Get help for drug addiction with our tailored rehab selection service.
*This page medically reviewed by Dr Robert Lefever, 15th June 2021
Drug detox is the process of clearing the drugs or alcohol you have been addicted to, out of your system. It is usually the first step on the stage to rehabilitation. This article should tell you everything you need to know about drug detox in one place.
Let’s start with the basics. What is a detox, anyway?
What is Detox?
Detox is the name we give to making sure the chemical substances you were addicted to have left your body. It usually takes anything from 7 – 15 days, depending on factors like your height and weight, the drugs you used, and how long your addiction lasted for.
There are many ways to remove the drugs from your system, but all of them involve taking the time to allow them to work their way out naturally. However, if you do it under medical supervision the withdrawal symptoms can be helped along. If you, do it at home, you might have a heart attack, go through psychosis and hurt yourself, or achieve any number of other unpleasant results.
What are the different types of drug detox?
There are many different drug detox methods for you to choose from when you elect to undertake a drug detox treatment. The first choice you will have to make is whether you choose an inpatient drug detox or outpatient facility.
Medically assisted drug detox as an Inpatient
In this environment you will live in a residential rehab centre whilst you withdraw from the drugs. You will have the advantage of 24 hour medically assisted detox and you won’t have temptations from your previous environment. Withdrawal symptoms can be constantly monitored, and different types of drug detox plan can be accessed. You can move straight into drug rehab in the same buildings.
Outpatient Drug Detox
This type of detox takes place in your own home, which isn’t always advised as the best option. You may face the risk of relapsing because the drugs may not have been removed from your environment. You may be faced with temptation along the way, which won’t help you to complete your full detox program. Once completed, you can move on to drug rehab within the same facility.
Here are Help4Addiction we highly recommend you to choose an inpatient drug detox program so that you can have round the clock support and medically assisted detox access.
Private home detox
Please note that our private home detox kits are designed for use by mild alcoholics, not heavy drug users. We would suggest that, should you opt for a home detox, you do so with a medical professional or trained carer at your side. Medical supervision is extremely important during the initial stages of a drug detox as every patient will have different needs throughout their journey.
Ideal for alcoholics with a mild addiction but unsuitable for those with heavy drug addictions, you can find more information about at home alcohol detox kits, here. If you would prefer at home medically assisted drug detox, call us and we will connect you with those who can provide this service.
Heroin and prescription drug addictions require a gradual withdrawal based detox from the drugs. In some cases, halving the recommended dose for a few weeks before cessation is necessary to avoid a dangerous detox. Heroin is well-known as a drug that can kill if you stop using it immediately. Instead, a phased detox will wean you off this substance gradually.
A ‘cold turkey’ detox is when you come off drugs without using any form of medication. This isn’t recommended as medication is often needed to help with serious withdrawal symptoms during drug withdrawal. You might be suffering unnecessarily if you choose this method of home drug detox.
A short term detox is when you spend time on a 7 day drug detox program or 14 day drug detox. You might even undergo a 5 day drug detox program, which is simply for the treatment of the physical aspect of addiction. Short term detox doesn’t do as much for mental health as a long term detox does. Both, however, offer medically assisted addiction treatment that will help with the physical withdrawal symptoms. If you have a co-occurring condition or dual diagnosis, we suggest you opt for the long term choice in drugs or alcohol detox.
A long term detox is when your short term detox is followed by a robust programme of therapy and aftercare. This ensures that the mental health and physical withdrawal symptoms of drug addiction treatment are addressed. Withdrawal symptoms are proactively managed so that substance abuse becomes a thing of the past. Psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with dual diagnosis or co-occurring conditions can be better addressed in long term detox from drug and alcohol use.
Which Types of Drugs Need Detox From?
Some of the common types of drugs that you may need to detox from in a dedicated centre, include:
· Heroin and opioid use, including some prescription medications used in pain relief
· Any of the Valium and Benzodiazepine family are highly addictive
· Cocaine is a huge threat to the UK, with 70% of all UK drug users admitting to Cocaine use.
· Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is habitually addictive
· Party drugs like Ketamine, GBL and ecstasy/MDMA can all be highly addictive
· Crystal meth is another unforeseen problem in the UK
· GHB, a date rape drug, is often used recreationally and can require a detox.
Medications Prescribed by Doctors that can Require Detox
Some of the follow types of medication can be addictive and require a detox to cease:
· Antianxiety and Antidepressant medications such as fluoxetine, citalopram, and Seroquel are all addictive.
· Any Opioids prescribed – in the UK, Tramadol is one of the best known of these and causes psychosis when you stop taking it[i]. Others include methadone, morphine, and Codeine.
· Sleeping pills can be highly addictive.
· Any of the diazepam family, again, these are available on prescription.
And many others.
What’s the difference between drug detox and medically assisted drug detox?
A drug detox might not need to be medically assisted. For example, a cannabis addiction could be treated with abstinence and counselling, as could a cocaine addiction, provided it was mild.
A medically assisted drug detox is best used for those who had a lengthy drug addiction or an addiction to harder substances. Heroin users[ii], those with prescription drug addictions, or those that use GHB or other tranquilizers, might struggle to quit taking drugs without that medical intervention.
Lastly, some addictions must be treated medically. If you come off certain drugs “cold turkey”, they might well cause your heart to stop under the strain. For this reason, we urge all patrons of Help4Addiction into responsible and safe detox plans.
What Medications are used in Medically Assisted Drug Detox in the UK?
Doctors can choose from a range of drugs to aid your medically assisted detox process along. Some common ones include:
· Analgesic drugs[iii]
· Antidepressants – which can be addictive themselves
· Benzodiazepines – again, these can be addictive, too[iv].
· Lofexidine – for management of opioid withdrawal[vi]
· Methadone – a lesser strength opioid than heroin[vii]
What happens during a drug detox program?
Every drug detox and withdrawal program has one common goal in mind. To rid the body of toxins and heal the damage of long term drug addiction. Each rehab clinic and detox facility will operate a little differently, but they will all follow the same general format. They will assess you; they will treat you, then they will send you onto further treatment.
Let’s look at the stages of a detox program to give you an in-depth understanding.
The Stages of Detox
Patients often wonder, what are the stages of a drug detox program? They can vary from case to case, but most take a certain structure.
1 – Initial Assessment
You will probably be given your initial assessment over the phone, at least until Coronavirus restrictions are a thing of the past.
Your assessment allows your medical team to get a good grasp of your personal addiction journey. The more information they have, the more painless the process of getting off drugs.
2 – Booking into your Rehab Clinic/Detox Centre
You will arrange a date and time to arrive at your centre. Once there, you will show up, sign in, and be shown to your room. Detox will begin a few hours after your last use, so try not to use it before you arrive.
3 – Going through Detox
The initial 48 hours of any drug detox is by far the most difficult and intense as the withdrawal symptoms will be heightened. However, most drug detox and rehab centres will give you medication to counteract some of these withdrawal symptoms, so you are relatively comfortable.
4 – Going through Psychological Withdrawal
As well as the physical withdrawal symptoms[ix] you endure during detox, you must be prepared for the psychological symptoms. You may have delusions, go through a psychosis, or simply feel overwhelmed by the cravings.
The withdrawal symptoms experienced in detox are best managed by a medical professional, which is why we always recommend a dedicated detox centre.
5 – Recovery Over Time
These stages can occur in inpatient drug detox facilities or outpatient programs, depending on how serious your symptoms and addiction are. Inpatient drug detox programs are much preferred for severe addictions as it provides you with the private drug detox support you need in a safe environment. A residential drug detox in an inpatient facility will also ensure you have the medical supervision necessary to ensure you’re safe when withdrawing.
What Should I Bring to a Detox Facility?
As little as possible. Pack light. Bring a book or two, some fresh clothes, and as few other distractions as possible. Remember, you can choose a detox facility or rehab clinic based on what activities are available to you to pass the time. The doctors will want you to have as few distractions as possible out with what they provide.
How Long Should Detox Last for?
Detox should start a few hours after your last use and will continue to get worse for a period of 48-72 hours. Once you are through this period, you will still feel the symptoms of drug withdrawal acutely, but you no longer have the toxins in your body.
The length of time it takes for drugs to leave your body completely varies from substance to substance. For example, marijuana[x] will stay in the blood for 36 hours, in the hair for 90 days, and in the saliva for two days. On the other hand, cocaine will stay in your system for approximately four days[xi].
Other factors that affect the length of a detox period include your sex, height, weight, and metabolic rates.
What Drug Withdrawal Symptoms will I go through during Detox?
When it comes to withdrawal symptoms, they can differ in severity depending on the drugs you are addicted to. The importance of seeking out the assistance of a professional drug detox centre should be emphasised right now. The medical advice and support you might need can only be found from reputable treatment centres, as they will be fully equipped to deal with any drug withdrawal symptoms you may experience.
The intensity of your withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the length of your addiction, the existence of mental or physical health problems, the type of drug you are addicted to and the number of drugs you consumed.
Some common drug detox withdrawal symptoms include:
· Sleeping problems such as insomnia and fatigue
· Psychological problems such as mood swings, irritability, and agitation
· Physical problems such as shakes, nausea, sweating and flu-like symptoms
· Imagined pains, aches, headaches, and dizziness as mild withdrawal symptoms.
· Severe symptoms such as hallucinations, delirium tremens, and cardiac arrest.
· Uncontrollable cravings for drugs, you may be suffering from PAWS if this is the case.
No matter what kind of drugs you are addicted to, it is especially important to seek professional addiction treatment so that your withdrawal symptoms can be monitored. At Help4Addiction we can give you all the support you need to find an inpatient or outpatient program to suit your individual needs.
Is it worth it to detox with a rehab clinic?
There are many benefits to going to a detox clinic or rehab centre when the time is right. Many of these are down to the different therapies you get there. Family therapy, for example, will help you rebuild your damaged relationships. Educational workshops allow you to take a proactive approach and start bettering yourself.
Group therapy is important since it helps you benefit from your peers’ experience, and one-on-one sessions will help you understand why you resort to drug abuse. A detox clinic can provide you with the life skills you need to prevent a relapse in the future… and those are things you just don’t get if you stop taking drugs at home.
How Help4Addiction helps you find a rehab clinic
Help4Addiction has contact with a whole range of rehab facilities that can help you to overcome your addiction. If you get in touch today you will be able to find out all the benefits of undertaking a drug detox. Here are a handful of advantages you will experience from quality drug detox services:
· Bespoke detox and therapy plans
· Psychiatric assistance
· Medical care during detox
· Drug addiction education
· Aftercare and relapse support and prevention
Call us now to find a detox clinic that can help you stop taking drugs, today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to go to drug detox?
If you have searched this question on the internet then the answer is probably yes. If you think you have a drug problem, or if one of your family members has told you to go to detox for drugs, then you probably do need to get help. Call us on 0203 955 7700 to get treatment for drug addiction near you.
Is it too soon to go to detox for drug addiction?
You can get help through a detox clinic in your area, as soon as you start to think there may be a drug addiction brewing. If you have taken cocaine a few times with friends and feel an overwhelming urge to keep doing it, then we want to hear from you. Interrupting the addictive cycle early could be the key to addiction treatment success.
Can I do drug detox at home?
Not usually. You will need to get help for drug detox by going to a specialist drug detox clinic. You may receive at home detox advice for mild drug addictions only if the drug you were taking was not considered to be highly addictive. As ever, you should consult your doctor before doing anything.
How long does detox last?
When you go through a drug detox, your body is effectively cleansing itself of the chemicals it has been relying on. Without the chemicals to process, the brain sends signals that there is something wrong. It can take anything from three days, for mild cannabis addictions, to two weeks, for heroin addictions, for this detox to fully finish.
What happens during drug detox?
When you go through drug detox, you experience the symptoms of withdrawal more intensely than you do throughout the rest of rehab. During this period, you can expect shakes, Delirium Tremens (the DT’s), sickness, aches and pains, flu-like symptoms, and even cardiac arrest might occur during this period. Therefore, you should always go through drug detox in a rehab centre or detox clinic.
How long will drug detox take?
Detox for a drug addiction is likely to take anything from three days up to a few weeks. As mentioned, harder drugs such as cocaine addiction and heroin addiction will take longer to completely get out of your system. The length of time you have been using drugs for will also affect how long detox takes.
Do I have a drug addiction?
If you think you have a drug addiction, then you are likely to have one. If you have only used a few times and want to stop yourself using further, contact us today. Call us for more information on the number above.
Where Can I get Help for Cocaine Detox?
If you live in England or Wales, we can help you seek out treatment for a cocaine addiction. You can detox with a private rehab clinic if you want the process to be subtle, swift, and effective. You can wait in the NHS queues and follow their advice for free detox for cocaine addiction.
Where Can I Get Help for a Heroin Addiction?
As long as you live in either England or Wales, Help4Addiction are one of the number one rehab comparison sites available to you. Our team will answer a series of questions which will discern the best drug detox centre near you to get you off heroin addiction for good.
Can you get detox for marijuana smoking?
You can get help to quit taking marijuana in a detox clinic. You can then be treated in a rehab programme, once the detox period has passed. Inpatient treatment is best for marijuana abuse as it removes you from your sources. Detox for cannabis use is more common than you think.