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Detoxification, also referred to as detox, is the process that rids one’s body of foreign substances.

Any person that has habitually abused drugs and/ or alcohol has likely developed a tolerance to the abused substance or substances. When a drug tolerance is built, one’s body begins to rely on the substance to function. When the body lacks the previously abused substance, it will react accordingly by way of developing withdrawal symptoms. An individual’s detox experience will depend on a variety of contributing factors. These can include one’s personal health history, the type of substance abused, the potency of the substance, the frequency of abuse, the length of time the individual abused the substance, if he or she simultaneously abused other substances, and the presence of any co-morbid disorders will all factor into one’s detox experience and associated withdrawal symptoms.

Types of Detox

There are different detox methods with varying levels of support available for people in need. Some people will require extensive support, perhaps in a designated detox facility, with twenty-four-hour care throughout the entirety of his or her detox phase, and others will be able to go through detox unaccompanied by anyone in his or her own home. While there are different options available within the following categories, the types of detox available can loosely be divided into two categories:

  • Medically supervised detox: This type of detox usually takes place in a specific facility that is equipped to deal with various intense withdrawal symptoms. There are several types of substances (e.g., heroin, benzodiazepines, prescription opioid narcotics, alcohol, etc.) that which individuals are highly encouraged to seek medically supervised detox due to the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, medically supervised detox will enable a person to safely wean him or herself from the abused substance. Depending on the substance or substances abused, some individuals may need additional medications to help with his or her drug cravings and/ or withdrawal symptoms. With a medically supervised detox, an individual will have access to twenty-four-hour medical care, in addition to being closely monitored and supported throughout the entire process.
  • Non-medically supervised detox: A non-medically supervised detox can take place in almost any location, with or without the support of others. It simply requires the individual to stop using drugs and/ or alcohol, allowing his or her body to release the toxins and chemicals from his or her bloodstream.

Regardless of the method selected, the result that occurs from a successful detox will remain the same: removing foreign substances from one’s body.

Side Effects: Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are adverse symptoms that occur because of ceasing the use of a substance with which one’s body has become accustomed. Each type of substance has a somewhat unique set of withdrawal symptoms that can manifest during detox. Below are some examples of withdrawal symptoms that can develop in relation to the abuse of the following specific substances:

  • Alcohol: vomiting, sweating, headaches, nausea, anxiety, hand tremors, confusion, restlessness, insomnia, loss of appetite, rapid heart rate
  • Benzodiazepine: heart palpitations, shaking, irritability, sleep disturbances, dry heaving, nausea, anxiety, sweating, muscle pain, headache, panic attacks, elevated blood pressure, agitation, difficulty concentrating, muscle stiffness
  • Opiate: diarrhea, vomiting, watery eyes, nausea, sweating, chills, muscle pain, excessive yawning, insomnia, anxiety, depression, stomach cramping
  • Adderall: muscle aches, stomach cramping, fatigue, mood swings, nausea, depression, headache, vomiting, malaise, difficulty concentrating, suicidal ideations, memory impairment
  • Marijuana: nausea, insomnia, agitation, stomach pain, decreased appetite, nightmares, irritability, restlessness, aggression, headache, tremors, extreme nervousness

The duration, severity, and combination of withdrawal symptoms experienced during detox will differ from person to person.

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At Upwell Advisors, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process.

If left untreated, substance abuse, addiction, and/ or mental illness can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to help you or your loved one in the recovery process. Feel free to reach out by phone at 917-475-6775. You are also welcomed to contact us anytime via email at [email protected] We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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