Addiction detox is often the first step towards your recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Addiction detox is a form of addiction treatment. Addiction detox allows you to stop using alcohol or drugs in a medically controlled manner. Before addiction detox takes place, you must undergo an initial evaluation with a psychiatrist.
Following this assessment, your detox programme will begin. You can choose to undergo a detox on either an outpatient or an inpatient basis. Both options will be discussed below. Generally speaking, inpatient detox is superior to outpatient detox because more intense medical attention is offered when you opt for a residential detox.
What Is Addiction Detox?
Detox is short for detoxification. Detox is when you eliminate all traces of illicit substances from your system. A medically assisted detox is where you manage withdrawal symptoms with medications. Whilst detox is an important part of addiction treatment, usually merely undergoing detox is not sufficient in securing long term recovery. To achieve long term recovery, a detox programme must be accompanied by therapy and counselling sessions. These sessions allow you to fully rehabilitate.
A detox becomes necessary when you become physically dependant on certain drugs. This includes alcohol, benzodiazepines and all forms of opiates. When you become physically addicted to certain drugs, your body will experience physical withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to abruptly stop using these drugs. This act of quitting will cause you to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. If not treated, these withdrawal symptoms could prove deadly. For this reason, an addiction detox seeks to treat or prevent these withdrawal symptoms so you may stop using drugs or alcohol safely.
In summary, a detox programme aims to: (1) treat withdrawal symptoms, (2) prevent serious medical complications from arising from the detox process and (3) help to fully rehabilitate you by offering therapy and counselling sessions.
Is Addiction Detox Safe?
A detox has the potential to be extremely dangerous to your physical health. In fact, hundreds of thousands of people die each year when they attempt to undergo a detox without medical assistance. To reduce these health risks associated with an addiction detox, it is important to seek out medical assistance both before and during your detox programme. By far the best way to receive this assistance is by attending a residential addiction detox clinic.
When you attend an addiction detox clinic through an ADT Healthcare approved clinic, your physical health will be monitored closely throughout the detox process. Withdrawal symptoms will be monitored and appropriate medications designed to treat these symptoms will be prescribed by a consultant psychiatrist.
Who Should Detox?
Doctors and other professionals typically recommend detox as the first stage of addiction treatment. Anyone who has developed a dependency on a substance should go through some form of detox. The detox should be done under the care and observation of a medical team to guarantee it is done safely.
What Specific Drugs Require A Detox?
The word ‘detox’ is bandied about fairly liberally and it is often used in situations where it is technically incorrect to do so. For instance, it’s incorrect to apply the term ‘detox’ to a cocaine or cannabis withdrawal. Whilst the body does undergo a detox when these drugs are withdrawn, a ‘medical’ detox process is not required because these drugs are not physically addictive.
When you undergo detox for a drug that’s physically addictive, a medical detox procedure is required because you could suffer from a potentially life-threatening convulsion/seizure during withdrawal.
Examples of physically addictive drugs that require medical detox include:
- Opiates – both illicit and prescription opiates
Sedative-hypnotics such as zolpidem and zopiclone arguably also require a medically supervised detox procedure due to the risks involved when the withdrawal is attempted.
Addiction Detox For Alcohol
When you undergo an alcohol detox, you will typically be given a benzodiazepine known as Librium. Librium is a slow-acting benzodiazepine with low abuse potential. Librium helps to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms by helping GABA-A, the brain’s main down regulator neurotransmitter, to stabilise gradually over the course of 7-10 days. Your dose of Librium will be gradually tapered down during this 7-10 day period.
Typical withdrawal symptoms experienced during alcohol detox include anxiety, hallucinations, tremors, seizures/convulsions, sweating, shivering, anxiety, and nausea.
Alcohol withdrawal is a medical emergency. This is particularly the case when a severe condition known as delirium tremens arises during the acute stage of alcohol withdrawal. This is because delirium tremens may result in death. Benzodiazepines such as Librium help those going through an alcohol withdrawal to avoid developing delirium tremens.
When a person drinks alcohol heavily for a span of time, whether that be weeks, years, or anything in between, they tend to develop a physical and psychological dependency on the substance as the body adapts to operating with alcohol.
If a person stops or even just cuts back on how much they are drinking, they may deal with a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to dangerous or even life-threatening.
- Anxiety Or Excess Nerves
- Fatigue Or Exhaustion
- Mood Swings
- Unclear Thinking
- Dilated Pupils
- Sleep Problems
- Nausea And Vomiting
- Appetite Loss
- Elevated Heart Rate
- Pale Skin
- Extreme Agitation
- High Blood Pressure
It is not possible to die from the lack of alcohol itself, but symptoms can appear that, if left unmonitored or untreated, can be fatal. The chance someone may die from withdrawal increases if they have a history of certain medical conditions such as epilepsy.
Detoxing from Barbiturates
Barbiturate detox is the first stage of treatment for barbiturate addiction. During this process, the drug is completely purged from the person’s system in order to restore the physical body to a state similar to what it was like before they began using it. In order for barbiturate detox to be safe and effective, it has to be done under medical supervision.
Withdrawal Symptoms from Barbiturates
Some of the most common barbiturate withdrawal symptoms that a person going through detox may experience are:
- Abdominal Cramps
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms
There is a long-range of withdrawal symptoms that a person may experience when they stop using benzodiazepine. Some of these symptoms are relatively mild and are not dangerous, while others can be extremely dangerous and even fatal if not treated and monitored properly. Take a look at the details below for more information on withdrawal from Benzodiazepines:
Common symptoms from benzodiazepine withdrawal include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Increased Anxiety
- Blurred Vision
- Sleep Problems
- Face/Neck Pain
- Inability To Concentrate
- Sensitivity To Light, Noise, Touch, And Smell
- Decreased Sex Drive
- Decreased Appetite
- Panic Attacks
- Sore Eyes And Tongue
- Tingling Sensation In Hands/Feet
- Unsteady Legs
- Weight Loss
- Burning Sensations In The Skin
- Severe Depression
- Memory Loss
- Muscle Twitching
- Delirium Tremens
Withdrawal From Opiates
Opiate drugs are known for being highly addictive. Many people who develop an addiction to opiates start by taking it as prescribed medication but then find themselves unable to stop. People can develop tolerance to the substance within three days. Take a look at the details below for more information on withdrawal from opiates:
Full medical opiate detox is when a person completely stops using a substance, but they do it while monitored by medical professionals. This way, if any dangerous symptoms develop, they will be treated, and the patient will be okay.
A medically assisted opiate detox is when a doctor prescribes medication to help a patient through detox. These medications can be used to keep the addict safe or just make them more comfortable throughout the process. Medication is often necessary during opiate detox.
An opiate substitution regime is when a doctor will prescribe a drug that mimics the substance that a person has a dependency to. Starting out by switching to a substitution before riding the body of all substances, can make the detox process a lot less intense and safer. However, not all doctors think the substitution method is a smart choice.
Cold turkey is when a person stops taking a substance completely and on their own, without the guidance of a medical professional. Going cold turkey can be extremely dangerous due to severe withdrawal symptoms. A person is also most likely to relapse with this method of detox.
The Difference Between Addiction Detox and Rehab?
It’s vital to realise that an addiction detox is not the same as going through a rehab programme. Once your addiction detox programme is complete, it’s vitally important for you to enter a recovery programme. This programme will help you live your life free from drugs or alcohol.
What Can I Expect From a Drug and Alcohol Detox Clinic?
- They will help you through the detox process and get through the withdrawal symptoms that come with a physical dependency
- There will be a team of therapists and other professionals to help you deal with the psychological addiction and recovery
- You will remain under 24-hour medical observation. This will help you remain safe and avoid relapse
- You will most likely be provided with a meal plan and healthy nutritious meals to make sure you receive all the vitamins and nutrients you need
The Addiction Detox Process
Evaluation. When you attend an addiction detox clinic, you will begin your treatment by undergoing an initial assessment. During this assessment, a psychiatrist and an addiction worker will collate all relevant information about you and your addiction. This information will form the bedrock of your addiction detox plan.
During the evaluation, a doctor or team will assess how severe a person’s addiction is. They may test how prevalent a substance (whether drugs or alcohol) is in a person’s body. They may also screen for mental health issues and medical issues to develop a strategy. The psychiatrist will specifically determine the existence of any dual diagnosis.
Dual diagnosis is mental issues that typically fuel your addiction to drugs and alcohol. The psychiatrist will also assess your physical health. He or she will determine whether you have suffered from a seizure/convulsion in the past. This helps the psychiatrist to assess the risk of withdrawal severity and the degree of medical supervision you will require during your addiction detox plan.
Stabilization. Following the completion of the initial assessment, the aim of addiction detox is to allow you to stabilise whilst you rid your system of toxins relating to your drug of choice. Whilst the ‘acute’ detox process is conducted, you will be given medications that help to ease or even eliminate withdrawal symptoms. They may offer therapy to help the patient through the oftentimes difficult process and help stabilize them.
This is the stage where most of the detox occurs. A doctor or team will work to help the person through the detox process. You will also be given highly nutritious meals to help give you strength and to treat possible malnutrition that’s all too common for people undergoing an addiction detox.
Encourage. Towards the end of the detox, someone on the team, or multiple people, will begin to encourage the patient to seek further treatment and rehab. Addiction does not end with detox, so if the person wants to avoid relapse, they need further treatment to deal with the psychological aspects.
Whilst you undergo the acute detox process, your physical and psychological needs will be continuously reassessed. During this period, you will also be introduced to therapy techniques that will help you fully rehabilitate. You will begin to understand your mental triggers of addiction. Knowledge of these triggers allows you to remain in recovery for the long term. Your family members may be invited into the addiction detox clinic during this time to assist in your recovery.
How Long Does Detox Last?
It’s vital for an addiction detox programme to last for as long as your withdrawal symptoms persist. If your addiction detox programme terminates for your withdrawal symptoms have begun to fade away, you rob yourself of essential medical supervision that could just save your life if these symptoms begin to advance.
A typical alcohol detox requires around 7-10 days to complete. An opiate detox requires around 14-21 days to complete. A benzodiazepine detox will require around 21-28 days to complete due to the need to slowly taper your dosage down during this period. Following the completion of the initial psychiatric assessment, before your addiction detox takes place, the psychiatrist will give you a better idea of how long your addiction detox will require in terms of the number of days and weeks required.
Addiction Detox Timeline
Below we have listed a general addiction detox timeline which outlines what you can expect:
The Early stages start 1 hour after a person stops using and can last up until they reach two days. Withdrawal symptoms start out pretty mild, but over time they worsen, and with that, a person's chance of relapse increases. People in the early stages do not typically need medication for safety reasons, though a doctor may prescribe some proactively.
This stage may occur eighteen hours after a person stops using, but it may last up to five days for a person, depending on the severity of their addiction and what substance they are detoxing from.
When someone is at the peak of detox, they are going to have the most severe symptoms, and there is a high chance of relapse. This is when most patients will receive medication and possible therapy, as well.
The timeframe of the weakening stage is three days to a week after a person starts using a substance. During this time, a person's symptoms slowly begin to alleviate, though some extremely dangerous symptoms can appear. Medication dosage can decrease, and the person is less likely to relapse.
Undergoing Detox Without Rehab
If you choose to undergo a detox without a full rehabilitation programme, your detox programme will run for around 7-10 days. We never advise our clients to undergo a detox without a rehabilitation programme. Why? Because addiction is a mental disorder, so it follows that addiction treatment should incorporate mental treatment in the form of therapy and counselling sessions. For these sessions to have any effect, you must remain in an addiction detox clinic for around 28 days in total.
The Difference Between Inpatient Treatment & Addiction Detox?
Above we indicated there exist two types of addiction detox. These types include an outpatient and inpatient detox.
1. Outpatient detox is rarely recommended by medical professionals. This is when you undergo a detox from your own home. Whilst a home detox is medically approved, you do not receive ample medical supervision, meaning a home detox is a relatively risky procedure to carry out.
A home detox may only be recommended when your addiction to drugs or alcohol is not deemed severe. When you undergo a home detox, it’s vital to demand you receive regular visits from a health care professional. If you purchase a ‘home detox pack’ online, ensure health care supervision is included in the deal.
2. In contrast, an inpatient detox means you will receive 24/7 medical attention. You will literally reside within the addiction detox clinic whilst you undergo the detox process. This is why inpatient addiction detox is often termed ‘residential’ care. The vast majority of people undergoing an addiction detox programme will choose to undertake treatment at an inpatient facility.
How Much Does Addiction Detox Cost?
ADT Healthcare offers addiction detox services across the United Kingdom. Our aim is to offer detox services that suit your precise needs and circumstances, but for a price, you are able to afford. Many people seeking addiction detox services will choose to fund treatment costs themselves.
Self-funding allows you to access addiction detox services immediately. For a basic alcohol detox, you should expect to pay around £1995 for an inpatient placement. For an opiate detox, you should expect to pay around £2995 for a basic detox without full rehabilitation support. A full rehab programme costs in the region of £4995 up to around £9995.
Addiction Detox Funding
It is also possible to pay for addiction detox using a private medical insurance policy. Many of these policies will cover you for depression, but not addiction. If you also suffer from depression, it’s important to highlight this when making your claim.
To make a claim on your medical insurance policy, you will need to apply for pre-authorisation. You must download the claim form from your insurer’s website. Complete this form and then send a copy of the completed form to ADT Healthcare for processing. We shall have a physician sign this form following an initial telephone assessment. You will then return this form to your insurer for approval. If funding is agreed, you will usually be free to begin your addiction detox treatment immediately.
The Range of Rehabilitation Programmes Available After Detox
Depending on a person’s addiction level and individual situation, there are four main types of programmes that they can use. These programs range from where a person can carry on with a lot of their day to day life to full time, residential program.
Standard Outpatient Programmes Outpatient programmes tend to incorporate a lot of group therapy sessions and group meetings like a 12-step programme. Outpatient is typically only recommended to people who can safely live at home without relapsing.
One of the benefits of this type of treatment is that patients can continue going to work or school when they are not attending sessions.
Whereas a standard outpatient program typically only takes ten or fewer hours a week, an intensive outpatient program takes twenty to thirty hours a week. The patient can still live at home, but they will probably need to take some time off of school or work in order to attend sessions.
This is a short-term inpatient treatment programme. The person starts by staying at a hospital or treatment center while they go through detox and become stabilized. Afterward, they leave and carry on with a less intensive form of treatment like an outpatient program.
This is the most intensive form of treatment a person can go through. A person stays at a residential facility and remains under 24-hour medical supervision. During their stay, a person will receive a variety of treatments and attend a variety of therapy sessions to recover from their addiction and learn skills to avoid relapse.
Finding Help Near You
To locate addiction detox services near you, contact ADT Healthcare today on 0800 088 66 86. We assist people seeking addiction detox services across the country, and we promise to assist you in locating a detox clinic within a short distance from your home. You can contact us today through this website by clicking here.