A person suffering from a substance use disorder, like drug or alcohol addiction, typically develops a physical and mental dependency on their preferred drug. When a person abuses drugs or alcohol over an extended period of time, it leads to physical changes in the body and alters chemical levels in the brain and this will lead you to crave your drug of choice.
When those substances are no longer available, the body will react negatively, and you will experience the side effects of drug and alcohol detox and withdrawal. The symptoms of alcohol and drug withdrawal can range from mild to life-threatening and even deadly. The severity of your symptoms will be influenced by the strength of drugs that you use or the amount of alcohol you consume and how long you have been a substance abuser. The longer you have had a substance use disorder, the more extreme your withdrawal symptoms will be.
Therefore it is essential to be under the supervision of a suitably qualified medical professional when you detox, especially if you are a heavy drinker or chronic drug taker. Fortunately, there are many treatment options for substance abuse disorders and addiction centres are equipped to deal with the side effects of drug and alcohol detox.
What To Expect When You Detox
Whether you are a drug addict who wants to kick the habit or an alcoholic who needs to stop drinking, you will be able to find an addiction centres that specialise in treating alcoholism and drug addiction and there will be a treatment option that can work for you but there is no avoiding the side effects when you detox. Symptoms of withdrawal can be psychological and physical and the important thing to remember is that drug and alcohol detox has side effects and you need to be prepared to deal with them. Because these side effects can be severe you should never attempt to detox without medical supervision.
Drug or alcohol detox requires the cleansing of all toxins from your system and this can be traumatic as your body will continue to crave these substances even when you are determined to break your habit. For most addicts, a treatment centre will recommend a clinical or medicated detox program that is specifically created by a medical professional to meet your needs. One program cannot be applied to all addicts as each case is unique and comes with its own set of challenges. The specific detox regime that the doctor designs for you will depend on the type of drug addiction or the amount of alcohol that you regularly consume.
For many addicts, detox can be a terrifying prospect, but an addiction clinic will make sure that all your medical and clinical requirements are met, and a specially trained team will support you during the process to make sure that your drug or alcohol detox is safe and as comfortable as possible. Your condition will be closely monitored at all times to ensure that your body can cope with the symptoms of drug or alcohol withdrawal. During a medical detox program, you will be prescribed medication that is designed to help your body cope with the side effects of the drug or alcohol withdrawal, and you will be medically supervised during the entire treatment process. All medication that you are prescribed will be suitable and approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).
Once you enter a detox program and you no longer have access to drugs or alcohol, the first symptoms of withdrawal typically take five to ten hours to manifest after your last drink or hit. Early signs of withdrawal usually include shaking or tremors but in severe cases, you can experience hallucinations and seizures. With alcohol withdrawal, the physical symptoms usually peak on the second day and then begin to subside, but the psychological side effects can last a lot longer. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you can experience long term side effects like insomnia and depression for many years after your treatment. The important thing is to remain strong and ensure that you have a good support group or network.
The time that it takes for you to detox will depend on a number of factors, including your addiction history, the severity of your addiction, the type of drugs you abuse and the level and frequency of drug use or alcohol consumption. Safe, controlled detox from drugs or alcohol can take anything from one week to a month.
The common side effects of drug and alcohol detox that you need to prepare yourself for include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Headaches, fevers, and chills
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Nausea and vomiting
- Nightmares and insomnia
- Shaking, sweating
- Irritability, restlessness and mood swings
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Changes in body temperature
- A loss of appetite
- Confusion and disorientation
- Cognitive issues and lack of concentration
- Muscle weakness
- Delirium Tremens
What is Delirium Tremens?
Delirium tremens is experienced during the most severe forms of alcohol withdrawal and can cause confusion, tremors hallucinations, seizures, and even heart complications. Any of these conditions can be life-threatening and that is why it is essential for detox to take place under medical supervision. Delirium tremens is most often seen in individuals who consume the equivalent of one pint of liquor every day for several months and will be experienced by approximately one in every 20 addicts during alcohol detox.
Factors That Influence The Side Effects of Drug and Alcohol Detox
The severity of drug and alcohol detox side effects vary from one individual to the next and this is determined by a number of factors including:
- Body weight, metabolism, age and gender
- The severity and duration of the drug or alcohol abuse
- The type of treatment
- Underlying mental health issues
Support Is Essential During Drug & Alcohol Detox
Detoxing from drug or alcohol addiction is difficult but with the right support, you will be able to deal with the side effects and get through it. We can help you detox in a safe environment and give you the tools to help you on your road to recovery.