A drug detoxification is a process where the body of a drug abuser is cleared of all narcotic substances. And, although it doesn’t cure an addiction mentally, it is usually the first step to recovery. Luckily for addicts with jobs or families, the processes involved are relatively straightforward and quick – most of the time.
How long does it take?
A typical detox can last anywhere from just a few days to a few weeks. This depends on what type of drug (or drugs) a user has been abusing – and how long they have been taking them. For example, a detoxification from heroin will usually take 5 days to a week to fully remove, whereas a cocaine dependency can take anywhere between one week and 3.
Essentially, a physical detox is not going to help a user to fully recover from an addiction on its own; it may clear the body of narcotics, but it cannot cure a patient psychologically. In a rehabilitation centre, this will usually take place first – and then professional physiatrists and counsellors will help a patient to fully recover mentally.
The symptoms of withdrawal
A drug detox is not an easy process to go through, as there are side effects which come with withdrawal from an addiction. During the time that a patient is receiving medical care, their body is being cleared of the drugs that are in their system – and their bodies may have become accustomed to the processes of use.
If they have been abusing narcotics for a long time, their body will have begun to depend upon having them – and for this reason, as the narcotic substances that the body may have depended on are being removed, they could suffer from many unpleasant and painful withdrawal symptoms.
Trying to detox without help can pose a life threatening risk, because of what the addict will go through. At a medical centre, there will be professional medics who will make sure that the detoxification is progressing correctly and safely. During this process, a user may suffer from muscle aches, anxiety, agitation and also insomnia.
Sometimes withdrawal can affect users in other ways. For example, people who have had an addiction to cocaine or methamphetamins may feel incredibly depressed. It can also lead them to having suicidal thoughts and sometimes behaviour, too. Thoughts and feelings such as these may mean that a patient needs more time to recover – and extra help and support may be provided.