Navigating medical detox is nothing short of a nightmare. It starts with the crippling physical symptoms and affects your psychology as well, but it does not stop there. Even outside your own body it can be easy to find yourself lost and confused in an increasingly complex world.
Where to find the resources, what resources you need, and how to get them once you find them are all critical concerns. What to eat, how to keep your needs met, and other problems are easy to take for granted, but can add up when you are suffering from withdrawal.
So, we are going to go over some of the fundamental questions asked about medical detox.
1. What is Detox?
“Detox” is the abbreviation of the word “detoxification”. This is the process of taking your body from a state that is heavily influenced by drugs, to a state of being less influenced by drugs.
Those are very carefully chosen words too. It is not actually the process of “getting clean”. It has more to do with changing the chemical state of your body to make the lack of drugs more comfortable. This will make getting clean possible in the first place.
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2. Is There a Medication to Help with It?
Yes. The most commonly prescribed medication to help with detox of all kinds is methadone. This drug helps stabilize the nervous system, which is the primary part of the body that is negatively affected by detox, meaning less shakes, less temperature issues, and less nausea.
3. What is Happening in the Body During Detox?
Since we mentioned detox’s affects on nervous system, let’s talk about the ways detox affects the body. The reason it messes with the nervous system is because the body is still craving the drug as a means to balance out its chemistry. That means craving signals get sent constantly.
These signals can become overwhelming, leading to the nerves misbehaving. This will throw off your balance, your body’s ability to sense temperature, and your ability to hold still.
Detox is also more literal than that. Drugs, whether it is heroin or cocaine, leave waste in your body. That waste needs to be processed out of your body, which feels terrible.
4. How Long Does Detox Take?
After the high ends, the detox begins. There will be an initial period of your body processing the chemicals from the last time you used. This will take between one and three days. The hard part is over the next two weeks as your body begins to send signals that it’s craving drugs.
After those two weeks cravings will persist, but they will not be as harmful to your nerves.
5. Do all Drugs Detox the Same?
This is a hard question to answer as the answer is hard to prove and hard to believe. The short version is that most drugs actually detox the same. Alcohol is the only exception, and even then, it is still similar. The bigger variable is not the drug, but the level of dependency.
The individual themselves is also a variable. This is what makes it so hard to “prove” that most drugs detox the same way, as people that are detoxing will frequently report different levels of discomfort. So, yes. All drugs detox the same. But you still might have a different experience.
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6. Does one Need to use a Detox Facility?
Detox facilities are not 100% necessary, but most experts agree that it is better to detox there than anywhere else in the world. The reason is because you want to be close to people who understand you. Not just those that can help, but those who know what you are dealing with.
You can also have a degree of safety guaranteed by detoxing within a facility. There are more remedies on-hand, less chance of relapse due to the lack of drugs, and less danger in general.
7. Can You Detox Without a Facility?
Detoxing without a facility is dangerous. There are two big problems with detoxing without a facility: The first is the pure danger of it. Detoxing outside a facility means you might have an episode of withdrawal at an inopportune time that puts you in harm’s way.
You might also go into withdrawal somewhere far away from home or away from medical care.
But the other problem is that there are more ways to relapse outside a facility. There is more stress, as well as more pressures to use.
9. Does Therapy Help with Detox?
People are often skeptical of this fact, but therapy can help a lot with detox. Detox is a chemical event, which makes people unsure about whether or not therapy does anything. But while it will not purge your body of toxins, it will help you endure the pain as your body does the purging.
10. Is Detox Painful?
The short answer is yes. This is what most people fear about detox. But the long answer is that the pain of detox comes in waves. They are big, slow waves, and there will be more bad times than good ones. But they will come to an end eventually.
11. What is Outpatient Detox?
While it is important to use a facility to manage your detox, you might have obligations that disallow you from staying in a facility for too long. For that reason, you might want to make use of outpatient detox. This is a type of program that allows you to access a detox facility or rehab without having to be a patient at the facility.
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Addiction is a terrible disease, and it can happen to anyone. One of the most dangerous parts of detoxing is not the detoxing itself, but the shame it brings. Shame isolates people, and isolation makes the more vulnerable to accidents and preventable damage to their body and lives.
If you are going through detox, do not do it alone. Seek help, get therapy, and find a facility that works for you.