How Do I Know if I Need Detox?

The detox process starts when individuals who are dealing with addiction or dependency issues quit using a particular substance. Typically, detox refers to a formal detoxification program overseen by medical professionals for safety and comfort. By asking some key questions, it will be clear who needs detox and why this step is so important on the road to recovery.

Is Drug or Alcohol Addiction a Problem?

Perhaps the easiest way to tell if a person needs detox is to determine whether they are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Individuals can be addicted to opioid prescription medications, heroin, cocaine, alcohol and countless other substances, but it is not always easy to tell from afar.

Addiction might be classified by an increased use of a particular substance, whether that is in frequency or in dosage. This happens because with addiction comes an increased tolerance. In order to feel the same buzz, euphoria or high, individuals will need to use addictive substances more often or in larger amounts.

Individuals may also be facing addiction if they continue use despite negative consequences. These consequences can be varied, but some of the most common include losing a job, breaking up a marriage, losing custody of children or facing bankruptcy. If substance abuse continues despite these consequences, then it is almost certainly a sign that a person requires intervention and detox in order to turn from the addiction.

Has Quitting Been a Problem in the Past?

Detox is the best solution for those who have tried quitting but have been unsuccessful in the past. This lack of success could be a result of inadequate accountability, proximity to temptations or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

One of the most important aids in detoxing from drug or alcohol use is accountability. Detox takes an average of one week, and that week will typically be a serious challenge. In a detox facility, however, patients will be accountable and receive support throughout the process. This can often make them more likely to succeed with detox and keep moving on the path to lifelong recovery.

Those who try to quit drug or alcohol use at home cold turkey are often faced with tremendous challenges and temptations. To start, many people will be in an environment where their friends, partners or neighbors are still using substances. Having these temptations so close only makes it harder to detox, and in some cases it can be too much to handle.

It is also important to address the issue of withdrawal and how it can be an obstacle for those trying to detox. Without guidance and medical support, withdrawal can be dangerous as well as painful. In a medical detox, however, patients will get medications, resources, and support to ensure that the process is as comfortable as possible and sobriety is achieved.

Are Withdrawal Symptoms a Concern?

Unfortunately, some individuals who struggle with addiction don’t attempt sobriety because they are worried about unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. If these side effects are a concern, then remember that detox can offer solutions.

One of the ways that a detox mitigates discomfort is by administering prescription medications. These can range from ordinary painkillers to more potent sedatives that enable sleep. Most importantly, medical professionals in a detox center will understand the potential risks of these medications, and they will know which prescriptions are contraindicated for specific addictions or medical conditions.

In addition, some medical detox facilities can use weaning techniques, which involves replacing one addictive substance with a synthetic version. This is a temporary technique, and patients are then weaned from the synthetic drug as well. This can greatly reduce withdrawal symptoms, particularly for those who are struggling with opioid addictions.

Is There a History of Trauma or Mental Health Disorders?

Statistically, there is a high correlation between those dealing with substance abuse disorders and those with either a history of trauma or a mental health disorder. In detox, patients can receive better care and diagnoses for these conditions, which can be critical when working toward recovery.

Although patients may not receive a significant amount of behavioral therapy during detox, they can receive a diagnosis regarding mental health or trauma. This is key, because it can help patients see some of the factors leading to the development of their addictions. Furthermore, it can ensure that patients continue on from detox and receive appropriate treatment and therapy. Detox is just the first step, and dual diagnosis treatment may be necessary for lasting recovery.

Are There Physical Health Complications?

Quitting an addictive substance is a stressful process, and not just psychologically. It can also be physically stressful. As a result, individuals with any health conditions should quit taking drugs or alcohol only in a medical detox setting.

While less common, it is possible for patients in withdrawal to experience symptoms such as seizures or even cardiac arrest. Those with pre-existing health conditions or weakness may be at increased risk. In a detox facility, these health conditions can be addressed and patients will be closely monitored for emergency situations.

Is Lasting Sobriety the Goal?

Individuals may need detox if the ultimate goal is lasting sobriety. Without detox, achieving sobriety even in the short term will be challenging. With detox, patients will receive medical attention, support, therapy and recommendations for ongoing recovery and treatment.

One of the key ways that detox can aid in lasting sobriety is by including educational elements. Patients in detox will learn that moderation isn’t an option after struggling with addiction, for instance. Patients will also understand that addiction is an illness, not a choice or a flaw.

Detox can also help give patients recommendations for ongoing treatment or therapy. Getting professional opinions can ensure that patients make the right choices for their health and sobriety moving forward.

By answering these important questions, you can determine whether you need detox. These questions can also be applied to a loved one, ensuring they receive the help they need to fight addiction.