Did you know that drugs, when consumed for a length of time at increasing doses, alter the physical make-up of the brain? Certain drugs literally enlarge or shrink certain areas of the brain like the frontal cortex for example. The frontal cortex is responsible for the brain’s ability to practice self-control and organizational techniques like planning and goal setting, but it fails to work properly when under the influence of drugs.
This alteration of the brain is one of the reasons drug addiction is labeled a disease, and why those suffering from addiction need to consider a detox program as one of the first steps in their recovery journey. Resetting the brain can be a difficult, exhausting process in and of itself, but careful monitoring through a detox process can help.
What is detox?
Most people are familiar with the phrase “detox” in regards to a diet trend, but detoxing from drugs and/or alcohol unfortunately requires more than just juicing for a week. The process can take a much more severe toll on the body, which is why many need a considerable amount of time to commit to the realities of a detox program.
Nevertheless, detoxing is a crucial first step in the recovery journey. Detoxing from drugs and alcohol is the flushing of the body’s system, ridding all traces of the substance from the body in order to create a clean playing field on which to begin recovery. In other words, it puts the body in a stable physical state which then allows an individual to begin the next steps of mental and emotional recovery.
Who needs to consider a detox program?
Each story of substance use addiction is different depending on many factors, such as:
- Whether it was alcohol or drugs abused
- Whether or not the individual was addicted to more than one substance
- How long the substance was abused
- What the particular drug was
- The personal medical and mental health conditions of the individual
However, a detox program should be considered by anyone who has frequented the use of addictive substances and/or has struggled with a substance use disorder or drug or alcohol addiction.
How long does a detox program last?
Again, the length of detox depends on which substance(s) the body is detoxing from, and how long those substances were in the body. For example, alcohol can take 12–24 hours to detox, while marijuana can take anywhere from 1–7 days.
While the initial detoxing might take a shorter amount of time, the withdrawal symptoms which follow can remain with a person for longer periods of time, in some extreme cases up to one year. However, this is where a detox program comes into consideration – detoxing can predispose a person to severe illnesses that can be deadly if left unmonitored.
Detox programs take into consideration this risk, and allow for the use of medication during detox. These medications help to mitigate the effects of withdrawal symptoms, and in a sense, wean a person off the addictive substance using a non-addictive medication. This is why many doctors recommend a detox program versus an at-home detox attempt. Not only can medication be prescribed and the person’s vitals be monitored in the secure environment of a hospital, but personalized recommendations can be made to make the detox process go as smoothly and painlessly as possible.
Should I consider a detox program?
If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use addiction, take the time to consider a detox program. Even though the realities of drug and alcohol detox can be grim, it’s important to understand the benefit of detoxing as a springboard into the rest of recovery.
Detoxing does not need to be a frightening thing but if you have reservations about detoxing or are curious about what it would mean for you, just ask. The counselors at Pyramid Walden are not only experienced, but well-versed in the realities of drug and alcohol detoxing. They will take the time to talk with you, learn your story and hear your concerns, and then give you, to the best of their abilities, a good idea of what detoxing might look like for you. The more you understand the process, the less intimidating and overwhelming it will be, and the sooner you’ll be able to experience life free of substances.
If you want to learn more or hear about our detox programs, call Pyramid Walden today at (301) 997-1300.