Detoxification (detox) is a time to cleanse your body of all foreign toxins from drug or alcohol use, which is done prior to coming into the rehabilitation unit. This will vary in intensity, depending on if you receive prescription medications to help with the withdrawal symptoms from drugs like heroin or opiates. These two detox procedures both involve a certain time frame, and of course, a commitment to follow the recovery therapy afterwards. The time can be as short as 24 hours or as long as a couple of weeks to months using the prescription drugs.
The normal detox involves cleansing your body of all toxins, drugs, and alcohol that has been ingested into your body which may create withdrawals. Withdrawal symptoms can range from headaches, agitation, depression, body shaking, moodiness, low energy, to even heart attacks and seizures. There are medicines that can be given to help decrease the withdrawal symptoms for many people, but the key point is to follow through with the complete detox so you can bring your body back to your normal levels. This step is not pleasant nor is it easy. Remember, anything that is easy is not worth doing.
Using prescription drugs to detox requires a longer detoxification time frame. These medications usually help with heroin or opiates addictions. Certain drug withdrawals are more intense, and sometimes you need the help from the medications to counteract the difficult symptoms. The physicians who administer medicated detox are professional and experts in the field of addictions. They will administer drugs that are proven to help relieve the withdrawal pains associated with most addictions requiring this type of treatment.
Outpatient Detox Option
There is also an outpatient detox option (or what is clinically known as ambulatory detoxification) in most areas. However, this isn’t for long-term addicts whose drug and alcohol symptoms and withdrawals are harsh. Clients in outpatient detox will receive the same treatment as other detoxification centers but can live at home and go to work or school while receiving medical supervision.
This process usually last for a shorter time that inpatient detox, and is about 5 to 10 days while still participating in group therapy, meetings with your counselor, and other treatment options. During this step, you will be prescribed medication if needed, and these sessions may last three to five hours a day. However, do not think that because you are in an outpatient detox program that you are better and do not need all the help and counseling that is part of the recovery process.
There are a few ways to detox off of drugs and alcohol as described above, but remember that any of these processes will not work if you are not committed and willing to quit the drugs and/or alcohol use. This takes determination, time, and true understanding of yourself and your beliefs. Along with the support of family and close friends, you can move through this step into the next level of recovery.