Detoxification is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of a drug while managing the symptoms of withdrawal. It is often the first step in a drug treatment program and should be followed by treatment with a behavioral-based therapy and/or a medication, if available. Detox alone with no follow-up is not treatment.
Detox should only be attempted under the close supervision of a licensed professional. Detoxification is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of a drug while managing the symptoms of withdrawal. It is often the first step in a drug treatment program and should be followed by treatment with a behavioral-based therapy and/or a medication, if available. Detox alone with no follow-up is not treatment.
The main objective of detoxification from alcohol is getting an individual to an alcohol-free state. It is intended to relieve the patient from pain resulting in the absence of alcohol, and to prepare that person to enter into a treatment and rehabilitation center. This is the ideal process for maintaining a sober lifestyle. Alcohol detox should be completed in an inpatient, medical center. Alcohol detox can cause a wide variety of physical as well as psychological symptoms that can become traumatic. Symptoms can range from mild to serious and they include: tremors (the shakes), headaches, vomiting, perspiration, restlessness, loss of appetite and insomnia. More serious effects of alcohol detox can be Delirium Tremors (DTs), autonomic hyperactivity and seizures (convulsions). Detoxification from alcohol can take anywhere from 3 to 14 days.
Withdrawal is caused by dramatically reducing or stopping the use of drugs after the body has become addicted to it. Detox from drugs also has symptoms that include: sweating, shaking, headache, drug craving, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, inability to sleep, confusion, agitation, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral changes. While certain types of drugs require medical attention to detox from, others do not. Those that require medical attention are opiates such as heroin and methadone, and prescription medications of all classifications. Other illegal drugs such as marijuana, crystal meth, or cocaine (crack) do not require medical attention for detoxification. Treatment during detox consists of monitoring vital signs, supportive care and medications. It usually takes anywhere from 3 to 7 days to detox from a drug that requires medical attention.