When we think of drug addiction recovery, we often think of detox as the only component. Detox is a principle of forcing the drug addict’s body to live without drugs by preventing him or her from taking them. Moreover, while it is a necessary element in conquering any addiction, it is not the only one. Other components include counselling and group support.
The thing to understand about drug detox is that it’s never a comfortable thing. Total withdrawal can take anywhere between three and five days, while the addict may not even feel ‘normal’ again for a week or more. Yet despite its unpleasantness, it is something that must be done if the drug addict wants to regain control over his or her life.
Why Detox Is Unpleasant
When an individual uses illicit or OTC drugs, those drugs alter the way the human body acts and reacts. Often times this results in either temporary or permanent physical damage to various body parts. The reason detox is unpleasant is because it exposes the damage done along with all of the symptoms of that damage.
Detox is also terribly unpleasant from the mental and emotional standpoint as well. Let’s face it, drug addicts become mentally and emotionally dependent upon their drugs in order to make them feel good. When the drugs are taken away, emotional and mental collapse is a normal part of the equation.
How It Works
There are two primary methods by which doctors and clinics practice detox. They are:
- Intervention (Medical) Method – The drug intervention method involves slowly weaning the addict from their drug of choice by using approved medications. The medications take the edge off withdrawal symptoms and, in some cases, eliminate those symptoms completely. That said, the intervention method does take longer than its non-intervention counterpart does.
- Non-intervention Method – The opposite of medical intervention is non-intervention. This type of treatment involves giving the addict no maintenance medications for gentle weaning. If any medications are given, they are for the sole purpose of taking the edge off the symptoms. For most people, withdrawal symptoms peak somewhere around the second or third day of treatment.
Some people prefer detox to rehabilitation because it can be completed in little more than a week. For the person who needs to rid themself of their drugs quickly and completely, a drug detox is a good option. However, long-term help should also be sought.
The one disadvantage of detox alone is that it does not get to the core issues of why a drug addict uses drugs to begin with. It only deals with the actual, physical dependence on drugs. In order to achieve the greatest chances of success, detox should be either included with rehabilitation or followed up with appropriate aftercare.
If you recognise drug addiction in yourself or a loved one, we encourage you to consider detox treatment. We have connections with the top detox programs in the country, so we can help you find the right program for you. The main thing you need to know right now is that you should not wait.
For every day the addict does not go through detox he or she is increasing their chances of irreparable harm from his drug addiction. And remember, addiction does not affect just the drug user. It affects everyone around them including loved ones, co-workers, and society as a whole.