What exactly is detoxification?
Detoxification, or detox as they call it in the drug treatment industry, means cleaning out unwanted toxins. Drugs are toxins that are detrimental to your health.
By removing these impurities, you will feel better and begin recovering from your addiction. Detoxing is the best way to prepare your body to heal itself. When you are ready to give up substance abuse, you will have to make plans for your detox.
What is the safest way to detox?
When detoxing from drugs, you have several options. You can do a detox at home, or you can check into an inpatient detox facility.
You may think that detoxing at home means that you are alone and on your own. Yet, it does not have to be that way.
It is possible to detox from drugs from home and still have support from clinical and medical professionals.
How can a doctor supervise a detox from home?
When you are ready to detox your body from drugs, you can make an appointment with a doctor to plan for your detoxification. Your doctor will give you a set of instructions, recommendations, and medications for detoxing, depending on the drugs you are discontinuing.
Should I drink more water when I am detoxing?
While drinking water is always essential for your health, you should drink more water during drug detox. You should typically drink about 64 ounces of water daily. While detoxing, you should drink 80-100 ounces.
Drinking water is one way to flush toxins from your system naturally. Staying well hydrated will help to prevent headaches, muscle pain, and fatigue.
What is the most common drug that requires detox?
At this time, we are experiencing an unprecedented opioid epidemic. Most patients presenting for detoxification are trying to quit opioids.
Opiates and opioids include drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, Dilaudid, and morphine. If you are taking one of these drugs and you stop, you will likely experience opioid withdrawal.
Is it possible to detox from opioids from home?
In the case of opioid detox, the best form of treatment involves detoxing at home. Medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence is highly effective. Doctors are now able to administer MAT to patients in their own homes.
Why is home detox from opioids better than inpatient detox?
While some detox facilities are now using MAT by giving patients buprenorphine for opioid dependence, they use short-term protocols, which can be detrimental. Addiction treatment experts now recommend that buprenorphine treatment lasts from one to two years or more. A two-week inpatient detox with buprenorphine will more likely lead to relapse.
What about alcohol detox? Can I detox from alcohol at home?
Alcohol detox can be a different story compared to opioid detox. While opiate withdrawal is rarely dangerous, alcohol detox can be dangerous and even life-threatening. When a drug and alcohol are combined, the risk of overdose is greatly increased.
While it depends on the level of addiction to alcohol, if you are a massive, daily drinker, you may do best to check into a medical detox facility.
Why is alcohol detox so dangerous?
There is a risk of seizures with alcohol withdrawal. If you are detoxing from alcohol, there is a risk of the DTs, or delirium tremens, which can be deadly. Additionally, without proper nutritional support, you risk Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), which can result in permanent neurological damage.
Should anyone who wants to quit alcohol check-in to a detox and rehab?
Not everyone who quits drinking will need inpatient treatment. If you are a gray area drinker and drink heavily on occasion, you may be able to detox at home.
Of course, if you start to feel sick from the withdrawal effects of alcohol, you should go to the hospital emergency department for emergency treatment.
In the case of many prescription drugs with physical withdrawal symptoms, the best way to detox is to taper. Tapering means to reduce the use of the medication gradually, so the body can have time to adjust.
Is it possible to taper with alcohol?
I have heard of people trying to quit drinking on their own with tapering plans. They may decide on a certain number of beers or glasses of wine to have for the day. I have even heard one person tell me that his tapering plan involved two beers per hour!
While attempting to use willpower and self-control to get ahold of alcohol addiction may sound crazy, controlled tapering from alcohol is possible. With medical supervision, a patient may take naltrexone tablets to help control drinking.
In addition to helping the patient control their daily alcohol intake, they gradually lose the desire to drink. Using naltrexone in this way to overcome alcohol addiction is known as “pharmacological extinction.”
Naltrexone is an opioid receptor blocker and works to help prevent opioid cravings as well as alcohol cravings. If a person can drink themselves sober with the help of naltrexone, why can’t an opioid addict do the same?
Can a person who uses heroin continue taking heroin under medical supervision to taper and quit heroin use?
In the United States, using an opioid to help someone overcome opioid addiction is strictly illegal. The only exceptions are methadone and buprenorphine, and these two opioid medications are under strict government control.
However, in other countries, Switzerland and Canada, for example, medical heroin is being used with some success to help heroin addicts to overcome their addiction. There is evidence that in the right environment, controlled heroin use can help in heroin detox.
Are there other promising developments on the horizons?
Lately, there has been a lot of talk among experts about the possible usefulness of psychedelics in detoxing people off of drugs. In the 1960s, there was rampant, out-of-control use of these drugs, after showing promise in psychiatric treatment. As a result, the US government outlawed all psychedelics.
In Mexico, clinics use the psychedelic drug, ibogaine, to detox patients off of opioids and opioid treatment drugs, methadone, and Suboxone. Is this safe? There are serious safety concerns when it comes to ibogaine. However, research into this drug has begun in the US.
Another similar drug, psilocybin, is being looked at as a potential detox tool to help people overcome drug addiction. We are currently in the midst of the worst opioid crisis in history. It is time to start seriously researching these alternatives.
Additionally, cannabis may help to ease the detox from opioids and other drugs. While marijuana is considered by the federal government to be a drug of abuse, experts claim it is not addictive.
It is important to note that, just because researchers are studying these drugs, you should not consider them safe in any way for home experimentation. Self-medical treatment of any kind can be dangerous, especially when it involves unregulated, illegal drug use.
All drugs, legal or otherwise, have potential adverse effects. Even over-the-counter medications, supplements, and herbal remedies can have dangerous side effects and interactions.
If a treatment has no possible adverse reactions, it is more likely to be a placebo, meaning that it has no effects at all, good or bad. When you start your detox, if it is going to involve medical treatment of any kind, it is of the utmost importance that you are under the care of a doctor.
What else can I do to make detox the detox of drugs from my body more tolerable?
While medical care is essential, there are things outside of the realm of medical treatment that can be helpful.
As mentioned earlier, you should always remember to drink water to stay well hydrated. Additionally, getting adequate sleep is essential.
The problem is that, while detoxing, you may find that it is not comfortable to sleep and stay asleep. What can you do to get better sleep?
There is a concept known as “sleep hygiene,” in which you pay close attention to your sleeping area to ensure that you have minimal distractions. For example, you should not play with your phone or watch television in bed.
Additionally, you will find that relaxation techniques and meditation help to clear your mind and put you at ease, and they can also help you get better sleep. One technique that I like to recommend is listening to binaural beats and isotonic beats audio programs.
How can sound make my detox easier?
Binaural beats involve using headphones to play slightly differing tones in each ear. The difference in frequency between these tones is the “beat frequency.” Your brain interprets this beat and communicates it across the two hemispheres.
The effect is known as “entrainment” and causes brain waves to synchronize with the beat frequency. You can use this effect to help meditate, relax, and even get to sleep.
A similar sound technique is known as isochronic beats. The difference is that the sound involves pulsing at the desired brain wave frequency, rather than requiring the brain to interpret the beat frequency from sounds played through headphones.
As a result, you can play isochronic tones over a speaker, without headphones. Not having to wear headphones or earbuds can make it easier to fall asleep.
Isochronic sound programs also work for people who may have hearing loss in one ear. Both techniques of using hypnotic, pulsing sounds can be useful to promote relaxation and sleep.
Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air therapy.
Experts often recommend exercise and activity to help people get through a successful detox program with minimal discomfort. While exercise does help, getting some fresh, outside air can make it much more effective.
Of course, if you are detoxing your body from drugs and live in an inner-city neighborhood where the drug dealers are at every street corner, taking a walk outside may not be the best plan. However, if you are in a suburban, safe area where you can walk, you will find that the fresh air is highly therapeutic.
Listening to the birds’ sounds, feeling the breeze on your skin, and getting the moderate exercise of a brisk walk can help make your detox easier to tolerate. If you are sitting inside, thinking that taking a stroll outside will not help, I recommend getting up and trying it. You may find that it is far more helpful than you could have imagined.
Are there drug detoxes that have no medical treatment?
When it comes to opioid and alcohol detox, there are specific medication-assisted treatment protocols. There are no official MAT programs for many other drugs, though medical treatment can still be helpful.
For example, benzodiazepines have a particularly dangerous withdrawal. If you quit benzos cold turkey, you could have seizures. While the recommended way to stop is to taper off gradually, some doctors prescribe anti-seizure medications to protect the patient from dangerous withdrawal reactions.
There is no official medical detox protocol for stimulant drugs, such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cocaine. However, doctors have sometimes prescribed mood-stabilizer medications to make the psychological effects of stimulant withdrawal more tolerable. Additionally, naltrexone has shown some promise in helping to relieve drug cravings, even with stimulant drugs.
When it comes to detoxing from stimulants, experts agree that the withdrawal is purely psychological. However, when we say psychological, the effects are likely related to brain chemistry, such as the depletion of vital neurotransmitters. Nutritional support can make a big difference in the speed and comfort level of recovery.
Should I go to rehab to detox my body from speed?
If you use amphetamines, meth, or coke, you may want to consider inpatient rehab. If a loved one uses one of these drugs, you may wish to recommend inpatient rehab. Residential treatment programs can be especially helpful to give a person time to overcome the intense cravings that can occur early on after quitting highly addictive substances.
When it comes to these addictive substances, sometimes your loved one will resist your recommendations. It is possible to take action to force a person to go to rehab. If you believe that their life is in danger, this may be a good option.
Home detox vs. inpatient detox
When it comes to choosing the best option for detoxing, there is no one-size-fits-all option. The best recommendation is to start by making an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can make the appropriate medical decisions and provide medical advice to help you get help in detoxing most safely and comfortably. The choice of home detox vs. inpatient depends on the specific details of your situation.
In addition to choosing a medical route for detox treatment, it is also vitally important to have emotional support from friends and family members. So whether you decide to detox at home or in a treatment center, having long-term support from family, friends, and other members of your support network will make all the difference in helping you to achieve lasting success.