When embarking on the recovery journey, one of the first and most important steps is detox. If you’re ready to banish your substance use disorder (SUD) for good, you might think that quitting cold turkey is the fastest solution.
While it might seem like a good idea, detoxing alone comes with several risks. As well as facing withdrawal systems alone, you’ll also have to deal with emotions and cravings head-on. Without appropriate support, doing so leads to relapse, which can be fatal.
The best course of action is checking yourself into a detox center. This way, you’ll be able to undergo medical detox in a safe and supportive environment.
Simply put, medical detox is a process that aims to remove all traces of drugs or alcohol from your system under clinical supervision. While withdrawal is inevitable, medical professionals will do everything they can to minimize your discomfort. They will also prescribe medication to alleviate side effects.
Due to the withdrawal symptoms commonly encountered, detoxing is often somewhat uncomfortable. Once you’ve developed a dependency on drugs or alcohol, your body will start to crave the highs that they provide.
In the absence of substances, your body will go into fight-or-flight mode, producing a range of withdrawal symptoms. This is made worse if you quit cold turkey, which is why medical detox is a gradual process that slowly weans you off substances.
Common withdrawal symptoms include:
In serious cases, some individuals experience delirium tremens (DTS). Here, hallucinations, shivering, and anxiety are all common.
As you can see, detoxing isn’t a straightforward process. There’ll be a few challenges you’ll have to face, including mental roadblocks and cravings, but with the right help, detoxing and recovering from a SUD is achievable.
Below are three tips you can use to make detox as easy as possible.
A healthy and nutritious diet can go a long way in improving your mood, mental health, and physical shape. During the height of your SUD, you’ll likely have lost a lot of essential nutrients and minerals, so now is the best time to replenish them.
Load up on healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits and steer clear of processed foods that contain sugar. You may also want to consider taking supplements to aid in your recovery. Withdrawal will put your body slightly off balance, so eating well will not only keep you sane, but it will help fight off cravings.
Complement your healthy diet with regular exercise to supercharge your recovery. It’s a natural endorphin booster that will help keep your mind off any cravings or urges. Exercise is also proven to reduce stress, so dedicate at least twenty minutes a day to it.
It doesn’t have to be particularly strenuous - a long walk is just as good as a cardio workout. In fact, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that regular exercise can help you in your recovery journey. A 2020 study indicated that physical exercise has a positive effect on improving mental health, cravings, and overall quality of life.
Withdrawal can be a pretty grueling time. You might feel like you’re in it alone, but you’re not. Hear from others on a similar journey to your own by joining a substance abuse support group. Use it as a safe space to open up, learn from others, and build a strong support network to which you can go back when you need it.
Joining support groups can also help you take charge of your life and become more accepting of yourself. You might be introduced to concepts like the twelve-step program - a method that will push you to own up to mistakes and effect life-long positive change.
Mindfulness is a great way to slow down your racing mind and alleviate stress. It’s essentially a relaxation technique but can also be used to keep you focused on the present. You might be battling many different emotions and different feelings during detox - focusing on your breathing is a good way of keeping yourself in check.
Drug rehab support area:
Checking yourself into drug and alcohol rehab is the first step to recovery. It’s not always easy to do, so give yourself credit for taking this crucial step. Detoxing might seem scary, but armed with the right strategy, you’ll be able to take it on with confidence. And remember - 75% of people who suffer from a SUD go on to recover, so sobriety is definitely within your reach.
“ Everyone at ER helped me so much! I’m coming up to six months clean now which I never thought I’d manage. I can’t say thank you enough times! ”