What Happens During Drug & Alcohol Detox?

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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The human body is an incredible machine, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get bogged down and overloaded with toxicity over time. The average person might carry more than 30 pounds of toxins in their body now, but you don’t have to put up with this sludge any longer.

Detoxing is an important part of many diets and weight loss regimens, whether you’re looking to get rid of fat or toxins in your body or to be healthier overall.

One of the most common questions about detoxing is how long it will take before they feel good and start feeling healthy again. Here’s how long detox takes and how you can speed up the process if it’s taking too long.

What Is Detox?

After a certain period without addictive substances, individuals are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. The body craves another dose. When it doesn’t receive the drug, the brain may go into overdrive and experience an extreme reversal of symptoms compared to the drug’s effects.

Signs and symptoms often appear shortly after a user abstains and may affect their mind or body for extended periods. Detox describes when someone tries to avoid taking a substance (e.g., alcohol) to clear out the chemicals and toxins that come with being addicted to drugs.

Detoxing naturally takes enough time – but medical professionals can use certain drugs or treatments to counteract these signs and reduce this process’ duration if needed. Every person is different and may need a different approach – but some trends in detox timelines are common among everyone who has tried doing so.

Types of Detox

Different drugs affect the mind and body differently, contributing to certain withdrawal symptoms. Understand some common time frames for treatment at addiction recovery centers for these substances:

This drug class includes medications such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. Withdrawal from this kind of medication can depend on an individual; it could take anywhere from 24 hours to a couple of days before they show signs.

In the first few weeks of detoxification, individuals might experience severe withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and headaches. Cocaine and other stimulants are another story – they tend to enter and exit the bloodstream quickly.

So, while highs are intense when they happen, they don’t usually last very long before someone wants more again (leading addicts down what’s known as a binge cycle).

Repeated use of substances can lead to experiencing a serious crash that could last anywhere from several hours to several days. A person who has used substances previously will usually go through an initial detox phase which lasts about three weeks.

During this time, they might experience intense cravings for more, anxiety, depression, extreme hunger, fatigue, paranoia, and unusually slow heart rate (bradycardia). Alcohol withdrawal is a process in which someone experiences significant adverse effects when they stop drinking alcohol after having consumed large quantities continuously over a considerable time; it results mainly from the sudden decrease in blood acetaldehyde concentration due to a lack of ethanol intake.

Commonly experienced symptoms may persist from a few days up to two or three weeks. More severe withdrawal symptoms are likely to be found among those people who consume between one pint every day (25%ABV) – five pints every day (50%ABV).

A person may experience the DTs during the acute withdrawal phase when they stop drinking. This leads to problems with the nervous system, such as tremors, confusion, hallucinations, and seizures that require emergency care.

Physical withdrawal symptoms may lessen after a week or so of detox. Withdrawal from substances such as heroin, oxycodone, Percocet, and methadone can last between a few hours to weeks -and it’s usually at its worst two days after you’ve stopped taking these drugs.

The most common symptoms include dilated pupils combined with intense cravings for drugs such as heroin, OxyContin/Percocet/Methamphetamine while also experiencing flu-like symptoms consisting of nausea and diarrhea.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much specific information about an individual’s detox process and timeframe available online. A professional recovery specialist may be able to offer some insights into someone’s unique circumstances. But every detox experience is different. Many factors typically affect how long the process takes and how bad it feels;

  • Genes
  • Overall physical and mental health
  • Length of addiction
  • Method of ingestion

What Does a Detox Program Involve? 

A detox program is designed to remove toxins from your body using several different methods. The most common methods are water fasting and colon cleansing, but some people also use a juice cleanse or a raw vegan diet. Your body may detoxify without intervention if you participate in yoga, exercise, or meditation.

The first step of detoxification is stopping eating for about 10 days, known as water fasting. During this time, you will only be drinking liquids such as juices and tea containing no caffeine or solid foods. This will give your digestive system time to calm down so it can focus on cleansing itself instead of taking care of digestion.

What Happens After a Detox Program is Over? 

After a detox program, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Don’t go back to old habits right away! A good rule of thumb is to limit consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods for at least 6 months after completing a detox program. Maintaining this diet will help your body recover from any potential damage caused by substance abuse.

What to Expect During Detox

The detox process can be difficult, but it is an important part of addiction recovery. If you’re ready to take back your life and not let addiction control it anymore, then detox is a good place to start.

It’s common for people unfamiliar with addiction to think that detoxification means removing drugs from the body. In reality, this is only one component of detoxification – the other component involves repairing the damage that was done by drug abuse.

During this period, withdrawal symptoms will most likely surface as the body attempts to return to its natural state. This usually includes feeling tired, irritable, and mentally foggy.

Understanding the Detox Process 

When it comes to detoxing, there are many different opinions about how long it should take. One person may say that a minimum of two weeks is necessary for a deep detox. Others will say that one week is sufficient if you eat healthily and exercise regularly.

It is important to remember that everyone’s body is different, and it may take more or less time than others to complete a detoxification program. Whatever your timeframe, make sure you start slowly by limiting your sugar intake and upping your water intake to help your body get rid of all toxins at an appropriate pace.

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