Drug and alcohol addiction can ravage body and mind alike—so much so that, when drug or alcohol use is abruptly discontinued, the physical effects can be jarring. This is the process known as detoxification, and, if you’ve never experienced drug and alcohol detox before, it can be daunting to say the least.
To provide some clarity and encouragement, consider the following, brief guide to drug and alcohol detox—one that will hopefully clear up some questions about what the process entails.
When Do the Effects of Drug and Alcohol Detox Begin?
To start with, the timeline for detox is by no means the same for everyone. For those who use drugs or alcohol heavily, the effects of detox can begin five to 12 hours after the last drink or dose. For some, especially those whose use is not quite as severe, the effects of detox may not begin for a couple of days.
What are the Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Detox?
Symptoms vary from person to person, and depend on the substance in question, the severity of the addiction, and other mental or physical factors. Some common symptoms include:
- Severe drug/alcohol cravings
- Insomnia and restlessness
- Muscle aches and physical weakness
- Body shaking and tremors
- Nausea and vomiting
- Panic and guilt
How Long Does Detox Take?
Again, there is no across-the-board answer for this question. Detox can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and in some extreme cases even longer—but generally, the symptoms will diminish after a few days.
Is Professional/Clinical Detox Necessary?
Clinical detox facilities can provide methods for alleviating the pain while maintaining good nutrition and hygiene, all under the watchful eye of medical professionals. In other words, this tends to be the most efficient and safe way to detox.
Certainly, those who experience the most extreme detox symptoms—including fevers, mental confusion, and seizures—will want to find a professional detox facility right away.
The detox process is not easy—but it is necessary: The critical first step down the road to hope, healing, and recovery.