Drug & Alcohol Detox Side Effects | Detox To Rehab

Side Effects of Drug & Alcohol Detox

What are the Risks & Health Complications with Detox?

Side Effects of Drug & Alcohol Detox

What are the Risks & Health Complications with Detox?

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Detox is a serious part of a successful, long-term recovery from drug and Alcohol addiction.  Affecting the physical body, potentially dangerous things also happen to the brain while detoxing from drugs and Alcohol.

As toxins left behind by the substance are being broken down and eliminated, the brain simultaneously readjusts to its natural production of chemicals.

During this time, the body is likely to experience the uncomfortable symptoms of drug and alcohol detox.

Critical vital signs and other health concerns should be monitored by a medical professional making detoxing at home from drugs or Alcohol unsafe.

Quick Stats:

Drug overdoses are now the number one cause of injury-related deaths in the US, averaging 44,000 people every year.

Withdrawals During Drug and Alcohol Detox

A loved one’s addiction is frustrating, especially for one who may not have a clear understanding of the disease. The human body is abundant with receptors, including cannabinoid receptors and opioid receptors that facilitate communication between the brain and the rest of its anatomy.

Addictive substances react to these receptors in the same manner as natural brain chemicals, sending a signal to the brain that it no longer needs to manufacture as much in order to function properly.

Abruptly removing the outside source of the substance causes the brain to respond with urgency. It requires all of its internal resources to rapidly correct the sudden deficit. The side effects associated with an abrupt absence of the substance induces a state of dope sickness.

Over three million people in the United States experience typical withdrawal symptoms when they stop abusing a substance. Physical symptoms include tremors, agitation, weakness, stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal upsets, nasal congestion, slurred speech and watery eyes.

Other sources of discomfort may be lethargy, depression, disorientation, severe anxiety, feelings of discontent or boredom, hallucinations and paranoia.

Some aspects of drug and Alcohol detox are more dangerous and should be treated by a doctor immediately. These could include violent and aggressive tendencies, seizures, and psychosis.

Who Should Consider Drug or Alcohol Detox

It is extremely common for those struggling with an addiction to be the last to realize the severity of the dependency. The addicted brain is constantly preoccupied with the reward of the next fix or drink and rarely has the capacity to judge their rate of consumption with objective logic.

If an addicted individual becomes concerned about his or her substance abuse habit, often their first effort to become sober is to immediately stop using the substance or to significantly reduce its intake. While the individual’s intentions are noble, seriously dangerous effects of drug and alcohol detox could develop, especially for those with a lengthy or severe addiction.

The American Psychiatric Association named 11 criteria to determine the severity of an addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; the latest edition most often referred to as DSM-5, which helps medical professionals diagnose mental health conditions.

The following criteria can help someone determine if they have an addiction and should, therefore, expect to experience withdrawal symptoms during drug or alcohol detox:

  1. Careless use: Questionable judgment in use could include driving under the influence or missing school or work.
  2. Social complications or isolation: Important relationships are troubled or dissolved.
  3. Unable to meet important obligations: Grades may be slipping or there may be concerns at work.
  4. Withdrawals: Physical and mental responses to a drop or delay in the usage of the substance.
  5. Tolerance: The amount of the substance that needs to be ingested to obtain the desired results increasing with time.
  6. Increase in rate of consumption: Using more of the substance for longer periods of time.
  7. Previous attempts to stop or control use have been unsuccessful.
  8. Significant time spent pursuing and/or using the substance.
  9. Deterioration of physical and mental health
  10. Loss of interest in hobbies or lifelong motivations
  11. Substantial Cravings

Quick Stats:

During 2015 -16, of all the addicts going into treatment, 70% were male. 73% of these males were being treated for drug abuse while 61% recieved treatment for alcohol only.

Drug & Alcohol Detox and the Deadly Risk of Relapse

His friends knew Alex as the expert on the outdoors, specifically: the mountains. He loved hiking, backpacking, snowboarding, rock climbing and nature.

As an advocate for the landscapes he loved, he frequently volunteered his time to educate his community on trail and wildlife safety. He was lively, enthusiastic and always had a bright smile on his face.

No one could have predicted that a relapse, soon after the symptoms of Opioid detox subsided, would take his life.

On December 24, 2013, the car he was riding in was struck by a drunk driver, which sent it careening off the road and into a ravine.

He suffered life-threatening injuries, but with the expertise of emergency surgeons, Alex’s life was spared.

He came home from the hospital with a prescription for Oxycontin from his doctor to manage residual pain from his injuries. Almost one year later, as he was having his prescription filled for his monthly supply of Oxycontin, his pharmacy informed him that they were out of the medication and another shipment would be delivered in one week.

The agonizing withdrawal symptoms he endured during this time made it clear that he had an addiction to Oxycontin. He was able to have his prescription filled after his withdrawal symptoms began to subside, inspiring him to stop taking the medication regularly. However, he kept it on hand for pain episodes that he’d anticipated having in the future.

Although Alex was feeling confident about taking control of his addiction, he couldn’t help but notice that he spent a lot of time thinking about the medication and how it had made him feel.

On a cloudy Tuesday night in April of 2015, he experienced a sensation of pain and weakness after a day on the baseball field with some friends. This led him to take his standard dose of the Oxycontin he had in his medicine cabinet.

He was found the next morning, dead of an Opioid overdose at the age of 31.

Alex’s self-detox resulted in a lower tolerance to the Opioid. When he relapsed, his body could not process the dosage. After swallowing the pills, he went to sleep for the night and his respiratory system failed before he woke up the next day.

Alex’s story is a tragic yet common cautionary tale about the potentially fatal effects of a drug detox done at home, especially without proper cognitive treatment following the withdrawal period.

Alex was successfully able to abstain from the medication until his physical symptoms dissolved; however, he didn’t address his psychological dependency, which sabotaged his effort to break free of the addiction.

Detox within a substance abuse treatment facility is crucial. The risk of relapse is lower in this supportive environment and medicines can be properly administered to maintain vital signs and comfort levels.

One may feel confident that his or her addiction has been overcome after the withdrawal symptoms of substance detox subside, but for most addicted individuals, this is the period of time in which he or she is most vulnerable to a dangerous relapse.

Critical Side Effects of Alcohol and Benzodiazepine Detox

The first step in substance abuse treatment is detox. Withdrawals are uncomfortable for some and excruciating for others, but the adversity of detox is temporary and offers one the opportunity to rebuild his or her life.

While many experience difficult withdrawal symptoms that come and go, medical professionals must diligently monitor and maintain individuals detoxing from alcohol and benzodiazepines, such as Xanax. Side effects of withdrawal from these substances in detox can be fatal if not carefully controlled.

Alcohol

Seizures and Delirium Tremens (the DTs) are the most common causes of alcohol withdrawal related deaths. Delirium Tremens is a serious symptom of acute alcohol addiction withdrawal.

There are predictable phases of Alcohol withdrawals but the DTs usually make their appearance around 3 days to one week after the last drink but can suddenly appear before then as well. It is characterized by poignant confusion, restlessness, nightmares, disorientation, a sharp rise in body temperature, hallucinations, a rise in heart rate and blood pressure, severe shaking, and intense anxiety.

These symptoms are most noticeable at night. Keeping a room well lit can sometimes help to curb the intensity of some of these symptoms. Pharmaceutical strategies have proven to be most effective for those struggling with the critical effects of alcohol withdrawal in detox.

Benzodiazepines

Grand mal seizures account for the majority of deaths related to Benzodiazepine withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms take a significant toll on the body, as they are arduous physically and psychologically.

For short-term medications such as Xanax, acute withdrawal symptoms can last for up to seven days. A Benzodiazepine medication prescribed for long-term maintenance of an anxiety condition can last up to 90 days to several months.

The symptoms most commonly suffered include extreme depression, severe anxiety, memory loss, high heart rate, excessive sweating, twitching, and sensitivity to light and sound. These symptoms have also lead to suicidal tendencies in many.

Every person and addiction is unique, which makes it almost impossible to predict how severe the symptoms of drug and alcohol detox will be for any individual. A medically supervised detox is crucial for anyone with a longstanding addiction, especially those who are addicted to Alcohol and Benzodiazepines.

Quick Stats:

Relapse rates range between 40 and 60 percent which is comparable to relapse rates with other chronic diseases such as hypertension, asthma and type I diabetes.

Overcoming the Effects of Drug and Alcohol Detox

Overcoming addiction requires a significant adjustment period. It takes time for the body to become accustomed to the absence of the substance and for the mind to regulate healthier lifestyle habits and routines.

Not all moments in treatment are easy, but the efforts put forth can give an individual some of the most rewarding and prideful moments of his or her life.

Making the decision to accept help can be a confusing time, especially as detox causes the addiction to rear its ugly head in the form of withdrawals. After a few days for most, these symptoms begin to subside and the recovery of a healthy thought process and lifestyle begins.

Cognitive therapy works to uncover the underlying cause of the addiction, allowing for the safe and proper treatment of a condition that may be exacerbating the addiction. Following the effects of drug or alcohol detox, new coping mechanisms are obtained through life coaching sessions and other therapeutic treatments that speak specifically to the needs of the healing individual.

Maintaining a healthy physique through diet and exercise is coached and practiced in treatment to promote comprehensive recovery of the brain’s healthy functions as well. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of recovery is aftercare.

An aftercare plan consists of a strategy that helps one apply what was gained in treatment to real-world experiences that he or she is likely to come across outside the safe walls of the treatment center. It includes a written plan for social situations as well as sober lifestyle planning for early recovery.

The greatest chance for relapse is in early recovery and can often be life threatening. You’re not alone. We’re here to help. Let us assist you in taking your first step toward a successful, long-term recovery. We’re standing by; call us today.

Maintaining a healthy physique through diet and exercise is coached and practiced in treatment to promote comprehensive recovery of the brain’s healthy functions as well. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of recovery is aftercare.

An aftercare plan consists of a strategy that helps one apply what was gained in treatment to real-world experiences that he or she is likely to come across outside the safe walls of the treatment center. It includes a written plan for social situations as well as sober lifestyle planning for early recovery.

The greatest chance for relapse is in early recovery and can often be life-threatening. You’re not alone. We’re here to help. Let us assist you in taking your first step toward a successful, long-term recovery.