk of serious withdrawal symptoms if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol. That’s when medically supervised detox is advisable, so your symptoms can be safely managed by healthcare professionals. It’s helpful to understand what the process is all about before entering rehab so you can be best prepared. Learn more about detox and the role it plays in alcohol or drug addiction treatment.
What is Detox Treatment for Drugs and Alcohol?
Detox starts before the true work of recovery can begin. During this time, you’ll be weaned from the substances you are addicted to. This can be difficult if you’ve developed a tolerance and dependency on drugs or alcohol. Your body has grown used to the substances and will feel intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms once the substances are no longer in your system.
The detoxification process can be uncomfortable at best or potentially life-threatening at its worst. You’ll be in the best hands with medical professionals who are experienced in detox all along that spectrum. They know how to manage the array of symptoms you may experience while also ensuring your safety and comfort.
Detoxification Process – What is Detox From Drugs & Alcohol Like?
You’ll likely be required to complete a detox program before entering inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment. It’s natural to wonder, what is detox like? The best programs will clearly outline what you can expect and answer all of your questions so you know what is ahead.
Detox looks different for each person, so it’s necessary to develop an individualized treatment plan for every patient. To do this, you’ll be physically and psychologically assessed before detox begins. You’ll also be asked to supply a general health history, as well as your history of substance abuse.
Patients undergoing detox treatment are typically housed in a facility dedicated specifically to this purpose. Detox is overseen by a team of medical professionals such as physicians and nurses. A psychiatrist may also be on staff to handle symptoms related to mental health or offer patient counseling. The medical team usually provides patient supervision around the clock, and will regularly monitor vital signs and overall health to ensure detox is working.
In some cases, the substance addiction may be at an advanced stage. That’s when medication management may be employed to reduce the intensity of cravings and withdrawal. Prescription medications such as methadone or naltrexone are given while the drugs or alcohol are eliminated. The medical experts carefully oversee medication management to watch for any side effects or other issues that might require recalibrating the dosage.
The length of time for detox can vary from person to person. It typically lasts about a week, but it could be shorter or longer. This depends on the type of substance, the duration of the abuse or addiction, and the patient’s overall health. Once the detox program is complete, you can move forward into the recovery portion of your treatment plan.
Substances That Require Medical Detox
There are many types of substances that require medically supervised detox. A sure sign that you’ll need detox is when your substance abuse has intensified over the years, meaning you need more and more of it, on a more frequent basis, to get through your day. This signifies you have developed tolerance and dependency, which are two clear warning signs that you have substance use disorder. This disorder is an umbrella term that covers everything from mild substance abuse to addiction.
Here are some of the substances that are typically targeted in detox programs:
- Opioids/opiates: heroin, oxycodone (OxyContin®), fentanyl, hydrocodone (Vicodin®), morphine, codeine
- Benzodiazepines: diazepam (Valium®), clonazepam (Klonopin®), alprazolam (Xanax®)
- Stimulants: cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, ecstasy, prescription stimulants (Ritalin®, Adderall®)
These substances can produce a variety of withdrawal symptoms, depending on your type of addiction.
During the detoxification process, you may experience:
- Body aches or spasms
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mood swings, including irritability and anger
- Depression or anxiety
- Elevated heart rate
- Fever, with chills or sweating
- Mental fogginess, such as forgetfulness or the inability to focus
- Stomach cramps
- Lack of pleasure
- Nerve pain
Certain situations, such as advanced alcohol addiction, may trigger dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as hallucinations, seizures, and delirium.
With symptoms such as these, it’s wise to seek treatment with a highly qualified, medically-based detox program that puts a premium on patient safety.
When Can You Detox on Your Own?
Essentially, it’s never wise to detox on your own. You can’t predict the severity or number of withdrawal symptoms you may have. If you’re unprepared for detoxing on your own, you may be so uncomfortable that you quit the process and go back to your substance abuse. Even worse, your symptoms may be so painful that you end up requiring emergency medical attention. It doesn’t matter if you quit cold turkey or try to taper down your drug or alcohol use—detox treatment is best left to professionals.
Typically, detox programs can be found at most inpatient addiction rehabilitation facilities. Additionally, you may be able to detox through an outpatient treatment program. This is another reason why you shouldn’t detox on your own—you need a supervised program that’s part of rehab so you can focus on recovery, which is essential for achieving and maintaining sobriety.
Symptoms of Addiction Requiring Detox Treatment
The more often you use drugs or alcohol, the greater the risk of tolerance and dependency that leads to addiction. Here are some of the most common warning signs that your substance abuse has progressed to the point where detox and recovery is needed for your health and well-being:
- Regular drug or alcohol use, to the point you rely on it to get through the day.
- Intense cravings during the periods in between substance use.
- A need to take more of the substance each time to try and replicate the initial high.
- Most of your time is spent thinking about ways to get and take your substance of choice.
- Loss of interest in hobbies, relationships, or the daily responsibilities of work, family, or school.
- Inability to stop drug or alcohol use, even when you know it’s bad for you.
- Indulging in risky behavior that could harm yourself or someone else.
- Financial or legal trouble that stems from your substance abuse.
- A messy, unkempt appearance due to a lack of interest in basic self-care.
- Exhaustion or fatigue, which can lead to isolation.
- Lying to friends and family to cover up the extent of your substance abuse.
- Physical signs such as unexplained weight loss, bloodshot eyes, dental problems, or an increase in colds or illness due to a weakened immune system.
- Cognitive issues such as a lack of focus, memory loss, or confusion.
- Mental health problems including anxiety, depression, or inexplicable mood swings.
If you recognize these signs in your life, or in the life of someone you love, don’t wait to seek detox treatment with Stonegate Center. We offer comprehensive and compassionate medical detox in Texas.
Why Choose Stonegate Center
Stonegate Center is a trusted, experienced provider of addiction treatment in Texas including medically supervised detox. Our program meets the high standards of the ASAM Criteria set by the American Society of Addiction Medication.
We use sound, evidence-based detox treatment modalities, combined with a faith-based approach to care. As a result, we offer a uniquely safe and supportive atmosphere during a potentially difficult stage of treatment. Medical directors supervise our detox program, which is staffed by highly trained medical personnel who are on call 24/7. Medication management, psychiatric consultations, and therapy sessions are all components of detox here.
Stonegate Center also strives to make you as comfortable as possible during detox at our ranch in Azle, Texas. Our gender-separate facilities feature private bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as nutritious chef-prepared meals.
We walk your recovery journey with you every step of the way, and that includes the detoxification process. We’re to help you when you are ready to take the courageous first move towards sobriety. Contact us to learn more about detox treatment at Stonegate Center and get insurance verification for rehab.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction & pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center to the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.