No matter what you’re abusing, detox starts with an intake interview to go over everything from your home life and substance use history to screening you for medical and mental health issues. The amount of time detox takes will then vary depending on various factors, such as the substances abused and the severity of the abuse.
Cocaine and amphetamine abusers will suffer from withdrawal side effect such as mood swings, trouble sleeping, and food cravings in the days and weeks following drug cessation. These symptoms will vary in intensity, getting stronger before they eventually subside. Stimulant addicts can expect to feel a wave of depression within the first 72 hours of detox, followed by the infamous crash that will leave them feeling depleted of all energy.
After some serious rest over the course of the first week, cravings for the drug subside, but return later in the first month for many patients. Mood swings are common during the first month, as is severe physical and emotional discomfort. Benzodiazepines are prescribed for some stimulant-detox patients, but their efficacy is iffy at best. Among methamphetamine abusers specifically, the Foundation for a Drug-Free World notes a 93 percent relapse rate, so a strong aftercare plan is vital.
Heroin and Opioid Pain Relievers
With opioids, withdrawal sets in six to 12 hours after the last exposure to the substance, and it is at its worst around day three of detox. Symptoms include salivation, cramping, trouble breathing, trembling, and nausea. Fortunately, withdrawal doesn’t tend to last much longer than five to seven days for the opiate detox addict. Medicated treatment programs are sometimes started from day one so the patient is slowly weaned off the substance via drugs like methadone and buprenorphine. Some heroin and opioid addicts remain on a maintenance medication for months or even years.
Irritability, anxiety, and nausea accompanied by dry heaving are all common side effects of benzo detox, which is sometimes medicated with barbiturates or other long-acting benzos in an effort to taper addicts off the drug. Typically, withdrawal is complete within a few weeks’ time, but some patients do suffer from symptoms for months off and on. This is more common in patients addicted to long-acting benzos like Valium.
Alcohol abusers will experience symptoms like anxiety, sweating, and depression within the first eight hours of not having a drink. By the time you reach the 24-hour mark, you may experience hallucinations, which can persist for days on end. While alcohol abuse may be one of the most common reasons cited for treatment — NIDA notes they make up 41.4 percent of 2008 admissions — detox from alcohol is one of the riskiest types of detox, posing the threat of seizures and delirium tremens. The entire process takes about a week, with the most intense symptoms peaking around day four.
Detoxing from marijuana is somewhat easier than from other substances. Symptoms of withdrawal may include restlessness, chills, loss of appetite, headache, and more. While most symptoms develop within one to three days of last use and end by two weeks out, some people may struggle with insomnia and fatigue for up to a month.
Detox doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. Many substance abusers now have the option of medicated treatment options to aid in lessening the side effects felt from withdrawal. Additionally, many are struggling with mental illness that can complicate the detox process — 37 percent of alcohol-dependent individuals and 53 percent of drug-dependent persons to be exact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. A professional detox environment is the best option for these patients.
Regardless of the path you choose for detox, it’s recommended that patients follow up with continued, comprehensive treatment. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids notes that patients who relapsed after completing treatment within a month following detox took 40 percent longer to do so in comparison to those who opted for detox alone. Call us here at The Recovery Village today to learn more about how we can help you detox and maintain a drug-free life.