What to Expect During Alcohol and Drug Detox

 In Drug and Alcohol Treatment

As soon as you begin to enter drug detox, your body will enter withdrawal as it begins to regain its natural balance as a result of detoxification. The process of withdrawal varies significantly from one drug to another, but here’s what you can expect from detoxification from some of the most commonly abused substances:

Withdrawal Symptoms Will Escalate

Symptoms of drug or alcohol withdrawal typically begin within 24 hours, and they are often mild initially before worsening. In some cases, you’ll start to experience some symptoms around 6 hours after your last dose, and these are some symptoms that you can expect:

Opiates (heroin, prescription painkillers)

Opiates tend to produce a flu-like withdrawal syndrome, and the withdrawal tends to cause chills, sweating, shaking, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms often associated with the flu. In most cases, these symptoms will intensify from their onset 6-24 hours after the last dose until 48-72 hours after the last dose.

Alcohol

Alcohol withdrawal typically begins within 6 and 24 hours of the last drink, and it often produces strong feelings of anxiety along with a range of physical symptoms. Many people who go through this withdrawal experience hallucinations, and symptoms will begin to intensify until around the 72 hour mark. Luckily, attending supervised detox clinic helps to ensure that you’re safe during alcohol withdrawal and don’t relapse, and medications are offered to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal.

Benzodiazepines (e.g. prescription anti-anxiety drugs, sedatives)

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines tends to be quite serious, and it can lead to seizures and intense anxiety and insomnia. Benzodiazepine withdrawal often takes a significant amount of time to reach its peak intensity, and this often does not occur until a week or two after use of benzodiazepines is stopped. Attending supervised detox helps to ensure that you’re safe during benzodiazepine withdrawal and don’t relapse, and medications are offered that reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Stimulants (e.g. meth, cocaine, bath salts)

Stimulant withdrawal often includes mental fogginess and fatigue, and it may also include other symptoms, such as crawling sensations and hallucinations. Luckily, withdrawal from these drugs is not life threatening, and it reaches its peak severity on the second or third day. Attending rehab helps to ensure that you do not relapse during your stimulant withdrawal.

The Peak Of Symptoms

The peak of withdrawal symptoms marks a major turning point in recovery. Once the worst of the acute withdrawal symptoms are over most people in recovery begin to feel like the worst is over, and it often becomes easier for patients to remain committed to the process of recovering from addiction.

Reduction Of Withdrawal Symptoms

In most cases, the withdrawal symptoms begin to dissipate after the third day or so. However, symptoms may continue to linger for anywhere between a week and several weeks. Generally, things really begin to get much better after the first week, and lingering physical symptoms are very limited and any residual withdrawals are primarily mental symptoms.

There Are Struggles Other Than Withdrawal Symptoms

While many people feel that the acute withdrawals are the most difficult part of quitting drugs or alcohol, there are other major challenges after that. In fact, most people who are recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol have significant cravings for their substance(s) of choice at times.

Some people experience what’s known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, and this essentially means that you still have some lingering symptoms despite having gotten through the worst of the withdrawal. It’s common for people to experience mental health difficulties after quitting, such as depression and anxiety, but these symptoms typically subside over the course of around a year. These symptoms can be treated with a combination of therapy and psychiatric medications.

In addition, post acute withdrawal syndrome is more likely to occur with certain drugs of abuse. For instance, it tends to be quite common for people who suffer from opiate addiction, and this form of addiction often causes depression as part of the post-acute withdrawal syndrome. It’s also quite common for people who quit meth and other stimulants, and this post-acute withdrawal syndrome often involves depression, fatigue, and lack of focus and motivation.

You’ll Be Better Off After You Quit

Not only will your physical health improve, but you can expect to feel better mentally as well! In fact, many people find that they feel more focused and tend to be in a much better mood after quitting drugs or alcohol and having gone through a detox program.

You’re likely to find that your performance at school and work improves as well after completing a detox program. Many people find that they have a better social life after quitting drugs and/or alcohol as well, and your relationships will be based on genuine connections as opposed to connecting with others for the purpose of acquiring drugs. You’re also likely to find that your confidence improves, and many people who have struggled with addiction find that their addiction took away considerably from their confidence.

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