What to Expect During the First Stage of Detox

Most new patients fail to realize just how intense the first stage of drug detox can be. This stage involves serious physical and mental stress referred to as withdrawal. Going through detox under the care of experienced medical professionals can make the process both easier and safer.

These symptoms aren’t necessarily life-threatening, but they can be extremely disruptive and painful—often making it almost impossible for an addict to stay clean. The medical staff at detox facility will be able to make the withdrawal symptoms you’re experiencing more manageable.

Common Issues During the First Few Hours of Detox

Withdrawal symptoms from drugs like heroin and other opiates can begin a few hours after the last use, and can include:

  • Constant sweating
  • Feelings of anxiousness or agitation
  • Aches in your muscles
  • The inability to sleep
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures

Factors That Contribute to the Severity of Withdrawal Symptoms

There are a variety of different factors that can determine the severity of a person’s withdrawal symptoms. The staff at a detox facility will take all of these into consideration when determining the best way to approach a particular patient.

  • The Length of the Addiction- One of the primary factors in determining the duration and severity of withdrawals is the length of time a person has been addicted. If a person has been using drugs or alcohol on a daily basis for a prolonged period of time, they will have a very high tolerance. This means that their body has become accustomed to extremely high levels of certain chemicals on a regular basis. When levels of the drugs start to drop in their body, they will experience increased discomfort associated with withdrawals.
  • The Various Combinations of Drugs and Alcohol Used- If a patient is heavily dependent on both drugs and alcohol, their withdrawals during detox will be more intense. Coming off multiple substances at one time can also wreak havoc on your body. This is why it’s so important to go through detox under the trained eye of medical professionals.
  • Existing Physical or Mental Disorders- Another common issue that can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms during detox is pre-existing physical or mental disorders. If a patient deals with things like anxiety or depression, these conditions may make their withdrawals more intense. The team at the treatment facility will work hard to find the best way to make you comfortable during the initial detox.

Factors that Impact Treatment Methods

  • Some Patients Become Violent- Commonly, people who abuse things like synthetic cathinone or “bath salts” can become quite violent during the first phase of their detox. If the detox staff think that a patient is a danger to themselves or other patients, they may be temporarily restrained or sedated. Usually, these extreme measures are only deemed necessary if a patient has become very aggressive or has attempted to injure a member of the rehab staff.
  • Psychosis May Be an Issue- Some drugs, like cocaine or methamphetamines, have been known to cause severe psychosis. When a patient begins to act erratically or in a paranoid manner, professionals usually treat them for psychosis. Some patients experience hallucinations as a result of this, while others will have illusions of increased strength and invulnerability. As soon as signs of psychosis are noticed, the medical staff at a rehab will take the appropriate action.
  • Medical Issues- When patients are detoxing from things like painkillers, they may start to experience a variety of medical problems. In some cases, a patient may start to experience excruciating pain. Before treating patients for this type of pain, the medical staff at the rehab will review their medical history. The reason for doing this is to provide the staff with the information needed to adequately treat withdrawal symptoms without putting the patient in more danger.
  • Suicidal Behavior- Some patients experience a serious depletion of their natural brain chemicals, leading to depression and suicidal ideation. If a patient starts to verbalize their intent to harm themselves, the staff will usually restrain them and put them on suicide watch. The goal is to keep the patient safe while they work to recover from their addiction.

How Withdrawals Can Differ Between Drugs

Alcohol and opiates present some of the most disruptive and painful withdrawal symptoms due to their ability to mimic the brain’s natural chemicals. Detoxing from these substances should almost always be done in a licensed treatment facility.

Suddenly stopping the use of heroin and other opiates can lead to fever, chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting, psychosis, seizures, and even life-threatening heart issues. These withdrawals are a part of the reason that many addicts relapse during the worst of the detox period.

Many alcoholics suffer from similar symptoms and will require the help of a residential treatment facility to reach sobriety.

Stimulant withdrawals can leave a person struggling with severe depression and prolonged exhaustion. Manufactured psychedelics like PCP and bath salts can create psychosis and violent behaviors as they leave the body.

Detoxing from drugs and alcohol is one of the most difficult steps on the road to recovery. Each addict will require an individualized treatment plan designed around their specific needs.

Alternative Methods for Overcoming Withdrawal Symptoms

If you have tried traditional methods for overcoming withdrawals without success, there are alternative treatment methods, like Ibogaine treatment, that have been proven to have a profound effect at reducing or eliminating withdrawal symptoms. Ibogaine is a powerful psychedelic that has the ability to interrupt addiction, and heal damage caused by addiction in the brain.

Contacting one of the many reputable Ibogaine clinics can provide more information on what to expect during the detox process, and how medications, like Ibogaine, can help

Treatment with Ibogaine can virtually eliminate 60-100% of withdrawal symptoms within the first 45-minutes of oral ingestion. The medication resets the chemical levels in the brain and stops it from experiencing a lack of certain neurotransmitters commonly associated with detox.

Different drugs can create vastly different detox experiences, and all of them are fairly unpleasant. This is why many addicts seek help at an Ibogaine treatment facility. If someone is trying to detox without the help of a medical professional, they can face serious consequences.

Whether an addict chooses treatment with Ibogaine, or a more traditional route, it’s important to remember that any step is a step in the right direction. Understanding your withdrawal symptoms and what to expect can give you the advantage when trying to get clean from drugs and alcohol.

Photo by Milada Vigerova 

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