If you think you may have a drug addiction and that you’ll benefit from drug detox, contact Help4Addiction today to find the best detox program for you, and to find out how we can help you overcome your drug addiction.
Drug detox is usually the first step of rehabilitation – but what exactly is drug detox? How long does a drug detox last? What are the different types of drug detox? And what are withdrawal symptoms?
Read on for the answer to all of the above questions, and to find out how Help4Addiction can help you on your drug detox and drug addiction treatment journey.
Drug Addiction Treatment
At Help4Addiction, we can help you find the right drug addiction treatment for you. With Help4Addiction drug addiction treatment centres located around England and Wales, we can help you to find your local drug addiction rehab treatment centre.
Drug addiction treatment will almost always begin with a drug detox – clearing your body of the drug. This is necessary to move on to the next stage of drug rehabilitation – therapy.
Once you have successfully detoxed from drugs, you may be offered therapy.[i] Behavioural therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) can be particularly helpful. CBT is based on the idea that your thoughts, actions, and feelings are all linked, and can help you understand how your thoughts may impact your behaviour. [ii] CBT can also help you to understand the root cause of your drug abuse or drug addiction, and to help you to identify your triggers.
You may also be offered therapy or counselling on a one-to-one basis with a clinical psychologist or a counsellor, or you may be offered group therapy to discuss your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in a group setting with individuals that are experiencing similar issues.
Some rehab clinics also offer holistic therapy options – for example, sports therapy or art therapy.
The next stage of drug addiction treatment often involves secondary treatment or aftercare. At Help4Addiction, we won’t just wave goodbye once you’ve completed drug detox and drug addiction therapy. We will continue to support you, aiming to prevent relapse and to help you stay drug-free.
Many people in drug addiction recovery will attend regular support groups and/ or group therapy – ongoing support can be extremely beneficial in overcoming drug use disorder, drug addiction, and drug abuse.
What is a Drug Detox?
Detoxification is one of the most important stages in the drug addiction treatment process. It’s the stage in which the chemical substances you were addicted to leave your body.
It is a process aimed at managing both intoxication and withdrawal – clearing the toxins that you’re dependent on or that you abuse. The detoxification process is designed to minimise the physical damage that is caused by the substances – for example, heroin, alcohol, or cocaine.
However, a detoxification program alone isn’t designed to resolve any social, psychological or behavioural issues that are associated with substance abuse. [iii]
There are several ways to detox from a substance – but each one will involve allowing the substance or substances to work their way out of your system. The drug detox and alcohol detox process can be unpleasant – and can be worse when detoxing from harder substances such as heroin.
In some cases, detoxing can be dangerous and even life-threatening due to the withdrawal symptoms. In these cases, you will likely be offered a medically assisted detox on an inpatient basis (inpatient treatment), where you will have medical supervision. In some cases, you may be offered prescription drugs such as methadone (for opioid addiction) to help with the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. [iv]
The type of detox you will undergo (the detox strategy) will depend on a variety of factors. Typically, choosing the right detox strategy for you involves clinical judgement. Your personal circumstances, preference, and lifestyle will be considered, as will the degree of your dependence. With most detox programs, you’ll discuss any existing health issues before completing the drug treatment programme. [v]
Detoxing from a drug or a substance doesn’t always suggest that you’ve been diagnosed with substance use disorder (e.g drug addiction or drug abuse).
Detoxing from a drug doesn’t always mean that you’ll proceed to the next stage of the rehab process. However, detoxification is almost always the first step of the rehab process – and you’ll need to detox from drugs to start drug rehab treatment.
How Long Does Detox Last?
The detox process can vary in length depending on a variety of factors. Typically, it takes between 7-15 days, but this can vary.
Factors such as your height and weight, how long you’ve been taking the drug, and the drug/ drugs you used can affect how long your body will take to detox from the drug. For example, heroin detox can last for weeks, but the withdrawal symptoms typically peak within three days. [vi]
The first 48 hours of the drug detox process tend to be the most difficult, with the most intense withdrawal symptoms. However, you may be offered medication to counteract the unpleasant and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Some drug treatments only require a 7-day drug detox program, or even a 5-day drug detox program. However, this tends to be best for milder addictions and addictions to ‘milder’ substances that don’t result in severe withdrawal symptoms such as cannabis or even alcohol.
Drug detox only deals with the physical aspect of drug addiction – and short term detoxes won’t do as much for your mental health as much as long term detoxes. This is why at Help4Addiction we can also help you find the best 14-day detox programs and 28-day detox programs.
Long term detoxes are generally recommended for drug addictions such as heroin addiction – and typically include a robust programme or therapy and aftercare (secondary treatment), as part of the rehab process.
At Help4Addiction, we can ensure that any withdrawal symptoms you experience are proactively managed, to improve your wellbeing and prevent relapse – considering your physical and mental health. Any psychological symptoms that are associated with dual diagnoses or co-occurring conditions can be addressed more proactively when you undergo a long-term detox from drug use.
What Types of Drugs Require Detox?
Some of the most common types of drugs that you could benefit from detoxing from in a dedicated centre include:
- Opioids including heroin and some prescription medications (painkillers)
- Drugs in the benzodiazepine and valium family
- Cocaine (with roughly 70% of all drug users admitting to cocaine use)[vii]
- GHB (a date rape drug that can be used recreationally)
- Cannabis/ marijuana which is habitually addictive and can require detox
- Ecstasy and MDMA
However, it isn’t just illegal drugs that may require a detox. Certain types of medication can also require a drug detox, such as:
- Antidepressants and antianxiety tablets (e.g fluoxetine and citalopram)
- Drugs in the diazepam family
- Prescribed opioids (e.g tramadol which can cause psychosis when withdrawing)
- Sleeping tablets
- Many more prescribed medications
Different drugs may require a different detox process or treatment at a specialised centre for that drug. To learn more about the drug detox process, reach out to one of our friendly specialists.
The Different Types of Drug Detox
When you’re planning on undergoing drug detox treatment, there are many different drug detox methods to choose from, whether it be inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment.
This generally depends on the severity of the drug addiction, the length of your drug addiction, and other factors such as your personality and your age. Having an individualised treatment plan can be extremely beneficial – contact us today to discuss treatment.
Read on to learn about the different types of drug detox treatment that we can help you find.
Medically Assisted Drug Detox/ Inpatient Drug Detox
One of the most common forms of drug detox treatment is inpatient drug detox, which typically involves medical assistance. With residential rehab, you’ll be able to withdraw from the drug in a safer environment, with the advantage of 24-hour medical assistance.
In this environment, you won’t have the temptations that you may have had in your previous environment. This is generally offered for more severe addictions and addictions involving heroin and opioids, and certain prescription medications. This is because it can be more difficult to detox from these substances without medical intervention. In the case of heroin addiction, you may be offered methadone to ease the transition.
It is considered a safer treatment as you will be constantly monitored – as withdrawal symptoms from drugs such as heroin can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening in some cases. Coming off certain drugs without help or ‘cold turkey’ can be life-threatening – for example, your heart may stop under the strain. This is why choosing the right rehab and detox treatment for you, and you’ll be medically assessed to ensure your safety and wellbeing.
Often, you can move straight onto drug rehab in the same building, meaning that you won’t have to move to a different drug treatment centre.
Outpatient Drug Detox
Drug detox can also take place in the comfort of your own home – however, this might not always be the best option for you and your drug addiction. Because you’re still in the same environment, the chances of you relapsing may be higher – and you may face temptation. However, outpatient detox programs may work for you.
Once you have successfully detoxed from the drug, you can move on to the next stage of drug addiction treatment – therapy and secondary treatment/ aftercare. In most cases, at Help4Addiction we recommend that you opt for an inpatient drug detox program to ensure that you have round the clock support and access to medical assistance.
Private Home Detox
At Help4Addiction, we offer private home detox kits. However, these kits are designed to be used by mild alcoholics as opposed to those with drug addiction.
If you want to complete a home drug detox, we recommend that you opt for advice from a medical professional or help from a trained carer.
During the initial stages of drug detox, medical supervision is extremely important, as different people may have different reactions and withdrawal symptoms when withdrawing from drugs. If you would prefer to undergo a medically assisted detox at home, contact us today so we can connect you with those who can provide you with this service.
At Help4Addiction, we don’t recommend that you quit drugs cold turkey or by completing a rapid detox. This is when you detox from drugs without assistance or medication.
In many cases, medication is often needed to ease the serious withdrawal symptoms during the withdrawal process. If you undergo a ‘cold turkey’ detox or rapid drug detox, then you may be suffering unnecessarily, as there is help out there that can ease the process.
If you have been using drugs for a long period of time and/ or in large amounts, we strongly recommend that you don’t detox on a cold turkey basis. When quitting drugs cold turkey, you may experience dangerous, life-threatening or painful withdrawal symptoms such as seizures and problems. Quitting alcohol, benzodiazepine, or opiates can be especially high risk. [viii]
Drug Withdrawal Explained
Going through drug and alcohol withdrawal isn’t easy, and can lead to serious complications when completed without medical supervision and medical help. Gradually, your body will adapt to the drugs in your system – and you can become physically dependent on them. This means that you don’t feel ‘normal’ without drugs, and can feel ill and uncomfortable without them. When you are withdrawing from drugs, you will likely have drug cravings and experience many other symptoms of withdrawal.
When you stop using drugs after long-term use, then your body can become ill – and you can experience withdrawal symptoms as your body adapts to the absence of drugs in your system. [ix] This can be rooted in the abrupt fluctuation of brain chemicals that can occur when you suddenly withdraw from a drug or substance.
Withdrawal management is a necessary part of the withdrawal process. If you’re detoxing from drugs in an inpatient facility, then you should expect calm and quiet surroundings, with the opportunities to rest when you wish. You may be encouraged to engage in calming activities and practices such as meditation.
However, therapy may not be particularly helpful while you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This is because you may be in a vulnerable state, and it, therefore, is not the best or most appropriate time to begin the therapy stage of the rehab process. [x]
The withdrawal symptoms you may experience typically depend on the drug that you were using and the length of your drug addiction, as well as various other factors. The withdrawal period can also depend on this, lasting from days to weeks.
Many people experience a variety of psychological withdrawal symptoms (e.g altered mental health), behavioural withdrawal symptoms, and physical withdrawal symptoms. Some common behavioural, physical and mental drug withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in mood/ mood swings
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in appetite
- Aches and pains
- Runny nose
- Shaking and tremors
- Blood pressure changes
- Congestion [xi]
Severe Withdrawal Symptoms
When you are overcoming substance use disorder and detoxing from harder substances such as heroin or other drugs and opioids, you may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, including many physical symptoms.
Before you begin the detox process, you should expect to be medically assessed to determine the best course of action. In many cases, you may undergo drug detox in a rehab facility with 24-hour medical supervision. This provides a safe environment where your withdrawal symptoms can be monitored.
If you have an opioid addiction (including heroin, opium, morphine, tramadol and codeine), you should always opt for a full medical detox when detoxing from the drug. In some cases, hospitalisation may be the best way forward.
Some more severe or particularly painful withdrawal symptoms include:
- Heart attack
- Changes in mental health (e.g suicidal thoughts)
- Cardiac/ respiratory arrest
These dangerous withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, but can often be avoided with the right medical detox and medication. Have a chat with us today to discuss the best drug treatment options for you.
We can also help when it comes to alcohol addiction, alcohol detoxification and alcohol withdrawal, and find the right rehab clinic for you. Substance abuse treatment is rarely a ‘one size fits all’ task, which is why we take the time to assess your situation and find the right treatment, clinic, and method for you.
Treating Withdrawal Symptoms for Opioid Addiction
When undergoing treatment for certain drug addictions or substance use disorders, you may be prescribed medications that have been developed to treat the withdrawal symptoms. Opioid use disorder can be particularly debilitating and difficult to withdraw from, which is why there are a variety of medications available to ease the process.
Medications that are used to treat opioid use disorders affect the same opioid receptors as the drug itself – however, they are much safer and more controlled, and don’t typically cause the same behaviours as opioid use disorder. They often make an effective substitute drug to wean off the drug.
You may be prescribed agonists that activate the opioid receptors, partial antagonists which activate the opioid receptors on a smaller level, or antagonists that interfere with the opioid’s rewarding effects.
A common medication that is often prescribed to treat opioid use disorders is Methadone, which is an agonist. This typically dampens the ‘high’ and can prevent a variety of different opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Methadone has been used since the ‘60s to treat heroin use disorder and is still used today in 2022. However, methadone is only available through certain drug treatment programs and approved outpatient programs.
Another common medication that is offered to those detoxing from heroin and other opioids is Buphrenorphone (aka Subutex). As it is a partial opioid agonist, it can relieve the physical drug cravings without producing the dangerous effects of opioids.
Typically, buprenorphine is taken orally or under the tongue and works as an opioid antagonist, preventing any attempts to get high. This means that if you tried to inject Suboxone, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. However, taking the drug as prescribed would avert these withdrawal symptoms.
Another medication you may be offered when detoxing from opioids is Naltrexone, which is an antagonist. This drug blocks the effects of opioids and doesn’t cause addiction or physical dependence. However, many users struggle to stick to the recommended usage. [xii]
How Help4Addiction Can Help You
At Help4Addiction, we have contact with quality rehab facilities and drug treatment centres around England and Wales, as well as extensive knowledge on drug addiction and alcohol addiction.
Be sure to contact us today if you think you or a loved one has a drug addiction – we can inform you about the benefits of drug detox as well as information about the drug detox process. Last year, over 275,896 people contacted drug and alcohol services. [xiii] However, this figure should be much higher.
By choosing a quality drug detox service, you can expect bespoke detox and therapy plans, drug addiction education and awareness, psychiatric assistance for your mental health, as well as quality and effective aftercare, relapse support, and prevention to ensure you cease drug-taking for good.