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How Will I Feel During Drug or Alcohol Detox?

Is it worth it to go through the detox process, and what should I expect after detox?

Substance use, including alcohol use and drug use, in the United States is remaining consistent each year. Millions of people enter rehab programs and do not get the help they need. Many individuals ask before they enter a program, "how I will feel during drug or alcohol detox?"

To detoxify is to remove the toxic chemicals from your system that have collected during your alcohol and/or drug use. During the detox process, it is not uncommon for the individual to experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the type of substance used, the amount of the substance use and the length of time for the substance use. For example, the withdrawal symptoms that you may feel from alcohol use are sweating, headache, tremors, nausea and vomiting, anxiety and irritability and in severe cases, a condition known as the DTs, or delirium tremens which include hallucinations, seizures and confusion.

Withdrawal symptoms that you may feel from drug use will depend on the types of drugs used. Some drug use does not require detox such as cocaine and meth, while others will have a varying time of detox and different withdrawal symptoms. The most common drug withdrawal symptoms are anxiety and irritability, sweating and chills, insomnia, headaches and seizures. If you are not sure whether or not you need detox, you should check with a doctor.

How you will feel during drug or alcohol detox will depend on the method of detox that you choose. Outpatient medical detox uses medication to cover or treat the withdrawal symptoms while you transition from one drug to another drug. The most common outpatient medical detox is methadone clinics, or you may receive a prescription for methadone or suboxone from a doctor. These methods are seen by many as not safe or effective because they are not supervised by a physician and you can become dependent on the methadone or suboxone!

Methadone and suboxone are both opiate drugs and are controlled substances of the same opiate family as morphine and heroin. They block the opioid receptors to leave the individual with a euphoric feeling and contentment. Methadone and suboxone have the potential for overuse and misuse as with any other substance. Individuals that have taken methadone or suboxone often find that when they decide to quit taken the drug; they experience the same withdrawal symptoms as with any other substance and usually for a longer period of time.

Traditional inpatient hospital detox is seen by many individuals as cold and uncomfortable. Traditional detox places the patient in a psychiatric unit or on a psych floor; kept in isolation or on lockdown. Patients are not allowed to have any contact with the outside world and not permitted to bring in any personal items. The oral medication that is used by traditional detox facilities has been criticized by many physicians as being ineffective and the practices by the facilities as questionable. Patients in these facilities are often left to detox on their own, to go through withdrawal symptoms with little or no comfort and made to feel ashamed.

Many physicians regard IV therapy medical detox as being the safest and most effective method of detox. Supervised by board certified physicians, IV therapy makes it possible for the physician to control and make changes to the medication protocol as the withdrawal symptoms change and the patient progresses through the detox. Patients are kept comfortable and are successful in completing the detox.

Many individuals discover the need for an after detox program to help them rebuild their life. St. Jude Retreats offers a program that uses cognitive behavioral education to help guests self evaluate their choices and decisions and to make choices, develop habits and behaviors that are productive, positive and purposeful to their lives.

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