The Grips of Addiction
When individuals enter the grips of addiction, they are physically and mentally dependent on drugs or alcohol. Dependence on the substance leads to an undeniably horrific experience, called withdrawals, which occurs when they are not under the influence of their substance(s) of choice.
To safely and effectively stop using drugs or alcohol, a person will need detox treatment. During the detoxification process, the individual is simply removing any substance or alcohol from the body.
Believe it or not, this process is extremely frightening to a person in active addiction; the fear of withdrawals has been one of the leading factors in preventing the individual from taking the initial steps to recovery. Withdrawal can be dangerous if not rendered in a licensed medical facility.
The individual will not only feel physical withdrawal symptoms. Instead, the person will also succumb to the emotional and mental aspects of withdrawal. There are numerous side effects pertaining to withdrawals, some more dangerous than others, depending on the substance the person is addicted to.
What Happens During Withdrawal?
Drugs and alcohol are generally depressants on the brain. With any addiction comes worsening effects on the brain and body, and as addiction progresses, the brain and body rely on the substance to function properly. During this period, the brain doesn’t produce enough serotonin or dopamine, because it receives an abnormally large amount when drugs or alcohol enter the body. The moment this influx comes to a halt is when the withdrawal symptoms kick in.
There are three parts of the individual that will be affected by drug withdrawal.
Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms:
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Rapid heart rate
- Muscle stiffness
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in the body
Mental Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Euphoric recall
- Lack of concentration
- Internal battle
- Lack of motivation
- Sleep deprivation
Imagine experiencing these symptoms, unrelated to drug abuse. It becomes overwhelming for a normal person to experience all of these at once. Adding the detoxification of a substance to these symptoms tremendously amplifies the experience. The individual is almost crippled, depending on the substance they are using.
Dangers of Withdrawal
Experts have reported that substances like alcohol and benzodiazepines are considered extremely dangerous to detox from. The dangerous effects that can occur from these addictions include:
- Heart attacks
- Delirium tremens (a psychotic condition due to withdrawal of alcohol, involving tremors, hallucinations, anxiety, and disorientation)
With the heroin epidemic taking place in today’s society, it’s important to understand the concept of heroin withdrawals and what people with heroin addiction will experience during their detox treatment. In as little as two hours after using IV heroin, they will begin to sweat and feel muscle aches through their body. Mentally they are craving the drug; if they are not seeking treatment, they will dose again in fear of more severe withdrawal symptoms. However, if they are attempting to recover they will be forced to briefly stick it out until they enter a detox facility.
As time increases, users will not only feel cravings and muscle aches but will begin to feel depressed and riddled with anxiety. They may even feel nauseous, causing them to isolate themselves. During the night, they will be unable to sleep—individual will simultaneously go through periods of chills and sweating. Some experience restless leg syndrome, an uncomfortable sensation occurring in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them, and others can also feel an overwhelming lack of motivation and an undesired willingness to continue their recovery.
These symptoms are highly unpleasant and commonly feared among people who have an addiction. Although the individual will not die from heroin withdrawal, he will surely feel like they are. Drug detox treatment is the most effective way to relieve substance users of their symptoms and start their recovery process.
What Is Detox Treatment?
Detox treatment is considered the first step in drug treatment. It is the highest level of care provided by rehabilitation facilities across the nation. During detox, a person in active addiction rids their bodies of the foreign substances that they have been consuming. Although the process seems easy and relieving, it can be a burden.
The person will be hesitant toward detox because of the withdrawal symptoms he or she may face, and is often fearful of losing the drug in place of the symptoms listed above. The transition from euphoria to “sick” could happen in as little as two hours after the last dose. So what will the individual experience during the detoxification process?
People enter detox treatment usually obtaining the will to stop using or drinking. Depending on the substance they are using, they will be given certain medications to combat their symptoms as much as possible. Drug withdrawals can be severe or even deadly, so it is important that the individual detoxes in a medical facility.
The most severe withdrawal symptoms will occur in the individual who has been abusing a substance for a significant amount of time. The medications distributed to the person experiencing withdrawal symptoms depend on the severity of the addiction and how long it has been taking place.
Why Is Detox Treatment Important?
Detoxing undoubtedly requires much commitment, something many people in active addiction just coming off drugs and alcohol may not have. Not only will self-detoxification require a strictness in the individual and their surroundings, it can also be extremely dangerous.
The process also requires the use of certain non-narcotic or narcotic medications under medical supervision that depend on the substance the addicted person is using. Although the detoxification process will not eliminate the symptoms entirely, it will definitely make a huge impact on how severe the symptoms will become.
Detox treatment typically lasts anywhere from three to 10 days, depending on the substance the individual is abusing and what medication he or she is given to cleanse the body. The length of the stay is determined by the duration of the drug abuse, the volume of intake, and the individual’s reaction to the medication used to aid the detox. Many people who have an addiction are fearful of this initial stage in recovery, because it is the most vulnerable time for them. They may feel at their lowest, because they were so reliant on other substances to give them what they needed to feel normal and “alive”.
Without proper detoxification, the individual will not fully commit himself to a sober lifestyle. It is important not only for the recovery process but also for the individual’s well-being, to detox under medical supervision.
Is Detox Sufficient Enough to Sustain Recovery?
Although the individual commits to drug detox, it does not mean he is finished with the treatment process.
Drug addiction affects not only the physical being, but the emotional and mental state as well. It is the most important step in treating the physical technicalities in addiction. However, people who struggle with addiction need to address all aspects of the disease before they are ready to lead a sober life.
Need Help With Detox?
The road to recovery is a lifelong long journey with many obstacles, but drug detox is the initial steps of the recovery process. Detox treatment is the most important phase in the recovery process, because it gives the person in active addiction that first glimpse of the world through sober eyes. Detox is the beginning to what could be a refreshing start for those suffering from the disease of addiction. It is never easy to admit you or someone you love has a problem with substance abuse. But, if you or someone you know is struggling with finding a treatment program that works best for you or has questions relating to substance abuse, call California Highlands Addiction Treatment at 888-969-8755.