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How Long Does it Take to Detox?

What Is Detox?

When someone misuses alcohol or drugs for a prolonged period, their body develops a physical and psychological dependence. As a result, they need to continue drinking or using drugs just to function. Eventually, once they reach the point where they want help, one common question is, “How long does it take to detox?”

Once alcohol or substance use is discontinued, the body enters a state of withdrawal. If the person abstains from drinking or using drugs, their body will undergo alcohol detox as it flushes out all traces of alcohol. The same goes for drug detox: all traces of the substance being abused must leave the body.

However, withdrawal and detox can bring a host of unpleasant symptoms. Alcohol and substance misuse create a host of changes in the brain and body. During detox, the body slowly begins to return to “normal” functioning without alcohol or drugs. 

As such, undergoing detox by quitting “cold turkey” or attempting to do it on your own is never recommended. If you want to detox successfully, you need to undergo a medically supervised detox program. 

What Does a Detox Program Involve?

A medically supervised detox program involves several different processes. First, an intake assessment is performed to learn more about the addictive substances you misused and how long you have been using them. 

Next, a detox treatment plan is created based on the information obtained during the intake assessment. For example, your treatment plan could include using medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

MAT is beneficial to help with withdrawal. For example, if you were misusing opioids, MAT is frequently used to wean the person safely off opioids and avoid severe and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. 

Now, you will begin the stabilization process, which includes medical assistance during withdrawal to help keep you medically stable. Medically supervised stabilization also provides added support to keep you substance-free. 

A reevaluation can be performed during the stabilization process to ensure you are ready to move on to the next phase of treatment. If you are still experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you will continue stabilizing until you are medically cleared to proceed to the next stage. 

The last phase consists of getting you ready for addiction treatment. Detox only helps remove alcohol or drugs from the body. It does not address the underlying conditions that led to your addiction in the first place. Therefore, it is essential to prepare you for entering rehab treatment if you want to avoid relapsing. 

The duration of detox depends on several factors, including:

  • The type of substance being misused.
  • Whether multiple substances were being misused.
  • The length of time the substances were misused.
  • The frequency and amount of the substance being misused. 
  • The severity of your withdrawal symptoms. 

Keeping these factors in mind, it generally takes a few weeks to complete detox. However, some people may need three to four weeks to feel like they’re truly finished with this process.

What Happens After Detox?

During detox treatment, most acute withdrawal symptoms peak between three and seven days. This is when the symptoms are the most intense. After this period, they gradually start to decline in intensity and frequency. 

However, a second withdrawal phase can occur in some people called PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). PAWS is directly related to the psychological aspects of addiction. These symptoms may not appear until a few weeks. They may even stay hidden for several months.

Once they do appear, people can experience them for several months or longer. Therefore, it is highly recommended to begin an addiction treatment program after completion of detox. Completing an addiction treatment program helps you explore your addiction, what led to it, and how to develop effective and healthy coping skills. These coping skills can be highly effective should you experience PAWS. 

What Happens After Addiction Treatment?

You will go through aftercare planning as you near the end of your addiction treatment program. Aftercare is vital to helping you maintain your newfound sobriety and avoid relapse. Your aftercare plan could include continued individual counseling, group meetings, and attending peer support sober events to help you transition back into your everyday routines. 

Some people, who are not yet ready to return home, or lack a solid support system outside rehab, can transition to a sober living home. Sober living homes provide several benefits when you are worried you may relapse and want a safe, sober environment to further work on maintaining a sober lifestyle. 

Why It Is Dangerous to Detox at Home

When you attempt to detox at home, you will enter withdrawal without any medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms can be very severe and sometimes fatal without proper medical supervision and care. Furthermore, at-home detox is rarely successful because you will likely give in to your alcohol or drug cravings to stop the withdrawal symptoms. 

Detox and Addiction Treatment in Columbus, OH

At Ohio Addiction Recovery Center in Columbus, OH, we believe it is never too late for you to change your life and begin your recovery journey. However, you will not last long when you attempt to detox on your own. 

We understand addiction is a severe health condition that requires medical supervision. We provide a comfortable, safe, and caring environment to undergo detox successfully while helping reduce and minimize your withdrawal symptoms. To speak with an intake specialist or for further information about our addiction treatment programs, feel free to contact us.

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