Drug abuse is often not well-understood by people on the outside looking in. They tend to think that those addicted to drugs can just stop whenever they want, if they can simply summon up enough willpower. They may not understand that withdrawal and detoxing from drugs can be a long, arduous process that requires professional help. It is possible to break free of the chains of drug addiction, but for most drugs this begins with a period of detox.
What is Drug Addiction and Why is Detoxing Important?
Those who abuse drugs such as opiates, meth, alcohol and others begin to form a psychological and physical dependence on the substance, which makes quitting by themselves very difficult. Addiction is not a lack of morals or willpower, but a chronic mental disease that manifests in compulsive behavior towards substance abuse in spite of negative consequences. For many of these addictive substances, stopping or reducing use causes physical and mental withdrawal symptoms that are often extremely uncomfortable and in some cases, can be life-threatening. Many of those caught in drug addiction have experienced withdrawal symptoms at some point during their addiction and are afraid of experiencing them again.
The fear of withdrawal symptoms then becomes a barrier for many patients that keeps them from seeking addiction help. This is where professional detoxing can help get patients on the road to recovery. Professional detox allows patients to go through the withdrawal period in a safe, healthy manner. Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms are managed through medication and therapy while patients are monitored for any unsafe symptoms.
Detoxing is an extremely important step in addiction recovery as it gets the body and mind free of the damaging influence of drugs or alcohol so that further therapy can be more successful. Attempting to detox at home can not only be unsafe, but it also has a very low success rate. Most patients, when attempting to detox by themselves, quickly end up returning to their substance of choice. Undergoing detox in a professional facility removes this possibility and also seeks to make patients as comfortable as possible during that time.
What Are Some Withdrawal Symptoms?
If you have never experienced withdrawal symptoms before, you might be wondering what happens during this time and why those who have experienced it are rarely eager to return. The symptoms of withdrawal and how long they last depend strongly on the type of substance abused, the person’s gender and the length of abuse. Drugs and alcohol tend to have stronger effects on women. Other factors involved in withdrawal length and symptoms include the method of abuse, how much was taken at a time, family history and other mental or physical health issues.
For example, a person who has an underlying mental health issue who has been taking opiate painkillers in large doses for several years will likely experience much stronger symptoms than someone who has taken smaller doses over a shorter period and has no underlying mental health issues. The following is a general breakdown of symptoms and length of withdrawal for commonly abused substances.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms
- Start 12 hours after last dose
- Peak between 24 and 48 hours
- Last one week or as long as a month
- Include flu-like symptoms
Prescription Painkillers/Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
- Start 8-12 hours after last dose
- Peak between 12 and 48 hours
- Last up to 10 days, sometimes up to four weeks
- Include flu-like symptoms
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms
- Start one to four days after last dose
- Peak in one to two weeks
- Can last for months or years without treatment
- Include anxiety and seizures
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
- Start only a few hours after last dose
- Peak in one to two days
- Can last from one week up to 10 weeks
- Include depression and restlessness
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
- Start between 8 hours after last drink and a few days
- Peak between one and three days
- Can last one to two weeks
- Include tremors and seizures
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
- Start in a few days after last dose
- Peak during the first week
- Can last up to a month
- Include flu-like symptoms, paranoia and hallucinations
Detoxing under professional care means that all of these symptoms can be managed in a safe and comfortable way. Medication can be administered to alleviate the most uncomfortable symptoms as well as the strong cravings that come during the peak of withdrawal. Professional detoxing at a dedicated facility can help:
- Prevent organ and nervous system shock
- Prevent the cold turkey relapse
- Prepare you for further treatment and a new life
Professional Help Is The Best Path For Drug and Alcohol Detox
Getting professional help from a dedicated detox center is the best way to begin the process of ending your drug or alcohol addiction. Recovery is possible when you have support and treatment from experienced professionals.
Serenity House Detox in sunny Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida provides fully licensed care for drug and alcohol detox. When attending Serenity House Detox, you will experience a warm, peaceful environment while undergoing detox.
If you or someone you know is caught in the throes of drug or alcohol addiction, help is around the corner at Serenity House Detox. Start the path to sober recovery by beginning medically supervised detox. Give Serenity House Detox a call today at 866-294-5306 to find out more about our programs and insurance verification. Help is on the way.