The first step to successful rehabilitation and recovery from an addiction is detoxification. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, experiencing a temporary “slip” after rehab doesn’t mean that addiction treatment failed.1 However, a relapse during the detox phase will prevent someone from beginning rehabilitation or progressing toward recovery.
Relapse During Detox: A Slip Means Starting Over
According to Rehabs.com, the detoxification process takes anywhere from a few days to over a week while the body processes the remaining alcohol or drugs out of your system.2 If at any point in the detox process a person gives in to their cravings, then they have relapsed and must restart. Detoxing alone would require a person to endure quite a bit of pain and discomfort without any help or safety net if something goes wrong.
Since it’s a common substance, let’s look at the detox process for alcohol as an example:
Phase 1 of alcohol detox happens within the first 6-12 hours after stopping alcohol consumption. In phase 1, people experience headache, nausea/vomiting, excessive sweating, trouble sleeping, shakes, anxiety, and craving for alcohol.
Phase 2 occurs between 12-24 hours after stopping alcohol consumption. The symptoms of each phase build upon the previous phase. In addition to the Phase 1 symptoms, people in Phase 2 also begin to experience loss of appetite and malnutrition, dehydration and hallucinations.
Phase 3 occurs between 24-48 hours after stopping alcohol consumption. In addition to the Phase 1 and Phase 2 symptoms, people experience mood swings and low blood pressure. They possibly experience grand mal seizures then delirium tremens that resulting from malnutrition, dehydration, and lack of sleep. Grand mal seizures are relatively rare, but they are the precursor to delirium tremens (also rare), which can be fatal.
Phase 4 occurs between 2-7 days after stopping alcohol consumption. In addition to the symptoms of Phases 1-3, people in Phase 4 experience confusion, depression, anger, restlessness, and general discomfort. The body has just undergone a major change and needs time to adjust.3
No part of the detox process is an easy walk in the park. Of course, that’s not a reason to avoid detox. However, it is a reason why people should give themselves the best chance of success when they detox.
Detox is the First Step to Rehabilitation and Recovery
Detox should not be confused with rehabilitation. Someone with a substance addiction must first detox to cleanse their system before they can begin rehab. For rehabilitation, people in an addiction recovery program learn to manage their addiction while they strive for long-term sobriety. Unfortunately, a person cannot begin rehabilitation to recover from their addiction unless they first detox. That is why, whether someone is detoxing alone or with medical assistance, they cannot afford a relapse during detox, no matter how intense the craving gets.
Medically Assisted Detox Helps Prevent Relapse
To have the best chance of success, it is better to detox in a medical facility. Think about it. If you have a friend that is heavily addicted to alcohol or drugs, would you want them to undergo the grueling detox process alone at home? Or, would you rather see them get help in a hospital with trained medical professionals?
At home, they are surrounded by their own triggers and potentially other people who are using the substance. To make things worse, they probably have access to the substance that they’re trying to escape when the cravings get bad. Unfortunately, it’s not surprising that many people relapse during detox at home.
On the other hand, going to a medical facility like Schick Shadel Hospital to detox removes a person from their triggers and distances patients from others who may be a negative influence. On top of that, the physicians and nurses there are trained to administer medical attention and medications as needed to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. The chances of successfully completing and surviving a detox are much greater with medical help.
In-Patient Detoxification Gives Best Chance of Recovery
The in-patient solution for detoxification gives somebody the best chance possible of detoxing and regaining control of their lives. Especially compared with the risks of detoxing alone, getting medical help to detox is the safest, least grueling, and most successful option for people who are serious about overcoming their addictions.
This is Reason #3 of a three-part series: The Dangers of Detoxing Alone.
If you missed the previous reasons to never detox alone, no worries! Click here to catch up:
1 Treatment and Recovery. (2018). Drugabuse.gov. Retrieved 16 November 2018, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
2 How Long Does It Take to Detox From Alcohol?. (2018). Luxury.rehabs.com. Retrieved 16 November 2018, from https://luxury.rehabs.com/alcohol-detox/how-long-does-it-take/
3 Stopping Drinking: Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms & the Detox Timeline – The Haven Detox. (2017). The Haven Detox. Retrieved 16 November 2018, from https://havendetoxnow.com/alcohol-withdrawal-symptoms-detox-timeline/