A detox works by clearing the body of harmful substances that a person has become addicted to. Anyone who is getting treatment for a substance abuse addiction, whether from inpatient drug and alcoholism treatment centers or via an outpatient setting, will most likely start out by going through a detoxification process, otherwise known as a detox.
During this time, the patient completely abstains from the addictive substance in order to get it out of the body. This is often said to be the most difficult part of rehab. Patients who detox go through emotionally and physically exhausting withdrawal symptoms as the drug leaves the body. These often include irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, nausea, vomiting, chills, and intense craving of the drug. Even patients getting treatment in an outpatient setting should not be alone for the detox process, which typically takes between 7 to 10 days, because some withdrawal symptoms (such as hypertension or seizures) are more serious and may require medical attention.
Because detox can be dangerous with certain drugs and substances, in more serious cases (or when a person is detoxing in a treatment center), the detox process is monitored by doctors and trained addiction specialists. This is helpful because not only do they help manage the withdrawal symptoms, but they also provide an atmosphere of support and encouragement, which is vital during the rehab process. Detox in a facility is also frequently more successful because the temptation is removed and the patient has no access to the addictive substance.
Successful detox involves complete removal of the addictive substance and avoiding the temptation to return to it when cravings are strong. Patients should also detox under a doctor's supervision, and have friends, family, or a sponsor close by in order to help them safely get through the detox process.