Side Effects of Drug Detox
Medical detox from substances, both illicit and legal, can be a necessary part of a comprehensive treatment program to help you get well.
While different substances often utilize different approaches to the detox regiment, most utilize a mix of bed rest, medications, and therapy sessions. Over the course of your detox, you might experience a range of side-effects from the absence of drugs you were previously using, as well as the medication prescribed to assist in the process. Knowing the side effects beforehand can help you prepare yourself mentally and physically.
What is drug detox?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines detox as the first part of a medical treatment program, designed to manage the withdrawal symptoms from stopping drug use safely. While detox programs may differ depending on whether they are for alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs, they are largely built around the same safety protocols —that is, safely managing withdrawal symptoms in an environment staffed with well-trained medical professionals.
Learn what the addiction rehabilitation process is like here.
It is important to note that drug detox has been found effective when used as the first step in your recovery journey, and by itself has largely been shown not to work in the long-term.
What are common side effects of drug detox?
As drugs leave the body, there is a profound impact on the chemistry of the brain. Drugs work by changing the chemical make-up of our primary neurological organ after all, and when they are no longer present the brain is left in a state of unbalance. This unbalance can lead to fatigue, severe depression, anxiety, and in severe cases, suicidal ideation.
Additionally, severe and persistent cravings for drugs can manifest during this time, as the brain seeks to replace the chemicals it has lost in the detox process. Drug cravings are not only physical cravings but also what many in recovery describe as “mental obsessions.” Given that these mental side effects can be quite serious, surrounding yourself with trained and licensed professionals during the 7-10 day detoxification process is highly recommended.
Recommended: Why do people become addicted?
What are common physical side effects of drug detox?
As previously mentioned, drug withdrawal symptoms are often associated with physical side effects—stomach cramps, headaches, sweating, muscle spasms, constipation, etc. For many individuals that have used drugs for extended periods of time, the physiological dependence on the drug can be great. The silver lining with drug detox is that alcohol and benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax) are often the only substances that are associated with a detox that can be life threatening. This does not mean that the physical side effects from any drug withdrawal are not serious or painful, they often can be. The good news is that physical symptoms are often the first to subside during the detox process, often within a few days.
While avoiding all the side effects of drug detox is impossible, participating in a drug detox program with medical professionals and trained staff can greatly reduce their negative impact. In some cases, drug detox can be life-threatening and should not be done by yourself.
You don’t have to go through detox alone. Reach out to our trained staff to learn more about how we can help you detox from drugs and begin your journey to sobriety.
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