The complexities of addiction make drug detox a critical element in recovery. It is designed to enable elimination of toxins and treat the bodies physical and psychological reaction after halting habitual drug use. By itself however, it is insufficient to support long term sobriety. Unfortunately, a dangerous misconception held by a vast majority of addicts and their loved ones, is that detox constitutes the entire rehabilitation process. But studies show that when drug detox stories end there, the individual is often placed at an even greater risk of a drug overdose than before they detoxed.
In Kerriann’s journey to recovery, she talks about going through over twenty detox programs before recognizing that there was much more to the rehabilitation process than making it through painful withdrawal symptoms. “I thought all I needed to do was take care of the physical part of my addiction” she said “so this time I decided to take the treatment option, not just detox”. According to Kerriann, in her drug detox story, treatment taught her how to change negative patterns of behavior and lose the victim mentality. It also helped her to come to grips with issues of grief and loss. In fact, she said her recovery process did not truly begin until after she had completed treatment.
Although many people do not go into details about their detox experience, it is often the most difficult phase of the recovery process. That is because eliminating accumulated toxins from the body is frequently intermingled with complicated neurological functions that can trigger a number of uncomfortable and at times, potentially life-threatening symptoms such as:
Ensuring patient stability and mitigating any medical crisis that may be exacerbated by drug withdrawals is the primary function of drug detox clinicians. Because of the multiple complications that can occur after sudden or even gradual cessation of daily consumption of drugs or alcohol, good drug rehab facilities always ensure that the process occurs with around the clock medical supervision. Studies show it takes time, almost a year after detox, in some cases for neurological impairments caused by addiction to return to normal.
The greatest risk facing people that have successfully completed the detox process is a relapse. The mistake people make when resuming drug use after a period of abstinence is not recognizing that their tolerance levels have changed. Once tolerance levels for a drug starts to develop it also set the cycles of addiction in motion. Conversely, when chronic drug use is halted, tolerance levels can diminish just as quickly. Resuming drug use at the same dosage previously tolerated or even a smaller dose can prove deadly. In fact, this heightened sensitivity often results in a fatal overdose.
One way to avoid a relapse after detoxification is to receive comprehensive treatment for addiction. After treatment, follow up care in the form of strict adherence to relapse prevention and having a consistent support system in place are also important to achieving sustainable sobriety.
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