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Detoxification: Myths About the Drug and Alcohol Detox Process

In this article, we will discuss several of the common myths about the drug and alcohol detox process. 

What Is Detoxing?

Detoxing or detoxification is the first step in achieving sobriety. It is the process during which drug or alcohol consumption is all traces of drugs and alcohol are removed from the body so that therapy and rehabilitation can begin.  According to the Ardu Recovery Center website, “Typical medically assisted detoxes often involve some form of a drug to block the brain’s receptors for the abused drug while also offering some form of non-opioid pain alleviation. Medical professionals often use similar methods when treating opioid, alcohol, or benzodiazepine addictions. IV amino acid therapy utilizes a person-specific cocktail of amino acids that seek to restore and correct imbalances caused by prolonged drug use.” The detox process usually takes between 7-10 days; however, each individual’s experience will be different depending on their physical makeup, the type of drug they are detoxing from, and how long they have been taking it, and that is why there are different detox approaches available. 

What Is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal symptoms are experienced when the amount of drugs in the system are significantly reduced or eradicated completely. The severity of withdrawal symptoms will vary widely from person to person depending on overall mental and physical health, the type of substance they are addicted to, how long the addiction has persisted, and the amount of the substance they regularly consume.  Common physical withdrawal symptoms include: 
  • Vivid nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle cramps
  • Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Perspiration
  • Running nose
  • Fever/chills
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Bone and muscle pain
Common psychological withdrawal symptoms include
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Inability to focus
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Intense cravings
In extreme situations, withdrawal can even cause seizures, delirium, and hallucinations, which is why it is vital that you be monitored by professionals during the drug and alcohol detox process. Additionally, with medication, the pain and severity of withdrawal symptoms can be greatly reduced.  Now that we have gone over what detoxing and withdrawal are, let’s debunk some of the myths. 
  1. You Can Effectively Detox on Your Own

When you detox alone, the withdrawal symptoms can be almost overwhelming, and you will be alone if you find you need emergency medical care. Research shows that having supportive, trained professionals around you can be just as important as medication in successful detox. When you stay at a facility during your detox, you will have round-the-clock care. Someone will help you to manage your pain, make sure your needs are being met, and be prepared in case of an emergency. Although you may be able to manage detoxing on your own, you are much more likely to be successful when enrolled in a rehab program. 
  1. If Treatment Did Not Work the First Time, It Will Never Work

This myth is very dangerous and can stop addicts from believing change is possible. Your state of mind during detox will make all the difference in whether or not you are successful. If you don’t believe detox will work for you, then chances are it will not. However, if you trust in the process, are committed to putting in the work, and believe that change is possible, then you will have a much greater chance of long-term success. Focus on why this attempt will be different, and hold on to your “why” for getting sober. 
  1. You Will Not Experience Withdrawal Symptoms With Medically Assisted Detox

Although your symptoms could be greatly reduced, medically assisted detox will not eliminate your symptoms entirely. It is likely that the detox process will still be difficult; however, not as difficult as it would be on your own. 
  1. Medicine Will Not Help During Detox

As previously stated, you will not be free of withdrawal symptoms during medically assisted detox, but your symptoms can be greatly reduced, making for a smoother, easier recovery. Additionally, you will be able to bounce back faster from medically assisted detox and possibly be able to start treatment and therapy sooner. 
  1. A Person is Sober After Detox

While you no longer have drugs or alcohol in your system after detox, the cravings and emotional need for the drug will still be there. Detox is the first step toward sobriety, but true sobriety isn’t achieved until treatment and therapy have been completed. 

The Importance of Medically Assisted Detox

The detox process can be an extremely challenging time, both mentally and physically. Do not attempt to go at it alone; instead, choose a medically assisted detox program. These programs are here to help you manage your pain and withdrawal symptoms, helping you to eat properly, stay hydrated, and sleep throughout the process, which will ultimately help you to bounce back faster. Additionally, in the case of a medical emergency, you will not be alone, and you will receive immediate care.  After medically assisted detox, your care providers can help you to transition into treatment and therapy, which can be hard to navigate on your own. Receiving treatment and therapy immediately following detox can greatly improve your chances of long-term recovery.  If you have an addiction, get treatment before it is too late. There are medical professionals ready and waiting to help you reach sobriety, and there is a treatment program that will fit your needs. 

Contact Ardu Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are about to undergo the drug and alcohol detox process, it is time to seek professional medical help. At Ardu Recovery Center, we take both a medicinal and holistic approach to drug and alcohol detox because we believe that wellness is both mental and physical. We offer a wide array of services and methods so that you can do what works best for you personally, giving you a higher chance of success. Reach out to us today to schedule a tour of our beautiful rehabilitation center in Provo, Utah, and see if Ardu could be a good fit for you.