October 29, 2018

What is Detox and How Long Should It Take?

What is detox?

Detox is the very first step of recovery once someone enters treatment. When you have been abusing a substance for a period of time, your brain becomes chemically re-wired to depend on this substance. When the substance is no longer in your body, withdrawal symptoms begin. This is also known as being “dope sick” or “hungover”, and a quick way to get rid of those withdrawal symptoms is to provide the body with the substance again. However, instead of providing the body with the substance, detox works to comfortably wean the client from the substance and essentially rewire the brain back to not longer requiring the substance.

Withdrawal symptoms

Depending on what substance you may have been addicted to, there are a variety of withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced. Some of them include:

  • Sweating
  • Excessive yawning
  • Increasing watering of the eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Muscle aches
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion

Types of detox

Inpatient Detox

This is the safest way to detox, since there will be a staff and medical professionals around you the entire process to ensure that you are comfortable. We have an on-staff addictionologist that will administer your medication and supervise your detox to make it as comfortable as possible. An addictionologist is defined as a specialist in the diagnosis, study, and treatment of psychological dependence.

Some medications used in detox are:

  • Suboxone
  • Probuphine
  • Naloxone
  • Disulfiram

Outpatient Detox

While this type of detox is rare, it could be beneficial for people with less severe addiction. This can include a methadone clinic or other prescription medication. These types of facilities can include many of the drugs that inpatient services provide as well. Paired with regular check-ins and a treatment program, this could be an acceptable option for certain people.

Cold Turkey Detox

This is a type of detox in which the client is completely devoid of having any access to their substance or any medications to help them through the detox process. There is only medical supervision to help in case of an emergency.

Short Term Detox

Some clients need to be weaned off of their substance of choice, or have pharmacological help with withdrawal symptoms. This can include sleep medication to help begin a regular sleep pattern, pain medication to help with muscle aches or other medication to help easy any discomfort.

Long Term Detox

Some substances, such as opioids and prescription painkillers, may need a longer-term detox option This can include providing the client with methadone or suboxone to help them with the worst of their withdrawal symptoms, and slowly wean them off from there.

How long does detox take?

The length and severity of a client’s detox experience can vary depending on their addiction. Depending factors can be length of addiction, severity of addiction and substance of choice. While there is no exact time-table for detox time periods, see below for an estimated ballpark:

  • Alcohol: 3-5 days, but can be as much as a week or more if a person has developed DTs
  • Opioid: 7 days
  • Heroin: 7 days
  • Methadone: 2 weeks
  • Suboxone: 4 weeks

The dangers of detoxing alone

Beginning a detox program and eventual treatment can be a huge life change for people. Some people might look into the option of detoxing alone or at home, as to not disturb their regular, everyday life and responsibilities.

At-home detox kits can be dangerous to do alone, since they are not a complete care program personalized to your needs. This is especially true if the client has a co-occuring disorder such as anxiety or depression that needs to be treated as well. If a client is beginning to experience depression or anxiety symptoms that are usually masked by the high of their addiction, they may begin to want to use again. If the client was able to do this detox in a facility, they would be given antidepressant or anxiety medication to make it more comfortable.

Detoxing cold turkey at home can be just as dangerous, especially when detoxing from alcohol. Alcohol can be the most dangerous substance to detox from because of the risk of getting Delirium tremens. This is a potentially fatal withdrawal symptom that requires medical attention and is considered an emergency. Symptoms of DT include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Agitation
  • Deep sleep that lasts for one or more days

Additionally, when someone decides to detox at home, they are running the risk of giving into their cravings without any support of a medical or therapy staff. It is highly uncommon for people detoxing at home to be successful in the long term. Being able to have a comfortable detox with allow you to begin therapy quicker, and ultimately live a long, happy, healthy sober life.

About Cliffside Malibu

Detox is one of the most feared parts of treatment. It can be very uncomfortable, and people often get discouraged by the discomfort and want to “give up”. At Cliffside Malibu, we have a full medical staff to help you with all these discomforts and give you the best detox experience possible so that you can focus on therapy.

Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com

Addiction, Addiction Recovery, Addiction Stories, Detox Resources for Alcohol and Drugs/Opiates, Drinking, Drug Rehab Information, Drug Treatment, Medical, Substance Abuse , , , , , ,
About Jaclyn Uloth