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What is Detox?

Drug detox

Drug detox isn’t a magical place that will cure you of an addiction overnight. It will take time and effort on your part. 

Although it’s sad but true, most people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have this hope that one day they will simply go through a qualified detox program and magically be healed of their addiction, never to use drugs or alcohol again.  Unfortunately, there are so many aspects of addiction, both psychological and physical, that detox is not a cure all for this deadly disease.  In fact, detox is only the beginning of the addiction treatment process and it must be followed by counseling and other rehabilitation methods to ensure long term recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Detox, be it drug detox or alcohol detox, is the first step to any addiction treatment and rehabilitation program; it’s also the most difficult step for most addicts to go through.  Unfortunately, detox comes with many physical and psychological struggles that make the entire process difficult to cope with.  In many cases, medication is provided during detox to help ease the symptoms that are experienced by the patient.  While detox is a vital first step to any addiction treatment regimen, it is only 100% effective when combined with counseling and long term recovery efforts.

Tips for a Successful Detox

Understanding that detox is a vital first step to any addiction rehabilitation process, here’s a look at some tips that will ensure a successful detox:

  • Preparation is Key to Success: While there is nothing that will 100% guarantee that a detox will be successful, there are some steps that can be taken to ensure the greatest chance of success.  Preparing for detox is one way that patients can ensure they have a better chance of making it through the detoxification process and moving forward with drug or alcohol rehab.  Taking some time to understand the effects that the drug or alcohol withdrawal process will have can help a patient to better prepare for what’s to come during detox and may make the entire process more successful and easy to cope with.
  • Detox Takes Time: There may be many rapid detox options out there but studies show that the most successful detoxification programs allow the addict time to naturally eliminate toxins from the body.  Detox will take time, for some it may only take a few days while for others it could take weeks or even months to safely and effectively detox and overcome physical withdrawal symptoms associated with drug or alcohol addiction.
  • Detox Prepares Patients for Future Treatment: Patients should prepare to accept various forms of counseling and treatment following detox in order to ensure a most successful treatment outcome.  Detox is the first step of a long road down recovery lane. Future treatments may include 12-step programs, individual counseling, group therapy, family counseling and other addiction treatment methods.
  • Don’t Try This At Home:  Detoxing from drugs or alcohol is not something that an individual should try to do alone or at home.  There are many dangers that come with abruptly eliminating drugs or alcohol from a daily routine and these dangers could lead to deadly consequences.  Medical complications may develop rapidly during detox and psychological implications such as suicidal thoughts or psychosis sometimes occur during detox.  Both of these pose grave danger to the addict and sometimes to others.  With proper medical monitoring, these dangers can be greatly reduced which is why it’s very important that patients do not try to detox at home.

How Long Will Detox Take?

One of the biggest concerns most addicts have is how long detox will take.  Of course you want to know how long you will have to cope with pain, discomfort or other symptoms associated with withdrawal from drugs or alcohol before you finally feel some relief.  Unfortunately, the answer to this question is very vague for a number of reasons.  First, detox differs for each drug or substance that is used. Second, the length of time it takes to detox also differs based on the individual and also on the length of time that the drug or alcohol was used.