Detox is a term which stands for detoxification and is a process in which harmful toxins are removed from your body from either short term or long term drug and/or alcohol abuse. There are many elements which need to be taken into consideration to know approximately how long detox will take and what side effects may be experienced by the individual going through the detoxification process. The kinds of drugs that have been used, the level of dependency a person has on those drugs, how long the drugs have been taken, age, physical health, etc. are all important factors in a detox program. Medical supervision is strongly advised for anyone going through detox for substance abuse as there are physical symptoms that will be experienced from withdrawal which can be agonizing and even dangerous.
Both the physical effects of withdrawal and psychological effects of the drug addiction must be addressed for a successful detoxification program and treatment plan. Detox is the first step to wellness once an individual has made up their mind to remove all traces of any drugs from their system and completely break the dependency they have to one or more drugs. This process may be extremely difficult for some people both physically and emotionally depending upon the severity of their drug use. Psychological healing is even more important than the physical aspects of detox because they will have to handle the physical effects of withdrawal, the symptoms of craving their drug of choice, and the emotional stresses of life without using drugs as a crutch.
Detoxification from opiates can be the most difficult. Prescription drugs and ones purchased on the street are highly addictive both physically and psychologically making it extremely difficult to stop. Detox from popular street drugs like cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, oxycontin, methamphetamines, Xanax and Vicodin can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks with severity of physical withdrawal based entirely on the types of drugs ingested, level of dependency and the individual's health and age.
Basic Steps for a Successful Detox Program:
1. In order to effectively detox your body you should seek a detox program offered by professionals who can provide a safe environment with medical supervision as well as psychological support and treatment. A medical team will assess your situation and all aspects of your situation before proceeding with a drug detox program.
Drug detox at home is never recommended as it is not safe and it is rarely successful. Withdrawal symptoms and/or cravings during withdrawal can be so fierce that a person can become capable of anything in order to stop the agony. Trained professionals know how to deal with such situations and can even use medically approved drugs in the detoxification process to lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms or wean the drug from the body. Family and/or friends who are doing everything possible to be supportive and help a drug addicted loved one to wellness should never be put in the position to have to deal with the emotional and physical aspects of withdrawal.
2. From the first several hours to possibly two or three days into the detox process withdrawal will be at its worst. This is a crucial time when medical assistance should be on hand to deal with the physical and emotional effects of withdrawal. The body and mind will want what it has been given for so long now and won't be happy that it's being taken away. Physical withdrawal symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, shaking, cramping, pain or aching, hot flashes, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and even hallucinations. Emotional effects of withdrawal may include moderate to severe irritability, depression, erratic or aggressive behavior, and uncontrollable cravings for a particular drug. For some, the emotional effects of withdrawal may be too much to handle resulting in violent behavior or a threat to harm themselves. The effects of withdrawal both physically and emotionally will vary by individual and may last as much as a few weeks.
3. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the duration of detox is based on how long it takes for complete stabilization of the patient's physical and emotional state to occur (withdrawal symptoms stop). After detox it will be extremely important for ongoing treatment to occur through inpatient or outpatient therapy with a rehab facility or with a trained professional to ensure the success of a drug-free lifestyle.