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How Long Does It Take To Detox From Heroin?

Heroin is an illegal and highly addictive substance, which can cause both short and long-term health problems and increase the risk of overdose.

If you have a heroin addiction, you will need to complete a heroin detox. However, the length of time it takes you to complete this treatment depends on many factors, such as the extent of your drug use.

Although overcoming a heroin addiction can be challenging, treatment and ongoing support are available via American addiction centers, such as our own. The detox process is only a small part of your recovery journey, but the impact of completing this vital first stage in treatment can last a lifetime.

What Is Heroin?

Belonging to the opiate family, heroin is a Schedule I street drug synthetically made from morphine. Usually, heroin is a fine, white powder with a bitter taste, but it can also appear gray and black, depending on the substances it is mixed with.

Like other opioid drugs, heroin can be administered by smoking, injecting, or snorting. It has rapid onset effects that typically last for up to an hour. However, the consequences can last longer when smoked. As heroin is illegal, it is unregulated. As a result, there is no way to know the actual ingredients of heroin or its strength. For this reason, it is a hazardous drug.

When administering large quantities of heroin, an overdose can occur. Although more common when injected, it is also possible to overdose on heroin when used alongside other substances, such as alcohol.

Why Is Heroin Addictive?

Drug abuse creates havoc among the brain’s natural reward system. Though many things, such as exercise, food, and sex, activate the brain’s reward system and release happy hormones including dopamine and endorphins, heroin offers an instant high. With prolonged use, the brain becomes accustomed to this high, craving it at all costs, leading to addiction.

Although overlooked due to being medically used to treat severe pain, prescription opiates including morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), and oxycodone (Oxycontin) can also lead to addiction. It has been reported that prescription painkillers pose a risk factor for heroin use. Sometimes people turn to heroin because they can no longer obtain prescription painkillers or because heroin is cheaper.

If you are using heroin and have developed a drug addiction, it is essential to reach out for help as soon as possible. Without medical guidance, it is difficult to stop using drugs when an addiction develops.

What Are the Risks of Using Heroin?

Sadly, opioid addiction is at epidemic levels in the United States. As of 2021, three million US citizens were reported to have suffered from an opioid use disorder. This is primarily due to misinformation surrounding opioids given by pharmaceutical companies in the 1990s that suggested opioid drugs were not addictive. In 2019, nearly 50,000 people died from opioid overdoses in the United States alone, and more than 14,000 of those people died from a heroin overdose in particular.

If you use heroin, you risk developing a drug addiction. While you may think that addiction usually only occurs upon taking substances over a prolonged period, addiction can arise from a single-use.

Having an addiction means you cannot control your drug use despite any adverse consequences to your health. As addiction is a vicious cycle, your body develops a tolerance to heroin over time, meaning more heroin is required for the same effect. In addition, as you use larger quantities of heroin, you risk overdosing.

In medical settings, naloxone is used to reverse the effects of an overdose by blocking opioid receptors in the brain. However, this is only a temporary solution to heroin abuse, and the only way to avoid the risk of future overdose is addiction treatment.

How Do I Know if I Have a Heroin Addiction?

Otherwise known as substance use disorder (SUD) or opioid use disorder (OUD), heroin addiction affects your mind and body. As an addiction develops, you may experience some physical and psychological symptoms.

Psychological symptoms of heroin addiction include:

  • Euphoria
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Hostility and aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Physical symptoms of heroin addiction include:

  • Bruising or scabbing of the skin
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy skin
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Insomnia
  • Chest infections
  • Respiratory problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems or constipation

When injecting heroin, your risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV increases, especially if you share needles. Additionally, long-term heroin use can lead to grave health issues, such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Blood clots
  • Infection of the heart lining and valve
  • Seizures

If you are using heroin and experience any of these symptoms, telling someone, such as a friend, family member, or healthcare provider, is in your best interest. We also recommend contacting one of the many American addiction centers located across the country for medication-assisted treatment.

How Can I Tell if Someone Is Using Heroin?

If you are hoping to uncover how to tell if someone is using heroin, it is important to remember that it can be hard to recognize a heroin dependency. This is because many people go to great lengths to hide their addiction.

Some people avoid telling loved ones or family members about their addiction due to fear and shame. In contrast, others may keep their heroin abuse a secret due to not wanting to be confronted or encouraged to stop. In some instances, it is possible for those who use heroin to live in denial, and as a result, they may not think they have a problem.

Should you find yourself concerned that a loved one is struggling with an addiction and needs heroin addiction treatment, the following signs may highlight if they have a problem:

  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Abandoning commitments and things which were once important
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Risky behavior
  • Wearing long-sleeve shirts to hide injection marks
  • Secretive behavior and lying
  • Financial difficulties
  • Poor self-hygiene

These signs on their own don’t necessarily point to addiction. If someone is showing two or more of these signs and a drastic change in their behavior, this could indicate something is wrong.

If you suspect someone you know might have a heroin problem, it is normal to feel angry or upset. However, it is best to remain calm. Advice about what to do next and how best to help is on the other end of a phone call.

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Heroin?

Seeking addiction treatment and quitting heroin might seem daunting, but you are not alone – support is available via American addiction centers.

While many treatment options are available, a heroin addiction treatment program will be tailored to your needs when you commence treatment. To begin recovery, you will complete a heroin detox.

Heroin detox is the process of removing toxic substances from your body. Although you may think you can detox at home, doing so is not advised. While outpatient programs for substance abuse exist, inpatient heroin detox via a rehab center is the best route. With a medical detox program, you will detox under specialized care in a safe environment.

If you are about to embark on a medical detox, you might be wondering how long heroin withdrawal lasts. Typically, heroin leaves the bloodstream quickly, and detox only takes around seven to ten days, but everyone’s experience differs slightly.

Your detox experience depends on factors such as:

  • the length, severity, and frequency of your heroin use.
  • how you administered heroin.
  • your body’s ability to metabolize heroin.
  • your medical profile.

What Do Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms Look Like?

As you undergo heroin detox and traces of the drug leave your body, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant, but they signal that you are overcoming your physical addiction.

Usually, the heroin withdrawal timeline looks like this:

  • Heroin withdrawal symptoms start within six to twelve hours of your last dose
  • Withdrawal symptoms peak two to three days into your detox
  • Symptoms continue for seven to ten days from your last heroin dose and slowly subside

Although they differ from person to person, heroin withdrawal symptoms often include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea and sickness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever and sweating
  • Tremors and muscle spasms
  • Mood swings and agitation
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Drug cravings

Heroin withdrawal symptoms are manageable. However, if you experience severe symptoms, your medical provider or detox center may be able to prescribe medication to relieve them.

Sometimes withdrawal symptoms persist for much longer than the initial ten-day mark. This is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which can occur for up to a year after detoxification. Ongoing outpatient support can help if you experience PAWS.

Upon completing detox, your physical dependence on heroin will have lifted. However, as part of the recovery process, you will need to work on your psychological addiction with the support of a treatment provider or certified addiction professional.

What Does Life in Recovery Look Like?

Following heroin detox, it is essential to unpick the factors that may have caused you to use heroin in the first place. Although this can cause unpleasant thoughts or trauma to arise, doing so is essential to avoid returning to bad habits and relapsing.

Alongside heroin detox, an addiction treatment program will help you maintain long-term recovery by offering you treatments such as therapy. You may attend individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy sessions as part of your recovery treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, will help you swap your existing unhealthy coping mechanisms for healthy ones.

Addiction often has a co-occurring mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a result, like many others, you may have initially started using heroin to ease a mental health problem. By discovering these problems and treating them appropriately, you will not only experience a better quality of life, but you will be able to avoid potential relapse triggers.

While detox is short, recovery is a lifelong endeavor. Relapse is common, but what is important is getting back on track. The road to recovery can be a bumpy one, but we’re with you every step of the way.

How To Detox From Cocaine

The dangers of cocaine addiction are often clouded by popular misinformation surrounding its safety and addictiveness. For this reason, if you or someone you love is showing signs of this form of drug abuse, you may be wondering if quitting altogether is a necessary step.

When left untreated, cocaine abuse seriously endangers your physical and mental health. In the short-term, risks associated with heavy cocaine use or binging include psychosis and overdose.

Meanwhile, in the long-term, the physical stress of heavy and frequent cocaine abuse can result in many forms of permanent organ and tissue damage, including ulcerations in the gastrointestinal tract, heart muscle inflammation and damage, pulmonary disease, brain hemorrhage, brain damage, seizures, organ failure, and stroke.

However, this is not a niche problem. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as many as one in twenty young adults in America used cocaine in 2015.

Many people have witnessed first-hand how cocaine addiction can quickly bulldoze a person’s mental and emotional health, job, relationships, and finances. It is not easy to make the decision to quit, but once you have, medical detox with a licensed drug addiction center can offer safe, easier, and more comfortable treatment options.

Cocaine Withdrawal: An Addicted Nervous System Without Cocaine

Under unaltered conditions, when your brain experiences something pleasurable, it lets out a small wave of dopamine – one of the most potent feel-good neurotransmitters in your nervous system. This dopamine floats around in your system for a while, interacting with receptors that make you feel good before the brain reabsorbs it.

When you first start taking cocaine, the high or rush you feel comes from the chemical’s ability to block dopamine from being reabsorbed into the synapse. This means that dopamine rapidly builds up in the central nervous system as the brain continues to produce it but not reabsorb it. Typically, this manifests as a euphoric high, characterized by confidence and contentment.

However, when cocaine wears off, this dramatically differs. When you frequently take a substantial amount of the drug or engage in binging – meaning that you abuse cocaine many times in quick succession over a moderate period – your brain will drastically reduce its dopamine release. This is because your brain assumes that it will be swamped with this chemical and changes its production accordingly to regain balance. When cocaine is absent, your system is without dopamine. In its own right, this is not a healthy place to be.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine detox and early addiction treatment focus on relieving the experience of withdrawal symptoms. The most common withdrawal symptoms brought on by this dopamine depletion can be divided into two categories: mild and moderate to severe.

Mild Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Mild symptoms of withdrawal are more common in light, infrequent cocaine use cases or when drug abuse is relatively short-term. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Slowed motor skills
  • Increased appetite and hunger
  • Irritation
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Unpleasant dreams
  • A sense of joylessness
  • Lowered sex drive
  • Cravings

Moderate to Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are more severe if you abuse the drug frequently over a more extended period before quitting. If you have a mental health disorder, you may also experience intense withdrawal symptoms.

Moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Vivid dreams
  • Deep dysphoric mood
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts and ideation
  • Extreme suspicion and agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Cravings

Detox Timeline: The Crash

Cocaine has a short half-life of about ninety minutes. Typically, the first ‘crash’ is experienced within six hours of cocaine cessation. However, it can take up to four days for symptoms to peak in some cases.

The crash phase comes with the onset of mild to severe symptoms and is a time of acute stress. Cravings are most intense during this time.

Detox Timeline: The Withdrawal

The withdrawal timeline is likely to be prolonged if you use cocaine heavily or have an underlying mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety.

In some cases, psychological withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings persist or return over the course of weeks or even months after your last dose. Seeking therapeutic support and completing a medically supervised cocaine detox during this time is crucial if you struggle with an extended withdrawal period.

Natural Cocaine Detox and Unwanted Risk

The oppressive sense of hopelessness and anxiety that are often part of the cocaine withdrawal process are among the more dangerous side effects of quitting this drug without seeking help from a treatment center.

Opting for a natural detox requires you to quit cocaine at home. Unfortunately, shouldering the total weight of the psychological symptoms associated combined with the ubiquity of cravings as a symptom could put you at greater risk of relapsing. As relapse can easily lead to an overdose, extreme care needs to be taken to avoid it, so natural cocaine detox is not usually advised.

At the same time, the psychological symptoms of acute or prolonged cocaine withdrawal are risky in their own right. Erratic behavior, which may arise if you experience paranoid episodes or suicidal thoughts, can put you in harm’s way, even as you are attempting to quit cocaine for your own safety.

Doing so at home without the supervision, guidance, and grounding efforts of a treatment program is a decision that should not be made without consulting with qualified medical professionals.

Medical Detox and Addiction Treatment

Every medical cocaine detox program is individualized and responsive to the needs of each person. This means that upon seeking medical treatment, your personal circumstances will be considered to ensure that the best cocaine detox treatment is provided.

In the case of outpatient cocaine detox, a dual focus on providing psychological support and sustainably transitioning into recovery is necessary. This means integrating a schedule of drug counseling and mental health support with a range of addiction-informed therapies to ensure coping skills can be developed, leading to relapse prevention.

Clinical services, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy, are also helpful during the detox process as they can help you shift out of addictive thought processes while alleviating cocaine withdrawal symptoms.

Are There Medications Available for Cocaine Detox?

The cocaine detox process is different from that of other drug detox programs. Unlike alcohol and drug addiction treatment for commonly abused depressants such as heroin and alcohol, there are currently no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications that can be prescribed explicitly for the short-term treatment of cocaine withdrawal.

That said, a medically supervised detox program will endeavor to make the process as safe and comfortable as possible by providing treatment if necessary for severe or persistent psychological symptoms. If flagged during dual diagnosis, other medications may be prescribed to reduce depression or anxiety.

What Comes After Drug Detox?

The first step in treatment, medical detox from cocaine marks a crucial turning point in your addiction recovery journey. The next leg of the road is longer, aimed at healing holistic health, internalizing your coping mechanisms, and rebuilding the aspects of your life that substance abuse broke down.

In practice, this means therapy, reflection, and rehabilitation. It isn’t easy, but by detoxing safely, you can win stable ground to stand on as you face the next step towards an authentic, healthy life.

Contact local treatment facilities or American addiction centers to learn more about detox and the other treatments available for cocaine addiction.

How To Detox Your Body From Drugs

Addiction is a complex condition with both physical and psychological aspects. Regardless of the substance abused, drug addiction is broadly defined as the uncontrollable or difficult-to-control use of a mind-altering substance that continues compulsively despite experiencing negative consequences.

If you or a loved one are struggling to overcome drug or alcohol use, you will have likely seen some manifestation of the physiological and mental consequences of acute withdrawal.

The First Step

Modern drug addiction treatment often breaks down the recovery process into distinct – although highly interrelated – steps.

Drug detoxification, commonly known as detox, is the first step you or a loved one will need to take in the addiction recovery journey. Detox can be understood as the physiological cleansing of the body from drugs.

This describes one of two things:

  • The natural and often difficult processes that our bodies, livers, and kidneys go through in ridding themselves of psychoactive compounds.
  • A medical intervention completed as part of a professional detox program.

Going through the detoxification process does not mean that the addiction is resolved. Still, it is a physiological turning point that enables you or a loved one to start to deal with the psychological side of addiction without the shackle of dependence.

Different Addictions, Different Detoxes

The question of how you can detox from drugs is, of course, extremely individual. This is why consulting with an addiction specialist, licensed treatment facility, or other qualified healthcare provider is the best thing you can do for yourself or your loved one before embarking on withdrawal and detox.

To demonstrate the wide range of withdrawal symptoms out there, we have shared a few below:

  • Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Hypothermia
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coma
  • Agitation
  • Jitters
  • Exhaustion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Unfortunately, this is only a short list. Not only does each form of alcohol and drug abuse interact differently with our brain chemistry, but we also each metabolize substances differently and have different health backgrounds that need to be considered to plan the safest detox possible.

It may be frustrating to hear, but in the name of client safety, no one can define a one-size-fits-all approach in a blog post. That said, let’s get into some of the general trends in medical detox.

Natural or Medical Detox?

The first categories you’ll probably come across when deciding how to detox are the descriptors natural and medical. Both options have advantages and disadvantages; however, safety concerns depend on the substance and your health background.

Natural Detox

Natural detox refers to undergoing the body’s process of eliminating harmful toxins without assistance from any kind of prescribed medication. This means weathering the physical and emotional side effects of withdrawal without any kind of chemical help to delay, alleviate, or taper off withdrawal symptoms or cravings.

The natural route is commonly associated with home detoxes, but some addiction clinics offer unmedicated treatment options for individuals who can safely go through them.

Natural drug detox in or in association with a clinic is likely to include alternative or ancient therapies to alleviate pain and relieve stress. These modalities include acupuncture, movement therapies, herbal remedies, and counseling.

If you choose an inpatient option (more on this later), you’ll also be in a supervised and substance-free environment with access to lots of social, medical, and emotional support.

Unsupported Drug Withdrawal: The Risks

Natural detox is not often recommended due to the potentially dangerous side-effects of acute withdrawal syndrome for many substances of abuse. Detoxing at home or quitting cold turkey can be particularly risky for cases of heavy addiction to alcohol or benzodiazepines.

Unfortunately, abruptly quitting these types of sedatives can lead to many health complications, such as seizures. Tapering off an addiction to certain drugs with the help of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications and professional supervision is safer, more successful, and easier.

Withdrawal symptoms, even in reasonably severe cases of addiction to cocaine and heroin, do not directly result in lethal or long-term complications. However, even so, choosing a natural detox over a medical one could put you or a loved one at greater risk of relapse during the withdrawal period. Because tolerance to both of these substances falls swiftly after cold turkey cessation, relapse is far more likely to result in a dangerous or deadly overdose.

Natural detox is theoretically possible, but it is less safe. It is strongly advised that you or your loved one book a consultation with an addiction specialist to assess the safety of detox and create a plan to keep your physical and mental health protected during this vulnerable time.

Medical Detox

Withdrawal is safest and most successful when accompanied by a medical detox program. This form of addiction treatment can take place either in a medical setting or at home. Either way, it involves the short-term prescription of FDA-approved medications that taper chemical dependence back to the healthy baseline and alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

What you can expect from medically-assisted detox depends on your addiction and personal health circumstances.

Severe withdrawal from benzodiazepines and alcohol are both frequently treated by prescribing very long-acting sedatives and incrementally lowering the dose over the treatment period. Research into heroin withdrawal, on the other hand, has shown great success when clients are treated with buprenorphine or methadone taper methods.

Should I Choose an Inpatient or Outpatient Detox Program?

The next defining factor in drug detox programs to understand is whether you want to go for an inpatient (also known as residential) program or choose an at-home detox.

Put simply, detox programs vary between ones where you can stay at home and commute to your clinic for appointments and therapy or reside on-campus as part of a fully supervised inclusive program.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient detox is most helpful for people with severe substance addiction. If withdrawal will put your health at serious risk, or if you have a history of relapse in intensive outpatient programs, this may be the best option.

If you choose inpatient treatment, you can expect:

  • a substance-free environment
  • medically supervised detox and care for withdrawal symptoms
  • twenty-four-hour health support from licensed medical professionals
  • mental health support
  • ongoing evaluation of the detox process from start to finish
  • on-call therapeutic and mental health support
  • community support for and from other inpatient residents seeking recovery from drug use

Medically supervised detox ensures that you have the support you need at all times as you progress through a residential program. Many inpatient programs also offer natural drug detox options with holistic schedules of alternative, experiential, group, and individual therapies to ease withdrawal symptoms and the recovery process.

However, staying at a detox facility is often more expensive and may require you to take long periods of time away from your daily life to detox your body.

Outpatient Treatment

Detox and substance abuse treatment can be offered via an outpatient program. This means that you undergo the program from the comfort of your own home, commuting into your chosen treatment center for evaluations, drug tests, therapeutic appointments, and support sessions according to your personalized schedule.

This allows you to keep your commitments during detox and integrate recovery from the get-go into your personal life. However, if you experience severe withdrawal symptoms or cannot ensure that your home environment is safe and substance-free, you may benefit from greater access to a treatment team and doctor supervision.

To Conclude

On a large scale, efficacy rates are similar for inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment options. Seeking out professional medical advice is the best way to choose between these two types of detox options.

Many people will find that the choice is made by medical or financial necessity, but others may be able to choose according to preference and lifestyle.

How To Detox From Alcohol at Home

When you finally decide to quit drinking alcohol, you may think the safest option is to just stop. Easy, right? But quitting cold turkey can be challenging if you are dependent on alcohol.

Depending on your addiction and experience with alcohol, detoxing can induce severe withdrawal symptoms. As a result, it is essential to remember that not everyone can detox from alcohol at home.

Find out about how to safely detox from alcohol at home here.

What Is Alcohol Detox?

The first step in treating an alcohol abuse disorder is detoxification. Usually, this is medically induced when you decide to stop drinking to flush alcohol from your body.

Typically after detoxification, you move on to other steps in your road to recovery. These include therapy, mental health treatment, and support groups.

Although a medical detox is recommended, some people decide to self-detox instead. However, this is not a safe form of substance abuse treatment.

What Is Self Detox?

Most people seek professional treatment when detoxing from alcohol. However, some may decide to stop drinking at home with no additional support or treatment and attempt to self-detox.

For some, detoxing from alcohol at home can be an easy and safe option, especially if they only have a mild addiction or experience minor withdrawal symptoms. But for others, it can be a lot harder to manage without support from a medical professional.

Is It Safe To Detox From Alcohol at Home?

When deciding to quit drinking, detoxing from home may seem like the best option. After all, your home is your place of comfort where you feel safe and in control. However, if you are unaware of the detox process, detoxing at home could pose many risks.

The risks associated with detoxing at home vary based on your alcohol dependence. Some people experience severe withdrawal symptoms, while others do not. If you experience severe withdrawal symptoms, it is recommended that you seek help in a treatment facility.

As the detox process from alcohol can be just as dangerous and daunting as detoxing from other drugs, you may experience physical symptoms and unwanted mental health effects when you start an at-home detox. For this reason, attending an alcohol rehab center where you are under medical supervision is beneficial.

Pros and Cons of Detoxing at Home

There are many benefits associated with detoxing at home, such as:

  • Saving money – Treatment at an alcohol rehab center can be expensive. When detoxing at home, you have no financial obligations.
  • Comfort and familiarity – You are in your own home where you are comfortable with your surroundings.
  • Family and friends – You may want emotional support from family members and friends. When detoxing at home, you have easy access to this.
  • Anonymity and privacy – Nobody has to know of your detox when in the privacy of your own home.

Despite this, choosing to detox at home comes with many risks, including:

  • Higher risk of relapse
  • Lack of prescription medications and professional medical advice
  • Lower rate of success
  • The threat of complications or health problems due to withdrawal

Top Tips for Detoxing Safely

If you decide to detox at home despite the risks, you should ensure you are aware of all concerning factors and detox safely. Here are some tips that will increase your chances of success:

  • Gradually taper your intake of alcohol – If you quit cold turkey, you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms. To avoid this, it is recommended that you slowly reduce your alcohol consumption. This also helps in dealing with dependence.
  • Remove all alcohol from your home – When you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, you will likely encounter cravings, and you may convince yourself that it is okay to have one last drink. However, if you get rid of any temptations, you will have a higher chance of success in the early stages of recovery.
  • Ask for support – If something goes wrong during an at-home detox, you need to be able to contact someone who can provide emotional and physical support. Ideally, this should be someone who can help you access medical treatment if any complications arise.
  • Keep a clear schedule – Ensure you have time to focus on yourself and your detox. Take some time off work for a better chance of long-term recovery.

Benefits of Medically Supervised Detox From Alcohol

As you now know, there are many risks associated with deciding to detox at home. A safer and more reliable option is entering an inpatient program where you undergo detox in the presence of licensed medical professionals who can help if you experience severe withdrawal symptoms or encounter any medical conditions.

If you do not want to attend an inpatient treatment due to costs and time, several outpatient treatments are available.

Medical supervision for both alcohol and drug abuse ensures you have the correct care to work towards a successful recovery. Research states that almost one-third of people who receive professional treatment for alcohol abuse are sober one year later.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

When you suddenly stop drinking, your body will go through alcohol withdrawal which can be painful and may last for weeks. The length and severity of your alcohol use disorder will contribute to the symptoms you encounter.

Those who have excessively consumed alcohol for a number of years are more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Whereas if your addiction is less intense, you may experience minor withdrawal symptoms.

Several factors can affect your symptoms. For example, if you have used other drugs while drinking, withdrawal symptoms may worsen. Many people with alcoholism also struggle with a mental health disorder as it is common to start drinking to mask any unpleasant feelings. Unfortunately, mental health problems can intensify withdrawal symptoms.

Some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heart rate

More severe symptoms are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Illusions
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens

Delirium tremens are the most severe symptom of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. If you experience this condition, symptoms may include a high heart rate, increased body temperature, and seizures. You must seek professional treatment advice if you experience any of these.

It has been found that 50% of people going through alcohol detoxification will experience withdrawal symptoms, with an estimation that 3-5% will have severe symptoms.

How To Manage Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms at Home

There are many ways to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms from home safely. Below, we have shared just a few:

  • Understand the process – During alcohol detox, you will experience cravings. Be prepared for the ride as the feeling gradually builds and then comes crashing down. If you can ride this out, you will successfully avoid temptations to drink.
  • Keep a healthy diet – During detox, make sure you eat lots of fruits and vegetables. As drinking causes your body to convert alcohol to sugar, your body may begin to crave it when you stop. A healthy way to suppress these cravings is with fresh fruit. Vitamins are also helpful in aiding your withdrawal symptoms.
  • Keep hydrated – When you detox from alcohol, you will most likely experience nausea and vomiting, leading to dehydration. For this reason, it is essential to drink plenty of water and consume beverages that contain electrolytes, such as energy drinks.
  • Be careful about who you spend time with – When going through withdrawal, you will have cravings. With this in mind, it is vital to keep a distance from people you associate with drinking. You must be honest about your desire to stay sober, which may involve cutting people out of your life.
  • Controlled breathing – Deep and controlled breathing helps the body receive oxygen, stabilizing your heart rate and blood pressure. A combination of deep breathing and meditation can help clear the mind.

To Conclude

If you are considering an at-home detox, you should seek professional advice to help determine what course of treatment is best suited to you. A doctor can evaluate if you have a severe form of alcohol abuse, which will determine whether you will experience minor symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that are easier to manage at home.

Alcohol abuse disorders are serious medical conditions. If you experience alcohol addiction, you should seek professional alcohol addiction treatment.

3 Tips To Make Your Detox As Easy as Possible

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.

What Is Medical Detox?

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. 

What Happens to Your Body During a Detox?

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:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

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.

1. Healthy Diet and Exercise

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.

2. Join Support Groups

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.

3. Practice Mindfulness

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.

To Conclude 

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.

 

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