What to Expect When You Detox

The first step is the most intimidating. Knowing what to expect can equip you to feel more prepared for the process. It is all very simple. 

When a person detoxes from, for example, alcohol, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms include anxiety, decreased appetite, depression, fatigue, hallucinations, increased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, nightmares, seizures, tremors, sweating, and more. Detox treatment is all about having healthcare professionals apply their expertise to help people manage symptoms of withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Shaking and shivering
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • High temperature and/or chills
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Vivid and unpleasant dreams
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Intense cravings for the substance
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Seizures

Healthcare professionals manage symptoms of withdrawal. Although patients are given appropriately controlled medication to cope with withdrawal, there is no medication that shields clients from all withdrawal symptoms. Medication is used to counteract as many problems as possible. 

Medically assisted detox is customized to the unique needs of each client as opposed to unmonitored riskier detox at home. While medication is crucial to lessening the suffering caused by withdrawal symptoms, other aspects of detox treatment are critical to the client’s success. Compassionate care can make or break a client’s ability to get through detox. It can help when a facility maintains staff who have endured detox and attained long term sobriety themselves. During detox, every moment is accomplished through intentional efforts. Clients require constant support and encouragement. 

While detox addresses the immediate cleansing of the body, long-term recovery requires addressing factors beyond physical dependence. Following detox, clients are ready to progress to residential inpatient care, where they will receive intensive psychological treatment.

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