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The detox process involves ending a person’s physical dependence on an intoxicating substance, such as alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines, while also managing symptoms of withdrawal. This is a very important step in the overall process of rehabilitation, so both medical professionals as well as friends and family should be brought in to support the person while they end their body’s dependence on drugs.
Doctors can provide medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and develop a tapering regime to slowly ease the body off the substance without triggering withdrawal symptoms that feel overwhelming. Individuals involved in socially supporting the person going through detox should encourage the person to enter a full rehabilitation program once they have successfully detoxed.
Although “cold turkey” withdrawal can take up to two weeks for most addictive substances, working with a physician to taper off the substance of abuse can take a little longer, depending on the drug. This might feel frustrating initially, but some substances can produce physically dangerous side effects if the individual does not receive medical attention to withdraw safely.
When a person decides to end their addiction to a substance, detox is only the first step, and no matter what the drug of abuse is, they should find medical help to safely overcome their addiction. Here are three examples of intoxicating substances that require medical detox:
Dear Ruth,I have realized recently that I may be struggling with substance abuse. I think my ability to enjoy other activities, attend work, and focus on life has been hurt due to this condition. I am reaching out because I need your support.
Addiction is a disease of the brain, and it is a complex neurological condition. I want to overcome my addiction so I can be the best sister possible, and this work can take time. It also requires support from people who love me, like you.
I have chosen to work with a doctor to detox from the drug and then enter a rehabilitation program. During this time, please offer me as much help as you can. I will need reminders that detox does not last forever, and I may need consistent encouragement to stay away from intoxicating substances. I may need a reminder that I definitely need to enter a rehabilitation program once detox is finished. Please offer me encouragement and help when I ask for it. Check on me whenever you can, even if it is just a text or email.
Also, please be open to attending therapy sessions with me should that become part of my rehabilitation program.
Thank you for your support during this time. I know that I can get better, and your help means a great deal to me while I work on this.
Asking for help is often the first step in overcoming addiction. The next step is to enter a rehabilitation program. Some rehabilitation programs offer detox services, while others require clients to detox before entering the program.
Remember that detox is not sufficient treatment on its own. It must be followed by a complete rehabilitation program to fully address all aspects of life related to the addiction issue. With comprehensive care, true recovery can be within reach.