Anyone that has ever attempted to beat their drug or alcohol addiction on their own has no doubt experienced just how overwhelming withdrawal symptoms can be. These withdrawal symptoms are one of the reasons that anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of all addicts will relapse at some point on their path to recovery. In order to make this process as stress-free and comfortable as possible, anyone that is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction should take a closer look at what happens to their body during detox, why this step is so important, and what their options are after detoxification.
Substance Abuse and the Human Brain
The withdrawal period of treatment is so difficult because of how these substances affect the brain. Alcohol and drugs cause certain receptors in the brain to fill up and release natural chemicals such as dopamine and adrenaline. In the average individual, these chemicals are slowly created and then released over time, but a powerful foreign chemical could flush the body with them all at once. As time goes on and the addiction becomes more severe, the body will essentially forget how to create or release these natural chemicals unless drugs or alcohol have been taken. This is the reason that detox can be strenuous, uncomfortable, and potentially even harmful.
Exactly what takes place during detoxification will be determined by the addict’s health, the severity of their addiction, and what substances they are addicted to. In most cases, this step will take anywhere from three days to a week or longer. During this period, you may feel side effects such as:
- panic attacks
- cold sweats, chills
- irregular heart rate
- changes in blood pressure
- nausea, vomiting
This period of treatment essentially puts the body into a state of shock and should never be carried out alone. Many will find themselves not only being challenged psychologically, but they may also be dehydrated, have an unhealthy heart rate, or be dealing with malnutrition. A team of medical professional can ensure that you stay as safe and healthy as possible.
Where to Go After Detox
Successfully completing detox will open up a wide range of possibilities for those that would like to permanently beat their addiction. Allowing the body to flush out foreign substances and naturally re-balance itself is only the first step when it comes to long-term treatment. For the 30 million Americans that are currently struggling with an addiction, an inpatient treatment center may be the most effective method of treatment. These programs come in a wide variety of styles ranging from holistic centers to luxury getaways. They can provide guests with the services that they need to rebuild their life and avoid relapsing once they transition back into their daily schedule.
Drug and alcohol detox is often one of the most important components of a larger addiction treatment program. Anyone that feels as if these substances have taken over their life should begin exploring their options for detoxification, inpatient treatment, and then intensive aftercare programs.