What is Drug Withdrawal Detox?

A skilled medical program can offer you the necessary support to safely accomplish drug withdrawal detox.

What is Drug Dependency?

When you use certain drugs repeatedly for an extended time, your brain and body adjust to having a certain amount of that substance circulating in your system. Eventually, chronic substance use causes physical and functional changes to the brain and how it works.

The most significant change is how the brain produces dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness. Drugs and alcohol trick the brain into releasing abnormally high dopamine levels, leading to the “rush” or “high” people feel when drinking or using.1

In time, the dopamine levels needed to feel good exceed what the brain produces naturally. Higher and more frequent doses of drugs are necessary to achieve feelings or emotions once linked to day-to-day events such as a conversation with friends, eating chocolate, a kiss from a loved one, or going for a walk. When the brain can no longer elicit these feelings naturally, physical dependency is a sign.

Drug Withdrawal

How Does Drug Withdrawal Impact You?

When you develop a dependence on drugs and try to reduce or quit using them, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal occurs when your body tries to function without substances. It’s the body and brain’s attempt to adapt to a “new normal” as you try to reduce or entirely stop using. Drug addiction withdrawal can be a combination of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms, some of which can become overwhelming when you try to stop using without help from a drug detox program.

How Prevalent is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is a widespread problem throughout the nation. When someone depends on drugs, it becomes difficult to function daily without using them. When you don’t use, your body craves substances, and side effects of drug withdrawal called withdrawal symptoms occur.

Drug addiction withdrawal generally leads to unpleasant symptoms when you stop using, but symptoms vary based on the substance. While some drugs may produce mild withdrawal symptoms, others can lead to extreme and potentially fatal medical emergencies. Regardless of the substance, your health, safety, and success at achieving sobriety may depend on your ability to access medical support in the event of severe withdrawal.

What Are Drug Withdrawal Symptoms?

When you begin detoxing from drugs, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms. The signs and symptoms of drug withdrawal and the severity of withdrawal symptoms depend on several factors. These include the drug you used, the severity of your addiction, and your history with addiction treatment and relapse.

The specific drug addiction withdrawal symptoms you may experience during detox are often unique to the individual and the substance or substances you use. Also, the drug addiction withdrawal timeline varies based on the specific drug and how the drug acts within the body.2

Common Indicators of Withdrawal

Despite these differences, several common drug withdrawal symptoms occur in most cases. These often include fatigue, mood changes, altered behavior, appetite changes, respiratory problems, body aches and pains, changes in sleeping habits, restlessness, and irritability. Symptoms like sweating, nausea, vomiting, and trembling are also common.

Dangerous Symptoms of Withdrawal

It’s possible to experience overwhelming and potentially dangerous symptoms in more severe cases. These symptoms, such as heart problems, seizures, respiratory problems, hallucinations, coma, and death, underscore the importance of medically supported detox at a drug detox center like Essence Healthcare.

Drug Withdrawal Detox Types

The process of drug detox can take on a variety of different forms. There are different levels of care or detox program types like addiction treatment. The best program for you will depend on the type of addiction (type of substance) and the severity of your addiction. These different detox options will be detailed below.

When is a Detox Program Necessary?

Some substances such as opioids and benzodiazepines can cause dangerous, life-threatening addiction symptoms. It’s crucial to detox in an environment where you have access to medical support in these cases. In many cases, this is at a residential withdrawal or residential detox program.

Less Severe Addiction Treatment Options and Opportunities

Less severe addictions or struggles with substances that produce milder withdrawal symptoms may be better served in outpatient or home-based detox programs. It’s crucial to ensure that the level of care you choose provides an adequate level of care to detox safely.

Drug Withdrawal Timeline

Many factors influence the exact duration of drug addiction withdrawal. Therefore, it’s challenging to provide a precise timeline that applies to everyone. For some, detox may require a few days, whereas it can take weeks or months in other cases. In general, each category or class of drug has an approximate timeframe for the onset and duration of symptoms.

Timeline for Benzodiazepines

Drug withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepine drugs such as Ativan, Valium, and Xanax generally present within one to four days after your last dose. In most cases, symptoms will peak in severity within two weeks. Protracted withdrawal symptoms can last months or even years without drug withdrawal treatment.3

Timeline for Opioids

Opioid drugs can produce short or long-acting effects. Short-acting opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers are meant to act quickly on the body, and therefore, they don’t last as long in your system. When you stop taking a short-acting opioid, withdrawal symptoms will emerge within 8 to 24 hours and last for a week to ten days. Long-acting opioids such as methadone may take up to four days for withdrawal symptoms to present. In most cases, these symptoms will fade within ten days.4

Timeline for Stimulants

Symptoms of drug withdrawal from stimulant drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine will take hours for acute withdrawal symptoms to appear. Although withdrawal symptoms will peak in a few days, protracted withdrawal symptoms may last as long as ten weeks.5

Drug Withdrawal

Drug Withdrawal Treatments at Essence Healthcare

Although there are several “ways” to detox, the safest and most effective way to detox from drugs is at a medically supervised drug detox program like Essence Healthcare, where skilled medical and mental health providers can provide support, guidance, and drug withdrawal treatments to help you through the stages of detox.

What to Expect On Your Wellness Journey

Detox isn’t easy. The struggle to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety looks different for everyone, and it’s impossible to predict who will experience severe withdrawal side effects. Our team at Essence Healthcare is here to help you progress through the stages of withdrawal using the most effective drug withdrawal therapies and treatments.

Depending on your needs, drug withdrawal medications are integrated into your detox plan to help manage withdrawal symptoms. Using medications for drug withdrawal as part of a drug withdrawal treatment program can help ease the intensity of specific withdrawal symptoms and allow you to focus on healing from addiction. If you’re ready to begin your sobriety journey, let us help. Contact us today to get help now to overcome addiction.

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Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.