There is no addiction recovery without the very first step: withdrawal. When you stop drinking or using drugs, your body has to adjust. This process of withdrawal is challenging because addiction also means dependence. Your body and brain have become physically dependent on drugs and/or alcohol and must now relearn how to function clean. Knowing what to expect when you enter a professional detox program helps you prepare. The benefits of detox under medical supervision are many. At Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC), we believe detox stages are too risky for you to undertake on your own.
PAATC’s detox programs in Pennsylvania offer medically managed detox in a safe setting. You will be under the care of professionals who will help you manage your symptoms and progress through the stages of detox with compassionate support. Learn more about the benefits of detox, how a detox program fits into the rest of addiction rehab, and what PAATC can do to help you get clean. We can be reached online or by calling 844.442.8673 today.
Choose Safe Detox and Begin Your Recovery
There are negatives to the detox process, but they are temporary. The upside is that you can begin your recovery in earnest and achieve a clean and sober life when you are done. The fact that detox has a definite end-point – when your body is completely rid of all drugs and alcohol – helps with the process.
You experience detox knowing that the end is inevitable – and that end is the beginning of the life you want to live.
The Five Stages of Detox
The detox process can be broken down into five stages:
1. Deciding to begin
Detox starts when you choose and take your last drink or hit. This is a momentous occasion and worthy of recognition. Yes, it will get worse before it gets better, but do not forget that you have made a life-affirming choice. This first stage includes enrolling in a professional detox program so that when you have stopped your drug use, you can immediately enter the safety of a medical setting to continue your withdrawal.
2. Start of withdrawal symptoms
The signs of withdrawal will differ among people depending on their age, gender, state of health, severity, length of addiction, and to what substance they are addicted. Regardless, however, once a person with a substance use disorder (SUD) has discontinued the use of drugs and alcohol, symptoms begin within 8 to 24 hours. You may recognize these early signs if you have had to go between doses or drinks longer than usual. Early symptoms you will likely experience include:
- Panic attacks
- Memory challenges
- Inability to concentrate
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle tension or trembling
- Elevated pulse and heart rate
3. Intensification of symptoms
During this stage, your doctors and other medical staff will closely monitor you and ensure that you have the medications needed to reduce your discomfort and that no co-occurring or underlying medical conditions cause complications. During this time, you may experience:
- Anger and outbursts of temper
- Severe muscle pain
- Overwhelming anxiety
- Mood swings
- Intense drug or alcohol cravings
- Body chills and/or excessive sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
4. Withdrawal symptoms peak and begin to recede
Peak sounds tough, but the peak means that the road gets easier from then on. As your symptoms peak, your body is almost done ridding itself of the toxin that had you in its grip. Your physical cravings will be intense but so will your psychological cravings because you will know that one drink or hit would alleviate all your discomfort. But in medical detox, you are protected from these risks, and your withdrawal symptoms will soon start to abate. If any life-threatening episodes occur in this last phase, your medical team will be there to intervene and keep you safe. Some of the dangers at the peak of withdrawal include:
- Heart attack
- Delirium tremens (for alcohol withdrawal)
You are ready to begin rehab and continue the journey of recovery. Congratulations. This does not mean it’s a smooth ride, but your physical dependence is broken. In some cases, people with SUD experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) a few weeks or months after detox, during which withdrawal symptoms reappear intensely for a brief time. This can threaten your sobriety, but if you are forearmed with awareness of this possibility, you will know to take yourself back to your rehab facility immediately if you have been discharged when it happens.
The Benefits of Detox Programs – PAATC
The signs and symptoms that unfold during the detox stages are manageable with professional medical care and compassionate support. At PAATC, our detox team is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in all the ways to support and protect people undergoing detox. Let us help you with this critical first step in your recovery.
Find out how we can help and what detox at PAATC looks like by calling us today at 844.442.8673 or completing our online form.