When it’s done safely and correctly, detox doesn’t have to be a form of suffering. Eliminating the toxins from your system usually isn’t a pleasant experience, but it’s a necessary step in the journey of recovery. Above all, you should never feel that you have to struggle through drug or alcohol withdrawal alone. Build a support network of friends, family members and addiction treatment professionals to get you through this critical phase, so you can build the future you deserve.
Here are a few tips on how to get through detox successfully so you can move on to create a clean, healthy life:
- Enroll in a professional detox program. If you found out that you had diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer, you probably wouldn’t hesitate to get help from a medical professional. So why do so many addicts hesitate to seek professional help when they decide to quit using? According to the Institute of Addiction Medicine, many substance abusers are discouraged from seeking help by negative public opinions of drug addiction. However, clinical research shows that addicts who go through detox in a medically supervised setting have a greater chance of achieving long-term abstinence, especially if they go on to complete a drug rehabilitation program.
- Use medications to manage withdrawal. One of the biggest obstacles you’ll face in detox is your body’s reaction to drug withdrawal. Side effects like nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, chills, sweats, anxiety and agitation are signs that your body is adjusting to the elimination of toxic substances. As your system gets used to the absence of drugs, you’ll also experience intense cravings. These symptoms can be reduced or eliminated with the use of prescription medications like methadone, buprenorphine or acamprosate. Tranquilizers and antidepressants may be used to relieve the psychological side effects of withdrawal, such as agitation or depression. Anti-addiction medications should only be taken as part of a medically supervised detoxification program.
- Take care of your body and spirit. Drug abuse can wreak havoc on your physical and psychological health. Drug detox isn’t just about cleansing toxins from your system, but about rebuilding your body and mind on a stronger foundation. As you go through detox, eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of nourishing fluids will make the process easier and prepare you for the next phase of recovery. To restore normal sleep patterns, ask your healthcare provider about medications or herbal remedies that can help you get enough rest during this period. Alternative therapies like acupuncture, yoga and massage can promote relaxation and self-awareness. Whether or not you practice a form of organized religion, seeking spiritual support through a 12-step program can help you make it through the toughest days of detox.
- Get support from your loved ones. Getting your partner, spouse or family members involved in your recovery can make detox and rehab much easier, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The people closest to you play a vital role in the success of your detoxification program. Studies have shown that family involvement can increase an addict’s motivation to get through detox and stay clean and sober after rehab. Families and partners can demonstrate their support by participating in individual therapy, group counseling and educational sessions on drug addiction.
- Look forward to the future. Detox and withdrawal can be rough, but it’s important to remember that this stage of recovery won’t last forever. What do you intend to do after you graduate from rehab? What are your hopes and plans for the days ahead? Keep a journal during this period to record your visions of a more positive future. If you’ve postponed career plans, put off your education or ended relationships because of drug addiction, you have a whole lifetime ahead of you to pick up those dreams again. A support group can be the ideal place to share your dreams as you learn new coping skills to help you deal with the “real” world outside of rehab.
At Axis, we give you the best shot at recovery by providing support before, during and after detox. Our individually tailored treatment programs include guidelines for getting through the detoxification stage and making the transition into rehab. Call our admissions counselors for answers, support or advice on the disease of drug addiction. We’re here to help you build a life that’s rewarding and fulfilling on every level.