Addiction to any substance essentially follows the same roadmap. When you abuse many substances, they flood the body with toxins. These toxins build up in the body of someone who is addicted, creating cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the person doesn’t use the drug. Cleansing the body of all those chemicals is called “detox,” which refers to the detoxification of the physical system. Only then can the treatment center address the emotional and psychological factors that play into addiction. A detox supervised by medical professionals is a vital step in a successful, lasting recovery.
These are trying times. Reports of increased misuse of substances since the start of the pandemic are concerning. Data show that the number of overdoses in the US doubled during the pandemic. At Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge, we offer professional addiction recovery services, including medically supervised detox programs. Our detox programs are staffed by professionals who have your best interests at heart. Reach out to learn more about how a detox program can aid your recovery process by calling 844.442.8673.
Alcohol is the most common addictive substance in the United States. Experts estimate that one in twelve adults is an alcoholic. That’s over seventeen million people.
There are physical and psychological reasons for alcohol addiction. It is the physical effects of alcohol that make detox necessary.
Drinking alcohol stimulates the production of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, resulting in feelings of pleasure. It also physically alters the brain’s chemistry and the way it functions. The reward and pleasure centers become overwhelmed, leading the user to crave more alcohol to experience the effects again. Alcohol also affects people’s ability to make decisions and control impulses, making alcohol relapse more likely.
Whether the person uses prescription painkillers or illegal substances like heroin or cocaine, drug abuse can also cause dependence and addiction. Each drug affects the brain slightly differently, but in essence, drugs disrupt the brain’s ability to process and receive information.
Drugs overstimulate the brain’s reward center and imitate the process that nerve cells undergo to send and receive messages. Thus, the drug bypasses the brain’s natural functioning. The dopamine flood that ensues is what feels like a euphoric “high.”
These dopamine surges eventually condition the brain to stop producing its own dopamine. That means the addict must use the drug to feel any pleasure at all. This cycle will not end on its own. The chemicals must be safely flushed from the body, preferably in a medically supervised detox program.
The Role of Detox in Addiction Treatment
There are factors in addiction recovery that detox cannot address. For example, a treatment center should address the emotional aspect of dependency, spiritual beliefs and support systems, core beliefs, and acquired information. However, none of that work can begin until the physical part of addiction is addressed and the body is free from the drug.
In a detox program, medical professionals closely monitor the withdrawing patient and alleviate the worst side-effects of the process with medication if necessary.
Early withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Mood swings
- Muscle aches
Symptoms can escalate and may involve vomiting and diarrhea, confusion, hypertension, fever, racing heart, profuse sweating, dizziness, and headaches.
Why a Detox Program is Important
Research has shown that people who do not receive professional detox struggle to achieve lasting recovery. But detox is just the first step. It is not an easy answer to addiction. Once someone has successfully and safely detoxed, they can begin the next steps in a sobriety plan. Eliminating the chemicals from the body reduces cravings and allows those next steps to unfold with clarity and purpose.
Professional detox programs provide the continuity of care that makes a successful recovery more likely. While detox is ongoing and when it is over, the resources are immediately available to support, plan, and begin engaging in the next steps before any opportunity to use again has a chance to arise.
Contact Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge
At our professional detox and addiction treatment program, our specialists have the expertise and compassion to see you safely through your detox. At all four of our locations around Pennsylvania, PAATC promises to get you the help you need. We offer treatment for a range of addictions, including:
- Alcohol addiction
- Heroin addiction
- Cocaine addiction
- Opioid addiction
- Prescription medication addiction