Drug Addiction Treatment- Detox And Rehab
Rising at an alarming rate, over 23 million people in the United States battle some sort of addiction. Most commonly these include alcohol, cocaine, meth and a plethora of other harmful alternatives. While the number of individuals battling these substances is extremely worrisome, just as disturbing is the fact that less than 15 percent of addicts receive treatment. There are several reasons for this, from denial, to location, to cost; however such roadblocks must be overcome to ensure the health and safety of as many users as possible. Luckily, drug addiction treatment programs have never been more efficient in helping people destroy their demons. But to make recovery effective and dramatically increase a person’s quality of life, it is wise to educate yourself and your support system about what to expect with drug detoxing.
What to know about drug detoxing depends on, of course, the substance that the user is addicted to. Before delving into the length of drug treatment programs and what to prepare for in regards to recovery, it is essential to know the basics of drugs most frequently used, how long it takes to ‘come down’ from their effects, and when one can expect withdrawal symptoms.
With 17 million people in its clutches, alcohol still remains the most prevalent outlet for addiction. Like every drug on the list, the detox period relies on a variety of factors such as the amount consumed, weight, diet, and any dangerous mixtures entered into the bloodstream. In most cases however, the period for alcohol to leave the system is between 3 and 5 days. Alcohol is a very misleading drug in regards to ‘coming down’ from its effects because even if a person is seemingly sober, the impurities in the liquid are still damaging the body upon their exit. This is not the case for every drug. While the length of time to be clean from alcohol is typically the fastest among most drugs, its impact can be just as devastating. Problems that arrive from detoxing from alcohol include, but are not limited to, seizures, hallucinations and almost certainly withdrawal. The withdrawal stage of detox is usually the most difficult for addicts to overcome because of overt cravings and brain chemistry that has been altered by excessive usage.
Heroin is another nasty drug craved by users. The most well known opioid worldwide for all the wrong reasons, heroin deaths doubled from 2010 to 2013 alone. The rough estimate on detoxing from the use of heroin is about 7 days, however the dangerous symptoms outside of the actual act of shooting up rears their ugly head in about 6 to 12 hours post hit. Like alcohol, the withdrawal from heroin is daunting to overcome. Fever, cramps, sweating, restlessness and a spike in blood pressure are just a microcosm of the issues that arise during this period. What most people do not realize is that often times some of the worst withdrawals actually take place days after taking a hit. The reason for this is the human body is trying to break down the foreign substances that shock the system with their harmful ingredients. Spasms, runny nose and vomiting may also be present.
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment
With the ability to be almost 100 times as powerful as morphine, fentanyl must not be overlooked. An opiate painkiller, fentanyl can develop a dependency in users almost immediately because of the punch of ingredients included. If you have ever known someone with painkiller addiction, you have probably heard or noticed that fentanyl use cannot be stopped cold turkey. While ceasing the use of every drug immediately is harmful in some way, painkillers must be tapered off to curb an unfavorable outcome. Though it seems counter-intuitive to not stop something so dangerous immediately, just as detrimental as drugs going into the body is drugs coming out of the body. The systems inside of us actually want to regenerate and heal on their own, but too much of a substance consumed or even exiting at once can cause irreversible damage. Because usage must be slowly cut down, the detox from fentanyl can take weeks or months to steer clear of acute withdrawal. That said, it can take about 17 hours for the drug to be cut in half in your blood. The slow process of cleansing fentanyl works to cut down on the withdrawal symptoms of joint pain, anxiety, nausea, anorexia, and so on.
Methadone is another slippery slope drug, as it is sometimes used to get people off of opiate addictions. Because it is a form of treatment in some cases, occasionally a swap is made by the user from one drug to the next. Like all foreign substances, the tricks methadone play on the body are terrifying. Methadone tolerance can build quickly in the bloodstream, which is particularly frightening because it forces the addict to need more of the drug to reach their wanted plateau of relaxation. Because of this, levels of the drug induced rise quickly to the point of no return. Because methadone is a relatively cheap tool to address things like heroin usage, it is an easy alternative for people to wrongly embrace as a placeholder for other drugs. Methadone can play mind games on its users by reducing their anxiety, but make no mistake, this ‘euphoric’ feeling is only temporary. Shallow breathing, cyanosis and spasms are all directly related to methadone withdrawal. On average it takes between 15 and 60 hours to initially detox from methadone. Withdrawal can go on for weeks, depending upon how severe the addiction. Like all hard drugs, the symptoms fade gradually.
Cocaine is an illegal stimulant that claims thousands of lives a year. The intense high it produces manipulates the dopamine in the brain associated with experiencing pleasure, which is why its popularity in addiction is no surprise. Paranoia, agitation, hallucinations and sleeping and eating disorders are all included in the blanket of horrible side effects of cocaine usage. After a ‘coke crash,’ withdrawal symptoms begin immediately with depression, hunger and mental and physical impairments coming to the forefront. Cocaine remains inside the body about 72 hours after use. The detox timeline for this drug is frequently between 1 to 3 weeks. After the 10 day mark, some cravings may subside, but traces of the drug can be found in urine up to 12 weeks if the previous use had been consistent.
Methamphetamine, or meth, is usually a street drug that has a wide range of unfortunate consequences. Meth is a very potent poison that almost systematically destroys its user one session at a time. It is known as one of the most difficult drugs to provide treatment for because of the tempting lure to addicts. Psychotic behavior, delusions, brain damage, memory loss and fits of aggression paint the overly-concerning picture of meth use. Detox for methamphetamine can take 2 weeks or more. The acute phase of withdrawal for crystal meth can last 7-10 days, and the sub-acute phase can go on for 10-14 days. While every substance taken in excess must be dealt with by a medical professional, the urgency at which a meth addict needs help cannot be understated.
Every drug addiction treatment program is different, however some aspects are universal. When you ask yourself “what can I expect from a drug detox,” be prepared for some blunt, harsh and sobering realities. This is not to say that the mountain of recovery cannot be climbed, but the first hurdle any abuser needs to initially jump is denial. Fortunately, with so many other people in the same boat, those experiencing your same feelings are not far away. The first emotion you or a user you know will commonly encounter is skepticism. There can be all sorts of reasons for this, whether it be because they are still under the effects of the drug, or not really wanting to give it up deep down. To be clear, every feeling a person needing or seeking help expresses should all be met with the same response; compassion. In several cases of substance abuse, an individual’s personality is altered by cravings, irritability and sometimes even brain damage. This is important to keep in mind because if you are dealing with a particularly resistant addict, one must come to grips with the fact that they may not have to ability to associate help and treatment with reason. Drugs unfortunately have the ability to make any person become their own worst enemy, and fighting this with patience and diligence is critical.
Withdrawal, as mentioned numerous times earlier, will likely be the hardest aspect of treatment for patients. Though several symptoms of withdrawal have been noted, they are just the tip of the iceberg regarding the dark side of recovery. Sleep deprivation, irritability and fatigue are noticeable, and these do not even include the more devastating symptoms. A rise in blood pressure and irregular breathing, heartbeats and brain activity may all be present during detox. While removing the harmful agents from the body is clearly ideal, it is just the first step of detox. Cravings are commonplace even days after an addict’s bloodstream is ‘normal,’ and those experiencing detox in a treatment program can expect that feeling better is literally a day to day process. This is in no way to deter those wanting help, in fact, without treatment, the consequences involved multiply a hundred fold.
How Long Is Addiction Treatment For Drugs?
Drug addiction treatment programs typically last 30, 60 or 90 days. Every system has their own points of emphasis. Some programs, like Utah’s Addiction Center in Eagle Mountain, addresses the problem by focusing on curing the ailment on both a physical and emotional level. Medicine is just part of their approach as they help create a brand new person. Recovery Unplugged in Austin, Texas goes down a completely different path by using music as part of their healing. Clinical professionals are just half the puzzle, as singers and songwriters help bring down emotional walls of each patient.
Because a drug addiction treatment program can mean the difference between life and death for a patient, the steps taken towards enrollment should be imminent. It is pertinent to note that addiction is not a condemnation of who you are as a person, as everyone deserves a second chance. Seeking the help of professionals may be humbling, but it is in actuality a showcase of your character in wanting to live a fruitful life. In admitting you or a loved one needs care, you have already achieved something most addicts have not; a willingness to get clean and healthy.