What to Expect During Detox
If you are dependent on a substance, the first few days after giving it up can be intimidating.
Knowing what to expect in detox can prepare you mentally and reassure you that you are not the first to go through this. Many people have experienced the same symptoms and come through it. Be reassured that detox does not last forever. There are stages, and some of the stages are hard. But stages end. You can become, and stay, sober.
If you are a friend or loved one of someone struggling with addiction, it can be hard to watch them enter into the pain of detox. You can’t fully understand the physical, mental, and emotional strength it takes to give up a drug that your body craves. But knowing the symptoms can help you enter into your loved one’s experience. It can also help you know how to help and care for your loved one as they enter a rehabilitation center.
The withdrawal symptoms change depending on the drug of choice. Also, everybody is different and can respond differently. But, overall, here is what to expect the first few days of giving up various drugs. This list focuses on the experience of recovery in the first few days and months.
Cocaine and amphetamine
- Withdrawal usually starts within a few hours of last dose and peaks between a few days to a few weeks.
- Cocaine is different from other drugs because there aren’t physical symptoms of withdrawal. However, the emotional and mental hurdles required during detox are difficult.
- Side effects include mood swings, food cravings, restlessness, nightmares, and insomnia.
- A huge feeling of depression usually comes two days after being clean, followed by a crash in energy.
- Aftercare is important for everyone in recovery, but this is especially true for amphetamine users, who are 93% likely to relapse.
- Withdrawal usually starts between eight hours to a few days after the last drink.
- Withdrawal peaks between 24-72 hours.
- Alcohol withdrawal comes in three stages, each more physically dangerous than the first.
- Symptoms may include sweating and high body temperature, high blood pressure and heart rate, insomnia, confusion, anxiety, hallucinations or delirium tremens, shaking, and seizures.
- Post-Acute withdrawal can include lack of energy, feelings of depression and/or anger, insomnia, and decreased libido.
- Alcohol withdrawal can be extremely dangerous and can result in death. It should not be attempted without medical supervision.
Heroin and Opiates
- Withdrawal usually starts around twelve hours after the last dose and peaks between 24-72 hours.
- Withdrawal can last a few weeks or a few months. If symptoms last longer than a week, it’s usually because Methadone or Suboxone was prescribed to lessen symptoms.
- Symptoms may include insomnia, sweats, tiredness, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.
- Opiate withdrawal is not usually life-threatening.
If you think you may struggle with drug or alcohol dependency and the above description of detox overwhelms you, don’t be scared away from fighting against addiction. Detox is a hard stage, but it is a stage that passes.
Detoxing without help can be very dangerous, even resulting in death. If you are experiencing hallucinations, delirium tremens, a stroke, a heart attack, or seizures, call 911 immediately.
Even if you think you can handle detox on your own, contact a rehabilitation center immediately. At Victory Addiction Recovery Center licensed staff will be able to help you physically as you go through detox. They will also help you build coping skills so that you will successfully remain sober and hopefully never have to go through detox again.
Alcohol withdrawal. Medline Plus.
Cocaine withdrawal. Medline Plus.
Opiate and opioid withdrawal. Medline Plus.
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