Drug Detox – What is it?
You’ve heard the term “drug detox” but do you know what detox is or how it works? Is drug detox safe for the individual? How does drug detox help you fight the drug addiction and regain sobriety? When it comes to addiction, drug detox is like the skeleton in the closet, nobody really wants to talk about it but it’s just another part of drug addiction that must be dealt with.
When you aren’t fully aware or educated about something it can be scarey and hard to understand. Drug detox may be something that you don’t really want to think about, you may have heard horror stories about what it was like for someone to detox from drugs and you may just plain want to avoid the situation all together but when it comes down to it, you never know if you or someone you love will have to go through drug detox and being informed is the first step to taking control of sobriety.
What is Drug Detox?
Drug detox is a means of ridding the body of a physically addicting drug such as heroin or prescription medications. Not all drugs are physically addicting and therefore not all addicts will require a drug detoxification phase in order to begin the recovery process. In most cases, drug detox is medically supervised because the process can be painful for the addict and may even be dangerous.
Drug detox for psychologically addicting drugs such as marijuana does not necessarily carry any dangers the way a physically addicting drug such as heroin does but a person can still be detoxed from psychologically addicting drugs as well. The detox procedure for psychologically addicting drugs may include taking an anti anxiety medication or being treated for depression or other problems associated with the drug use.
For physically addicting drugs such as heroin or prescription medications the detox process is very different. The body will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is eliminated from the system. These withdrawal symptoms may include pain, seizures, trembling, vomiting, nausea, hallucinations and a variety of other problems. During the detox process, the addict is given a regimen of medications that can help the body to reduce the withdrawal symptoms while the real drug is eliminated from the system. Gradually the addict is weaned from the drug and the body is allowed to begin to recover from the drug addiction.
How Safe is Drug Detox?
Drug detox is a dangerous process that must be monitored by medical professionals. There are various types of drug detox programs that range from a slow detox such as is described above in which the addict is given a supplemental medication that is gradually weaned from the system and there is are also rapid detox programs. In rapid detox, the individual is placed in a medical coma while the drugs are rapidly removed from the body. Rapid detox allows the addict to go to sleep and not feel the withdrawal symptoms while the drugs are eliminated from the system. The addicts awakes to being “drug free.”
Is Drug Detox a Cure for Drug Addiction?
Drug detox is not a “cure” for drug addiction. Drug detox simply begins the process of recovery from drug addiction. One must first eliminate the drugs from the body before recovery can begin. Many rehab centers will require that an individual go through a medical detox program before being admitted to the rehabilitation program for counseling and therapy.
The cure for drug addiction is a combination of drug detox, long term commitment, counseling and therapy. Just because a person goes through drug detox does not mean that the problems that initially resulted in the use and addiction to drugs have been solved. In order for drug detox to be most effective, it must be followed by long term care and a commitment to staying sober.