How Long is Drug Detox: What Is the Process?

Those with an addiction to illegal or prescription drugs will need help to overcome this illness. Making the commitment to get help for addiction is a big decision and one that many drug addicts will find tough. If you are a sufferer, it can be extremely difficult to accept that addiction has become a major part of your life. However, if you know deep down that your drug use is having a negative impact on not only your life but also the lives of those you love, you probably know that something needs to be done about it.

The first hurdle you will face is the process of getting rid of the drugs from your body; this is known as drug detox. You have probably heard horror stories of detox or maybe you have seen images on TV or the big screen of people suffering terribly while detoxing from drugs. We are not going to lie to you and tell you that the process is easy, but we will tell you that it is unlikely to be as bad as you are imagining.

What is Detox?

Many people mistake detox for rehabilitation, but these are not the same thing. Detox is just the first step on the road to recovery, and while the aim of detox is to get you clean, it will not help you to stay clean; that is where rehabilitation comes in.

Whether or not you will require a medically supervised drug detox will depend on the type of drugs you have been abusing, the length of time you have been addicted, and the severity of your addiction. Nevertheless, you will need to be clean before you can begin rehabilitation in a UKAT clinic. We offer comprehensive assessments for patients that allow us to determine whether they require a medical detox before starting recovery.

Detox is the process of getting rid of the drugs from your system. If you are physically dependent on drugs, you are likely to experience some withdrawal symptoms as your body reacts to no longer getting the supply it is used to. As it tries to restore the balance and get back to normal, it is common for certain symptoms to occur.

What to Expect from Drug Detox

Drug detox is never easy, but it does not have to be excruciating either. You will almost certainly find it uncomfortable, and you will probably feel worse before you feel better. Nonetheless, the good news is that UKAT rehabilitation centres offer medical detoxes where your safety and comfort are paramount. We know exactly what to expect from drug detox and we know how to make your experience more comfortable and less painful.

Everyone experiences detox differently, so we cannot predict the exact withdrawal symptoms you will experience. You may be lucky enough to have one or two mild symptoms, but then again, you could be one of the few people that experience severe symptoms. The type of symptoms you experience will depend on a number of factors, including how long you have been addicted, the kind of drugs you were taking, and your body’s response to detox.

Typical Withdrawal Symptoms

While we cannot provide you with an exact list of symptoms, we can tell you that most people do experience problems sleeping. Likewise, the majority of individuals withdrawing from drugs will have mood swings. This means that you could be feeling on top of the world one minute and in the depths of depression the next. Mood swings and insomnia may last for weeks or months.

If you are detoxing from illegal drugs such as cocaine, you may experience deep depression; this is quite common. Recovering cocaine addicts will usually experience intense cravings for the drug, and these cravings may return many weeks or months after drug detox. That is why so many recovering cocaine addicts suffer a relapse. Other withdrawal symptoms can include paranoia, anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue.

Detoxing from heroin can be very complex, and symptoms range in severity from mild to severe. Recovering heroin addicts tend to experience strong cravings for the drug and may become manipulative in their attempts to get their hands on it. Other symptoms include sweating, watery eyes, runny nose, restlessness, yawning, muscle twitching, leg cramps, irritability, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping. Severe symptoms include high blood pressure, nausea, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting, rapid breathing, and high temperature.

Easing the Symptoms

UKAT clinic staff will do everything in their power to make your drug detox more comfortable. Your safety is our utmost priority, and we want to ensure that the most severe withdrawal symptoms are prevented.

Our counsellors and therapists will work with you to help you cope with the symptoms. This may be through individual or group therapy sessions or meditation. You may be prescribed medication to help relieve any pain you are feeling if this is deemed necessary by the doctor on duty.

Sticking with Detox

You may be tempted to quit detox when the symptoms get particularly bad, but we would urge you to stick with it as we know that you will soon feel better. The intense cravings experienced by those in drug detox can be enough to make some patients leave treatment and search for a quick fix, but this will not resolve anything. It will simply leave you back where you started and will mean that the hard work you have already put into the process will have been for nothing.

However painful or uncomfortable you are feeling, know that these feelings will pass. At a UKAT centre, you will not be alone, and you will have constant access to support and care throughout the process. If you are feeling particularly uncomfortable, seek help from staff immediately as they will be able to ease your symptoms. Take things one day at a time and know that every day you pass is another day free from drugs.

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