It’s no secret that drug withdrawals are one of the worst parts of the rehabilitation process. This is the period of time when the drugs are leaving your body, and it can make you extremely uncomfortable. In many cases, withdrawals can make you extremely sick. The term ‘dopesick’ was coined to describe the first effects of the detoxification process. It often refers to someone who has become chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol in order to even feel normal.
Their brains have learned to depend on certain drugs to replace the chemicals that they’d otherwise make naturally. This is often the integral motivation behind drug and alcohol addiction. Addicts continue to use in order to avoid these kinds of withdrawal symptoms, and to function in as normal a way as possible.
After the body reaches a certain level of chemical dependency, the high that the addict once associated with the drug really starts to go away. This leads to a need to use more and more of the same substances in an effort to feel any different at all. This kind of accelerating use can eventually lead to the use of harder drugs and the tendency to overdose. For more serious addicts, a period of abstinence lasting only a few hours can begin the withdrawal symptoms. This can be terrifying for them, and leads them to constantly seek their drug of choice.
The idea of detoxification is actually terrifying for many people who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. This is the time when they will go through awful physical symptoms, and feel out of control. It can also cause profound psychological issues as they begin to connect to the world again.
They find that the drugs only numbed their problems, but never solved them. This is why it’s so important for an addict to go through the detoxification process with the help of a drug treatment rehab facility. The professionals there will understand what the addict is going through, and can help to treat the sometimes-dangerous symptoms of withdrawal. There are several different methods of detoxification:
This is a detoxification process that is undergone with the close supervision of the rehab staff. It is generally done in a rehab facility where the addict can be monitored for any dangerous signs of withdrawal. Many harder drugs can cause serious physical discomfort as they leave the body. This includes things like heroin, benzodiazepines, methamphetamine, severe alcohol abuse, and other opioids. Muscle aches, fevers, cold sweats, cramps, upset stomachs, seizures, psychosis and even death can result when the detox process isn’t carefully monitored. This is really the safest way to rid the body of the initial chemical dependency. After this, the rehab staff will be close at hand to begin the intensive therapy required to start the journey towards sobriety.
This is a method of detoxification that must be done in a hospital with the aid of a licensed doctor. It is done when it’s imperative that the drugs be flushed from the system as quickly as possible for medical reasons- or to avoid dangerous withdrawal symptoms. The addict is placed in a sedated state, and the blood and body are flushed of chemicals. This effectively eliminates all drugs from the body very quickly with no symptoms of withdrawals. The rapid detox method is extremely controversial, and rarely used.
This is the method often referred to as ‘cold turkey’. The addict simply chooses to abstain from drugs and alcohol, and commits to riding out the withdrawal process at home. This isn’t particularly effective, and isn’t recommended for the treatment of addiction.