Detox is a vital preliminary step in recovery from addictionsIn the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction, detoxification is definitely a “first things first” practice. Alcoholism and drug addiction take a severe toll on the body, even in the early stages. Vitamin deficiencies, chemical imbalances, malnutrition and brain malfunctions can occur. In the later stages, symptoms can become life threatening. Restoration of physical health through the process of detoxification has to be the first step before long-term recovery can begin.

Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal symptoms

Acknowledging addiction and willingness to seek help are the first steps in long-term recovery, but first the physical body needs attention. People react in different ways to the cessation of drug or alcohol abuse, so consulting a medical professional to determine the detoxification process is important. Some of the mild symptoms in the early stages of abuse include hand tremors, headaches and nausea, anxiety, insomnia and confusion. These can progress quickly into more severe symptoms, such as hallucinations and convulsions. Obviously, someone experiencing these symptoms has to allow the body to rebuild before attempting to address the underlying causes of addiction.

Drug and Alcohol Detox Time frame

Detoxification can take up to a week, and even then, some physical symptoms may need ongoing treatment. Recovery requires much more than just putting down the bottle or stopping use of a drug. Consider the steps necessary to treat physical symptoms alone:

Gathering information

Detoxification begins with observation by medical professionals. They measure heart rate, blood pressure, brain function and body chemistry.

Calming symptoms

Depending on how far alcoholism or drug addiction has progressed, some people may require medication to calm their nervous system while their body recovers. These sedatives could be vital in prevention of rapid onset of convulsions or other complications.

Examining organs

Many parts of the body are affected by alcohol and drug abuse. Some people develop cirrhosis of the liver, which can cause jaundice and other complications. Others can have heart problems, such as abnormal rhythms. In the most serious cases, “wet brain,” officially called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, can result from substance abuse. This means brain cells can be damaged permanently, resulting in memory loss and confusion.

A life of sobriety means a total change of lifestyle. It takes commitment and attention. In order to take the steps necessary for full recovery, detoxifications has to come first.