Substance abuse disorders or more commonly, addiction, can be found in every corner of our country, whether you’re looking in one of the biggest cities or one of the smallest burgs. It affects people of every social status, income, rank, background, and can cause the early death of some of your closest friends and family. 

Many people use some sort of recreational substance, whether legal or illegal, for a number of reasons. Some people are able to use a substance in moderation and refuse to let it affect their lives in any meaningful capacity, and some absolutely are not. Some people are unable to control the amount or frequency of the substances that they use, and they subsequently become addicted to them. 

While addiction often sounds relatively seedy and criminal, it can often start with people who would never use any illegal substance, which is frequently how it takes hold in an unassuming way, becoming an obsession before the user realizes it.

Sometimes it can start with a few drinks on the weekend, or after work on Friday with the folks from the office. Then sometimes it becomes having a drink after work every day, then more than one drink, then a drink before work or on lunch. Then it can begin to spiral out of control, affecting the user’s life, relationships, and career.

Addiction to opioids can start with prescribed medication and can cause the user to lose control in many cases, even when used specifically as directed by the doctor. For someone who was in a serious car accident, for example, they may have back pain that cannot be managed with other medications, so an opioid is prescribed. The user may only use the medicine for a short time, but it can build a dependency in the brain in that time, leading to addiction.

Typical Drug Detox Symptoms

The detox symptoms that are experienced by the individual in recovery will largely depend on the drug that was being used, the amounts, the method of using the drug, and the frequency of use, as well as a number of factors that are related to the user themselves, like their body composition and metabolism.

The symptoms that are experienced will also be related to the effects that the drug gives, as well as the mechanisms by which it produces those effects. For example, people who become addicted to benzodiazepines for panic or anxiety-related issues will see those issues return with renewed vigor upon attempts to quit. 

Most former users will experience anxiety or panic, insomnia, nausea, discomfort and restlessness, mood swings and irritability, lack of focus and concentration, and disrupted sleep.

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Alcohol Detox Symptoms

The shakes are one of the most well-known side effects of alcohol detox and can occur during the withdrawal of essentially any level of alcohol that causes dependence. In the first 6 hours after the last drink, most mild alcoholics will be able to feel symptoms such as anxiety, nausea and vomiting headaches, and uncontrollable sweating. 

As the symptoms progress, the most severe alcoholics will begin with hallucinations and potential seizures within the first two days which can be rather terrifying for most people. Once they start, users will begin experiencing things that are not actually happening in this reality. The stage that lasts for the next few days will include high levels of confusion, fever and heavy sweating, elevated blood pressure, and elevated heart rate.

In rare cases, the person in recovery will experience what is called delirium tremens, or the DTs, which is a withdrawal syndrome indicated by vivid and realistic visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions, and dreams. 

Detox Symptoms Timeline

With most drugs, the first 24-72 hours after the drug is stopped being consumed is referred to as the crash, and it is generally the beginning of the acute withdrawal phase. The acute withdrawal phase will often be when the symptoms peak in both the number and severity of the symptoms that are experienced. This stage will often last from about 3 to 10 days or so. 

Once the acute phase is completed, the recovering individual should begin to feel their symptoms lessen and taper off over the next week, from about day 10 through day 20. There are some symptoms that will not disappear right away, particularly for long-time or heavy users. The most persistent symptoms regardless of how long you have been in recovery will often be the craving to use, as well as fatigue and depression, regardless of the drug of choice.

Once the individual in recovery hits the one-month mark they can be considered fully detoxed, though their recovery has only just begun. By this point nearly all if not all physical symptoms should have faded away, and any that do remain should be substantially less intense. The most common complaint at this stage is the lingering psychological and neurochemical issues that will require far more time to heal.

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How to Safely Detox From Drugs or Alcohol

If you or someone you care about are experiencing trouble with drugs or alcohol, especially while using them in large quantities or regularly even without prompting, it may be time to consider getting some professional help. No matter what the initial addiction issue is related to, going to a premier, experienced treatment center in the Austin area can give you the solid footing you need to ensure  lifelong sobriety. 

Furthermore, working with treatment professionals ensures that the individual experiences a safe and comfortable environment to detox in, minimizing the potentially dangerous or even deadly complications that are possible during the detox stage. Along with this, treatment professionals can create a treatment plan that works best for the individual seeking treatment. Whether they need an inpatient process, or an intensive outpatient plan that gives the individual the option to return home at the end of the day, working with a treatment center can give them the best possible chances of maintaining their recovery going forward.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is imperative that help be sought immediately. Reach out today to start on the path to a better and healthier future right now.