Detoxification – A Necessary First Step Toward Sobriety
There is only one way to get sober and that is to get sober! In other words, those who want to enjoy a life in recovery simply must stop drinking alcohol or taking drugs. There is no way around it.
The problem is, the fear of withdrawal (also known as detoxification or detox) keeps many people stuck in the devastating cycle of addiction. Using drugs or alcohol causes physical dependency. Once someone is physically dependent on a substance, their body relies on it to function. Without continued use of that substance, the body responds in furious anger in the form of withdrawal symptoms.
It doesn’t matter what drug you have been taking – whether it’s marijuana or heroin – you will experience some type of withdrawal symptoms when you quit. (Yes, marijuana withdrawal is a very real thing!) Withdrawal is what happens when you stop drinking or taking drugs after prolonged use of an addictive substance.
Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Depression (uncontrollable crying, suicidal thoughts)
- Shakes or tremors
- Body Aches
- Stomach upset (vomiting and diarrhea)
- Extreme cravings
To avoid these symptoms, addicted people will continue to feed their habit even though they recognize that addiction is ruining their lives. They want to get sober, but they want to avoid the inevitable pain that comes from detox.
Three Substances You Should Never Quit Using on Your Own
Have you been abusing drugs or alcohol? If so, you should know that the severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the type of substance you have been using and the length of time you have been using it. For example, withdrawal symptoms that accompany drugs like marijuana, crystal meth, and cocaine are generally not life-threatening and can be managed without medication or observation.
However; there are three substances that pose a very real threat to your physical health when you stop taking them – alcohol, opioids (like heroin or prescription painkillers such as Hydrocodone or Oxycodone), and benzodiazepines (like Xanax, Valium, or Klonopin). This is true even if you have been abusing them for a short time. You should never attempt to quit using any one of these substances cold turkey.
Detoxing from alcohol, opioids, or benzos requires a very specific detox protocol to ensure safety. Withdrawal from these substances can cause seizures and other serious health complications including coma or death in extreme cases.
We understand that going through detox can be scary and uncomfortable, which is why we offer our professional medical detox in San Diego. Our detoxification program is designed to keep clients safe and comfortable.
**Knowing What to Expect From Detox Can Help Aid the Recovery Process **
Potential clients often ask us, “What is detox like?” This is a great question. Knowing what to expect from withdrawal can help relieve some of the fears associated with it and prepare you for the process. There are two phases of withdrawal: Acute Withdrawal and Post-Acute Withdrawal (PAWS).
The Acute Withdrawal Phase happens begins to happen three to 12 hours after someone stops drinking alcohol or taking their drug of choice. It usually lasts 10 to 14 days. This is the most dangerous phase of detox. During this time, there is a real risk for seizures, coma, or death. During this phase of detoxification, withdrawal symptoms are at their peak and are the most unbearable. Many return to drinking or taking drugs during this period simply because they cannot bear the withdrawal symptoms.
The Post-Acute Withdrawal Phase begins immediately following the competition of acute withdrawal (usually about 10 days to 14 days after the last drink or drug was taken.) During this period, symptoms subside significantly and are no longer life-threatening. However; lingering withdrawal symptoms during PAWS can last six months to a year. Many relapse during this period simply because they feel depressed, anxious, or “just not quite right.” They convince themselves that things will never get better so they turn to alcohol or drugs as a solution.
Learning relapse prevention techniques at our San Diego residential addiction treatment center is critical for those who want to make it to the other side of post-acute withdrawal.
AToN Centers Offers a Professional Medical Detox
When clients come to us addicted to alcohol, opioids, or benzos, we perform a professional medical detox. This means that clients are observed around the clock for the first three days of detoxification and every 30 minutes during the rest of their stay with us. All of our staff members are trained to address medical emergencies should they arise. At AToN Centers, the safety of our clients is paramount.
In addition to providing round-the-clock observation and monitoring, we also provide medications during our California detox. These are prescribed to reduce the likelihood of health complications and also to promote wellness and comfort during the detoxification process. These medications include anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, anti-nausea meds, sleep medications, and medications for depression and anxiety. These medications can be from different classes like antihistamines, beta blockers, ssri’s, etc but are non addictive.Those who are addicted to opioids will likely be given Suboxone as part of their treatment plan.
Are You Ready to Get Sober?
This simple truth remains: the only way to get sober is to get sober. This means that anyone who has a substance use disorder must be willing to go through detox if they want to enjoy sobriety. At AToN Center, we understand that clients come to us with fears about withdrawal. Our professional medical detox program has been designed to alleviate these fears. With continuous monitoring and proper medications, we greatly reduce the chances of health complications. We also reduce cravings and the pain of withdrawal as well.
From our perspective, the detoxification process should not be feared. It should be embraced. It is a brave first step on a beautiful journey of sobriety. There is no way to avoid withdrawal. It is a necessary component of the recovery process. We keep our clients safe and comfortable during this process so they can get on with the excitement of living a sober lifestyle.
If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, your life is at risk. Dying from an overdose or experiencing physical complications related to alcohol addiction are very real possibilities. Now, THIS is something to fear!