Addiction is incredibly common today. Millions of Americans are addicted to one or more legal or illegal substances, and it can be devastating to their health and happiness. Being addicted to drugs is a disease that affects people of all walks of life, even those you would least suspect. There are many people who appear successful and healthy on the surface, while they hide an addiction to any number of common drugs.
Some of the most commonly abused drugs in the US are alcohol, stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, opiates, and hallucinogens. Each one of these presents its own effects, dangers, and withdrawal symptoms.
People take drugs for a variety of reasons, they may take them recreationally, they may take them because they have trauma or psychological issues that need to be addressed, and some may even end up addicted after being prescribed drugs by their doctor and are now unable to stop taking them.
The user’s body often becomes so dependent on whatever substance they are addicted to that they cannot normally function without it. In the case of some drugs, like alcohol, opiates, and benzodiazepines, withdrawals can be so dangerous that they can be deadly.
Side-Effects That Can Happen When You Detox From Drugs
- Stimulant Side-Effects – Detox from stimulants can have a number of different side effects, many of them will be accompanied by persistent depression or dysphoria. These will frequently be accompanied by at least two other symptoms, including jitters, anxiety or panic, chills, dehydration, dulled senses, slowed or slurred speech, mood swings, hallucinations, fatigue, increased appetite, weight loss, sleep disruption, and general body aches.
- Opiate Side-Effects – Opiates are incredibly addictive, and can present some very serious and even dangerous side-effects when going through detox from opiates. No matter what type of opiate is being abused, from prescriptions to heroin, the detox symptoms will usually be the same. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, hyperthermia, racing heart, sweating and chills, and blood pressure changes.
- Benzodiazepine Side-Effects – Most of the worst symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal are associated with the dangerous effects of quitting them “cold turkey”. This can often cause seizures, coma, and even death, and it is vital to the safety of the user that cessation only happens under medical supervision. Anxiety and insomnia are also common side-effects since they are conditions that the drug is often prescribed to manage in the first place.
- Alcohol Side-Effects – Alcohol detox is highly dependent on the severity of the drinking problem that preceded it. It can often include shaking and tremors, headache, nausea, and vomiting, sleep disruption, and sweating. In more severe cases, the user will experience hallucinations and even seizures, followed by vivid delusions in a small portion of people.
Detox From Drugs Timeline
- Stimulant Detox – Detox from stimulants will often begin within a few hours to a few days following the last use of the drug, and will often reach their peak severity at about one week. Psychological symptoms like depression can last for months following the cessation and up to 18 months in some cases.
- Opiate Detox – Depending on what type of opiates were used, the detox timeline can change. Many of the fast-acting opiates with short durations like heroin can see detox start as soon as 10 hours after the last use, often peaking within 1-3 days, and lasting for about a week. Other longer-duration opiates like fentanyl, hydrocodone, and oxycodone may not see detox set in for a day, and may last nearly 10 days. The longest-acting opioids may not begin detoxing for 3 days after the last use and may continue for two weeks or more.
- Benzodiazepine Detox – Benzodiazepine detox will often begin within 24 hours of the last use and can last from only a few days up to several months. The length of the detox is often dependent on the severity and length of use. There is a portion of former benzodiazepine users who experience symptoms years after the initial acute withdrawal phase. Benzodiazepine withdrawal occurs in three stages, with the first stage beginning 6-12 hours after the last use, the second stage happening from about a week to three months in, and the final stage lasting for up to two years following cessation.
- Alcohol Detox – The most serious symptoms of detox from alcohol happen in the first two days since the last drink. They often only last for a few days after they begin. In heavier drinkers or those with a long history of drinking, it can take longer.
Why You Shouldn’t Detox From Drugs Alone
Many drugs can cause such intense or dangerous withdrawal symptoms, that they can pose serious health risks to quit without help, and in some cases, medical supervision. Knowing that the user has a strong support network can also increase the chances of successful recovery significantly.
Detox from drugs like opiates or benzodiazepines can be highly dangerous, with risks like seizures, coma, and more. If the user decides to quit “cold turkey” it can create a very dangerous situation where they no longer have a substance that their body now relies on to function.
This is a frequent issue with quitting benzodiazepines since they contribute essential neurotransmitter chemicals, and suddenly stopping taking them leaves the user’s brain unable to effectively communicate with other parts of the body. They often need to work with a medical professional on a plan to quit by slowly weaning them off of the drug to prevent such issues.
Best Way to Detox From Drugs
For many people, the best way to detox from drugs is to utilize an experienced detox treatment center. Not only will they be able to create a treatment plan customized to each patient, but they will be able to make sure that in serious or dangerous cases, that the patient receives the medical supervision needed to keep them as safe as possible during the detox process.
One of the most important things you can do to set yourself up for success when trying to get sober is to do an effective detox protocol with medical professionals. It can be even more beneficial for the individual to attend a premier detox facility that can monitor the individual at all times of day to ensure they are safely and appropriately detoxing off drugs or alcohol.
Remember reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You deserve this opportunity to set yourself on a firm, healthy path of sobriety that will set you up for a lifetime of happiness and fulfillment.