What A First Responder Can Expect During The “Detox” Process

By Safe Call Now Admin Staff

If you are dependent on alcohol or other drugs, it doesn’t take long for your body to notice you’ve stopped consuming that substance. Once you’ve become both mentally and physically reliant on something, it takes some time to adjust to its absence in your system. This period of adjustment is commonly referred to as detox (or detoxification).

Withdrawal symptoms often surface during the detox process and range in severity. But if you do experience them, it’s important to remember they’re temporary. They’re an unpleasant but sometimes necessary part of the recovery process.

It’s also important to keep in mind that everyone responds to detox and withdrawal differently. There are a number of factors that influence how you respond including length of addiction, severity of addiction and availability of home and social support (among others).

Detoxing from Alcohol

Alcohol withdrawal (which usually lasts between 5-7 days) can be a life-threatening condition that can cause some serious problems. It’s recommended that individuals addicted to alcohol get the help of a qualified treatment center. By engaging the help of professionals, those seeking assistance can gain access to a number of prescription medications that can help minimize the severity of the following side effects associated with detoxing from alcohol.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Trembling
  • Cravings
  • Sweating
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Problems sleeping

Some individuals (about 1 in 20 who experience withdrawal) will experience delirium tremens (DTs), a more severe reaction to giving up alcohol. Symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Delirium (seeing/hearing things that aren’t really there)
  • Disorientation
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Convulsions
  • Dehydration

Medical Alcohol Detox versus Sub-Acute Alcohol Detox

Before detoxing from alcohol, you should see a medical doctor to help determine what level of detox is needed. In severe cases, people who are struggling with addiction to alcohol may be referred to a medically-supervised detoxification process. In less severe cases, it could be possible to detox from alcohol at a rehab center like Cycles of Change, which is licensed by the state of California to provide sub-acute detoxification.

Detoxing from Other Drugs

Medical or sub-acute detox is recommended for several other types of drug addiction as well. If you or a loved one abuses barbiturates, or opioid drugs such as oxycodone, Vicodin or heroin, professional help is suggested. But why these drugs specifically?

  • Barbiturates: medications like Amytal and Seconal that are known to have life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Related withdrawal symptoms include tremors, insomnia, agitation and hallucinations.
  • Opioids: medications like oxycodone, Vicodin and heroin. Detox and withdrawal symptoms associated with these drugs are not usually life-threatening but many (95%) fail to complete detox successfully on their own. Related withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, rapid breathing, vomiting, confusion and tremors.

If you, someone you love or someone you know needs help, call:

Safe Call Now:  24 Hour Hotline:  206-459-3020

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Or call Shannon Clairemont at:  661-666-1104

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