woman detoxing from drugs and alcohol

The Dangers of Detoxing from Drugs

SoCal Detox
SoCal Detox

SoCal Detox editorial contributors include writers, editors, mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals who are trained to create credible and authoritative health information that is accurate, informative, and easy to understand.

The long-term abuse of drugs has significant and often devastating effects on the user’s body and mind. When an addict finally makes the important commitment to address their substance abuse, the first and most important step in regaining physical and mental health is to undergo medical detoxification at a reputable drug treatment facility. Drug detox will help minimize the physical and psychological symptoms that are associated with withdrawal, and it helps set the stage for the addict to receive much-needed therapy and other essential treatment services.

While the drug detox process is an essential foundation for an addict’s individual plan of recovery, many who enter drug treatment may have a significant amount of fear and uncertainty about the process itself. While the pain and discomfort associated with drug withdrawals can be a legitimate cause for concern, much of the fear surrounding drug detox–and especially about the dangers of drug detox–come from misinformation. In this article, the main dangers of drug detox will be discussed as well as possible options addicts have in properly detoxing from drugs.

What Are The Most Common Dangers of Drug Detox?

When it comes time to quit drugs once and for all, there inevitably will be some concerns and possible dangers that come with the detox process. These dangers are not meant to scare anyone away from undergoing drug detox; it is meant to make you aware of the dangers that may await those who decide not to pursue quality medical help. The following are the dangers of detoxing from drugs.

Going Cold Turkey woman detoxing from drugs

Perhaps the biggest danger of detoxing from drugs is trying to do it without medical supervision. Many addicts may feel they do it on their own by going cold turkey or by undergoing some form of self-detoxification by using a variety over-the-counter products. On the surface, these methods may seem harmless and inexpensive, but these forms of detox can be especially risky–and can even be deadly in certain circumstances.

No matter the substance, each has a set of withdrawal symptoms that can be extremely uncomfortable to tolerate. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms are the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Palpitations

Drugs such as alcohol, heroin and prescription pills have added withdrawal symptoms such as hallucinations, seizures and psychosis that can pose extra dangers. Additionally, these withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening if there are underlying medical conditions present or if an individual is abusing other drugs. By choosing not to undergo a proper drug detox program, an addict can turn back to drug use in order to minimize withdrawal symptoms and their overall health can worsen over time.

The Use of Medications

detoxing from drugs

Another potential danger inherent in the drug detox process concerns the use of medications during the process itself. Certain drugs such as heroin and some prescription medications have significant effects on body and brain functioning. When a person quits taking these kinds of drugs altogether, the body may go into a state of shock and may even shut down. As a result, detox staff may prescribe medications that will help minimize withdrawal symptoms and help the body gradually wean itself off of substances.

While medications such as methadone and Suboxone are very effective in making the withdrawal process more tolerable, these medications often have a similar chemical composition to the drugs they have been addicted to. If not taken as directed by medical personnel and done under strict medical supervision, people can become addicted to these medications and they can experienced longer periods of withdrawal symptoms over a greater period of time.

Leaving Detox Early

An additional danger that can occur during the detox process is if an individual leaves detox early and doesn’t follow through with the program. For many who enter drug detox, the number one question that is often asked is how long will detox last? In general, the detox process can last 5-14 days but is highly dependent on the length of time a person has been addicted to drugs, the frequency and amount of the drug taken and any underlying medical or mental health issues that may be present at time of admission.

There are some addicts who start feeling better, as a result they may feel they don’t need intensive drug treatment. There may be others who grow impatient with the drug detox process and decide to leave treatment to try and detox on their own. Whatever the reason, leaving detox early can be dangerous in the fact that people will resume using drugs and alcohol and further get caught in the downward spiral of substance abuse.

Undergoing Detox Somewhere Other Than a Drug Treatment Facility

Many reputable drug treatment facilities have drug detox facilities on treatment grounds or in close proximity to the treatment facility. This situation is ideal in the fact that staff can perform a comprehensive evaluation of their physical and mental health and can create an individualized plan of recovery that fits their unique needs. These arrangements allow family to come and provide much needed support, and the environment is safe, secure and supportive.

However, there are instances in which people have undergone drug detox in a psychiatric unit or in other environment in which they are isolated or “locked down”. These environments don’t provide the individual attention and care that is found in facilities located at drug rehabs, and the lack of family support and encouragement from staff can drive addicts away from the treatment they need to overcome their addiction.

Call SoCal Detox Today

The drug detox process is crucial to helping addicts achieve and maintain long-term recovery. If you are looking for a quality detox program that utilizes proven and effective methods in a safe and empowering environment, call SoCal Detox today. As one of the premier drug detox facilities in Orange County, SoCal Detox offers drug detox programs that can be individually tailored to meet your specific needs. Start your recovery journey the right way and call SoCal Detox right now.

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