Detox, or drug detoxification, is an important first step in the addiction recovery process. To someone who hasn’t had personal experience with addiction, it may be difficult to appreciate how much work has to go into the secession of a substance in spite of deep dependence. Many people struggling with addiction issues try to stop or control their use, but find that going “cold turkey” is so unpleasant that they relapse just to feel normal again. This is because long-term substance abuse affects the brain and the body in ways that it can be difficult to function. A period of time is needed to allow the body to recalibrate itself. With careful attention and rest, the body can start a remarkable process of self-healing that can empower you to begin a life of sobriety.
Two Stages To Detoxing From Drugs:
Long-term drug use can do great harm to the body, and so the goal of detox is to allow for physiological healing. This is accomplished through two different stages.
Stabilization is the first phase, taking care of and treating the most severe withdrawal symptoms, until things have calmed down enough so the person receiving treatment can rest. Within a few hours of taking the last dose of a drug, there are number of issues that can arise that need immediate attention. While it is rare for the early detox process to be life-threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable. Here are the issues that may arise, with the most urgent issues needing treatment first.
- High stress or anxiety to the point of being in danger to harm self or others.
- Psychosis, visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations that make it difficult to tell what is “real”
- Physical injuries resulting from high-risk behavior committed while under the influence.
- Medical illnesses
- Depression, to the point of being at risk to harm self.
Detoxification is the second phase, starting after the need for urgent treatment has subsided, and continuing until the withdrawal process is complete. As the body rids itself of the drugs, the focus is on monitoring and supporting the body’s natural healing abilities. In addition, care is provided for the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. While the symptoms and treatment may be more minor, they are still important to insure a full healing from the effects of substance abuse, so the person receiving treatment can be fully equipped to begin the sobriety process after.
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