If you’re ready to take the step towards beginning a new life by starting a life of sobriety, the first thing you’ll have to do is go through detox. Many people try to overcome their addiction on their own, but this can be uncomfortable as well as dangerous. Whether you’ve been drinking or using for days, months or years, your body has built up a dependency towards your substance of choice, which can cause symptoms of withdrawal.
The symptoms of withdrawal can vary from person to person depending on the substances they’ve been abusing, but it’s never a good idea to try to do it on your own. Over time, your body needs drugs or alcohol in order to function. When they’re absent from the system for too long, your body has a hard time finding equilibrium. Your body is starved for the dopamine that’s been flowing through your system on a regular basis, which causes your organs to go into a state of shock and your neurotransmitters are misfiring.
When you’re choosing a treatment center, they’ll be able to provide you with a safe detoxification, and you’ll have your choice of a medical or non-medical detox. Both of these processes will put you under the supervision of medical professionals who specialize in addiction, and they’ll help you get through it so you can begin rehabilitation.
Some people choose to not do the medical detox for a variety of reasons. For example, someone who has been addicted to prescription medications may have an issue with using more medications to help solve their problem. There’s nothing wrong with either option, but it is a personal choice that you get to make. The non-medical detox route revolves around helping your body and mind detoxify through other holistic methods.
During a non-medical detoxification, you’ll be given herbs, vitamins and tea to help cleanse your body of the substances you’ve been abusing. Aside from these items that will help clear your mind and body, you’ll also go through different physical activities such as yoga and stretching. You will also learn how to meditate to clear your mind and embrace relaxation. These are skills that are not only great for the detox process, but they’re very helpful in recovery as well.
Through medical detoxification, you’ll be provided with medications that help with the detox process. There have been scientific advances in the last few decades that have allowed pharmaceutical companies to create non-narcotic medications that help with detox. These medications mimic the effects of the substances you’ve been abusing to trick your mind and body into thinking that they’re still being introduced to the system.
Suboxone is a commonly used non-narcotic medication for those who are addicted to opiates like prescription pain medications as well as heroin. Suboxone will give a similar feeling as the opiates you were once taking, but it isn’t addictive. The medical staff at the treatment center will monitor your progress so they can gradually decrease your dosage until you’re ready to come off of it completely.
There are other medications like Naltrexone that help reduce an addict’s cravings for alcohol and opiates. This type of medication works in a similar way, so the point isn’t to stay on it forever, but until the mind and body are in a safe place. Depending on the person’s physiology and they’re substance of choice, the symptoms of withdrawal can last for weeks or months, but they will eventually go away. As the person begins to accumulate days of sobriety, the mind and body begin to heal and a new state of homeostasis is created.
Why Detox is Necessary
Whether undergoing medical or non-medical detox, the process is needed in order to remove all traces of the addictive substance from the body. The individual will go through a series of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, but these will cease. At that point, the recovering addict is ready and able to concentrate on learning the skills needed for maintaining this drug-free state of being. Without medical detox or non-medical detox, the person would be plagued repeatedly by cravings and continue using their substance of choice in order to feel “normal”. Detox is necessary, but it is only the first step in an effective drug treatment program.