Guide to Drug Detox: Risks and Tips to Safe Withdrawal

drug detox

If you or your loved one is suffering from drug addiction, you definitely need detoxification to save your life. Detoxification from a drug commonly referred to as “drug detox” is not an easy process. In fact, this may be the hardest thing an addict would do.

Drug detox which is the first step in the substance abuse treatment process can last several days or weeks. This may be one of the best decisions you will ever make. It is not only necessary to help you recover from this problem but can as well save your life. In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about drug addiction and drug detox process.


What is Detoxification?

Drug detox is the first step in drug withdrawal process. It is considered one of the most difficult parts of recovery since it is the first stage of the treatment. The symptoms experienced in this stage can be difficult and unbearable. It can lead to many unpleasant symptoms and cravings. However, it is extremely important in the recovery process.

Detoxification will be part of your recovery process whether you are suffering from prescription medication, heroin, methamphetamine or cocaine.

The drug detox process should be done in three steps which include:

  • Evaluating the patient and his needs
  • Stabilizing the health and well-being of the patient
  • Encourage the patient to enter treatment for substance abuse.


How Long Does Drug Detox Symptoms Take?

The duration of the drug detox symptoms will depend on the severity and the duration of the drug use. In most cases, this process will take 5-7 days on the average. However, some individuals may continue to experience symptoms weeks or even months after starting their treatment.  Fortunately, these symptoms that come at the later stage of treatment are very manageable and improve greatly with time.


You may continue experiencing symptoms such as insomnia, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold days or weeks after starting withdrawal process. Other symptoms such as anxiety and depression can last for months.


Where to Get Drug Detox?

Drug detox can take place in various settings. This will depend on the patient or the place of choice by his loved ones. It can be done at home as well as in a medical facility. However, it is recommended that detox should be done under a medical supervision so that the patient can get appropriate care and guidance needed to overcome this problem.

Detox can be done as inpatient or outpatient. According to a report by the New England Journal of Medicine, most episodes of detoxification started after the patient is admitted to a hospital in response to an overdose. This is the reason why most people prefer to complete detox in a hospital setting. On the other hand, detox can be done as an outpatient but under the supervision of a medical professional.



Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Addiction Treatment


If you are experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, you will need a close medical supervision. This requires that the addict should check into a medical facility as an inpatient so that he will get the attention and care he required. According to a report by Alcohol Health and Research World, 10% of drug detox patients are required to be treated as an inpatient.

Treatment as an inpatient comes with some benefits. Some of the benefits include less access to addictive substances which will lead to zero or little opportunities for relapse. Again, a patient who suffers from physical dependence will also benefit from 24-hour care when they are treated as inpatients. Any complication that arises as a result of the withdrawal can instantly be diagnosed and treated instantly.



According to a study by Alcohol Health and Research World, addicts that are suffering from milder withdrawal symptoms do not require an inpatient setting. They can benefit from being treated as an outpatient. If you are experiencing mild symptoms such as heart palpitations, tremors, sweating, and nausea, they are mostly not dangerous and can be managed at home. The outpatient setting has its advantage, it is less expensive and consumes less time for detox treatment. Moreover, it will give the individual an opportunity to stay close to his family and friends who will provide the needed support and love to overcome this problem.

Notwithstanding the advantages of being an outpatient, it also carries some risks. One of the major risks of outpatient treatment is a higher risk of relapse as a result of easier access to addictive substances.


Detoxification at Home

In some cases, addicts prefer to detox at home without any form of medical supervision. This is very dangerous and should be avoided at all cost. Some symptoms of drug withdrawal can be life-threatening and demand the attention of a health professional.  Moreover, the risk of relapse is high when detox is done at home without proper medical supervision.

Drug detox should be done in an inpatient setting to avoid complications that may arise from the withdrawal symptoms. There are a lot of facilities the addict can check in to get the right care that will lead to an effective detox and treatment. If you or your loved one is suffering from drug abuse, we recommend that you check into a medical facility for proper treatment.


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