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Drug Detox

Written on: September 30th, 2008 By:

Detox is probably the most dreaded part of alcohol and drug rehab. Detox is the physical withdrawal of the substance from the human body and for certain substances, can be very dangerous and requires medical monitoring.

Depending on the substance of abuse, detox symptoms can range from excessive sleep for numerous days to seizures, blackouts, and severe fever. Often for stimulant drugs such as cocaine, crack, methamphetamines and certain ADHD prescriptions, detox is generally not dangerous and consists mainly of extreme agitation, excessive sleep, moodiness, and fatigue. These symptoms can last up to a week and do not typically cause any permanent damage to the brain or body.

For drugs falling the opiate classification, detox can be much more jarring, including symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches, vomiting, runny nose, high fever, and muscle spasms of the arms and legs. Opiate detox often requires medical monitoring because of the severe symptoms and extreme discomfort of the individual experiencing them. While opiate detox does not generally cause death or any permanent damage to the brain or body, it is a painful process that usually peaks around 72 hours after the last opiate dosage and can last for up to 10 days before subsiding.

For drugs in the benzodiazepine group such as Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium, detox can be quite dangerous and does require medical monitoring. The symptoms of benzodiazepine detox mimic the very symptoms they are indicated to treat – seizures and severe anxiety. Accompanying these detox symptoms are also high blood pressure and increased heart rate, symptoms also commonly treated with benzodiazepines. A person who has suddenly ceased use of a benzodiazepine can experience mild to very severe symptoms and because of the dangerous risk of cardiac arrest and other complications from seizures and increase heart rate and blood pressure, medical staff and equipment are highly recommended for the detox.

Detox from alcohol can also a very dangerous process as the detox symptoms range from mild to severe delirium tremors (DTs), seizures, cold sweats, high blood pressure, nausea, and vomiting. Detox from alcohol can be dangerous and a physician should be consulted before attempting to undergo alcohol detox alone.

In general alcohol detox is a very unpleasant experience for any addict, but required to receive drug and alcohol rehab. In many cases of addiction, it is the detox symptoms (withdrawal) that motivates addicts to continue use. They simply cannot handle the discomfort and pain of detox symptoms on their own. always consult a physician before attempting to detox yourself from any substance.


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