Top 4 Questions Asked about Drug Detox

If you have made the wonderful decision to get seek professional treatment for your drug addiction, you probably wonder what happens next. “Getting help” is a pretty vague statement, and most people new to recovery don't realize that the first step needs to be a drug detox.

What is "Drug Detox"?

Drug detox"detoxification" – is the guided process where a recently-recovering addict abstains from using drugs while their body physically purges itself. During this time, which can be days or even weeks, the person is closely monitored by a professional medical and support staff that provides safe relief for any withdrawal symptoms.

So…It’s Just “Quitting Drugs?”

Not quite. Unfortunately, drug detox involves a bit more than just “quitting drugs”. The disease of addiction is both physical AND mental, and the two are irrevocably intertwined. Drug detox addresses the physical component of addiction, while professional drug rehabilitation further deals with the mental part. Active addiction actually changes the person's brain, particularly those parts involved in processing reward, pleasure, memory, learning, impulse control, and decision-making. Chronic drug abusers train their brain to only feel pleasure when they are using. Normalizing this sensation, their brain creates an irresistible compulsion that is even more powerful than biological urges like the sex drive or hunger. To be clear, the MENTAL compulsion is driven by the PHYSICAL and neurochemical changes and is virtually impossible to overcome while those changes still exist. By abstaining, the recovering addict gives their brain time to start returning to normal. And  once the compulsion is eliminated, or at least reduced to a tolerable level, the mental part of recovery – drug rehab – can truly begin.

How Long Does Drug Detox Take?

The length of drug detox depends on a few factors:

  • The drug of choice – Drug detox ranges in duration from a few days to a few weeks, because individual substances have different effects on the the brain.
  • Personal history – The longer the addiction, the greater the dependence.
  • The individual—Overall health, age, medical conditions, etc.

Can I Drug Detox on My Own?

Self-detox is DEFINITELY not recommended, for two very important reasons. Firstly, it is extremely unlikely that you will complete the detox process on your own. Even with professional help, drug detox is  a very unpleasant experience, due to painful withdrawal symptoms:

  • headache
  • difficulty concentrating
  • loss of appetite
  • clammy skin
  • excessive sweating
  • rapid heartbeat
  • severe anxiety
  • depression
  • extreme irritability
  • chronic fatigue
  • insomnia
  • muscle aches
  • cramps
  • tremors
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

These symptoms can last for weeks or even months, and many newly-sober addicts relapse because of the unpleasantness.And those are just the “mild” symptoms.Secondly, some drugs – specifically, alcohol and benzodiazepine tranquilizers–should NEVER be  quit "cold turkey". Abrupt cessation is extremely dangerous and can even be fatal. This is a particular risk for older addicts or those that are in poor health. In a drug detox facility, each person's withdrawal is closely monitored for (1) safety, and (2), management of withdrawal symptoms. Often, the best way to assure both is by the use of FDA-approved medications.

Getting the Help You Need

Seeking help for drug addiction is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your family, and your future. The first step was admitting the problem. Now, your next step is to get physically clean,  so you can move forward in recovery.If you live in Southern California, your best resource to detox safely and to receive top quality addiction recovery services is Chapman House Treatment Centers.  Since 1978 Chapman House has been considered one of the best drug rehab programs in Orange County, California.  With a unique approach grounded in the latest scientific and medical evidence, Chapman House can help you break free from the chains of mental illness and substance abuse.To get more information and to begin your own personal journey of recovery, contact Chapman House TODAY.


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