It is extremely common for people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol to go through withdrawal after quitting. Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable at best and life threatening at worst. They can include a wide range of physical, psychological and emotional symptoms. Sometimes, detoxing feels like a terrible case of the stomach flu. In other cases, crippling depression and exhaustion overwhelm the recovering addict.
A detox program is the first step toward living a sober and healthy lifestyle. It’s tempting to believe that rehab is over once the first few weeks of discomfort have passed, but unfortunately, addiction is a lifelong disease. People who suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction usually require a lifetime commitment to counseling and/or therapy to maintain sobriety. However, detox is a wonderful first step and provides several important health benefits.
Detoxing From Drugs
Different drug types cause different symptoms. For example, opiate-based drugs such as heroin, Vicodin and other narcotic painkillers cause vomiting, pain, hallucinations, chills, fever and diarrhea. Cocaine and some hallucinogens are not associated with physical withdrawal but instead cause long lasting and severe depression and anxiety. Meth and other stimulants cause both physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms. All drug withdrawals cause cravings, which can persist for months.
Drug detox gets you through these symptoms, which can last for a few days or several weeks. Although detox won’t eliminate these symptoms completely, it can increase your comfort and help you adjust to sobriety in a more relaxed way. When you detox in a residential treatment center, it also prepares you for therapy.
Detoxing From Alcohol
Alcohol withdrawal causes several challenging symptoms that are similar to drug withdrawal. Unlike drug withdrawal, quitting drinking alone and without proper medical attention is extremely dangerous — especially if you are alcohol-dependent. Cravings, hallucinations, shakiness, vomiting, disturbed sleep and insomnia are common. Seizures and extreme confusion are more side effects, and they may indicate the onset of delirium tremens. If you suspect delirium tremens, call 911 or get professional medical help immediately.
Like drug detox, alcohol detox provides greater comfort and security for the recovering addict. It may not completely relieve symptoms, but constant medical monitoring can reassure the addict and concerned family members.
To someone who has probably already tried to quit using alone, medical detox is a relief. Medical detox helps many people avoid relapse and the common cravings they experience during withdrawal. Relapse during withdrawal can be extremely dangerous, especially for people who are addicted to drugs such as opiates. Fatal overdose is also possible.
Detox provides immediate relief but it is not a long-term solution for addiction. That’s because addiction grows deep roots in behaviors, thoughts, emotions and psychological health. Counseling and therapy can uncover the reasons why you or your loved one started using drugs and/or alcohol. It can also treat any co-occurring disorders such as depression or anxiety. In therapy, you or your loved one can figure out how to cope with these feelings safely, and without using alcohol or drugs.
Finding a Top Rehab
If you or someone you care about is addicted to drugs or alcohol and is considering jump-starting sobriety with detox, browse our list of Top Rehab Centers in the world. Our list of rehab centers features many residential treatment programs that provide on-site detox in addition to counseling, therapy and aftercare. For more information, review our rankings and call a counselor today.