Detox is the first step in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. The general belief is that an alcoholic will never be able to function without drinking alcohol if they are asked to give up drinking immediately after detox. This is not true, and most people go through withdrawal symptoms during the first 3-5 days of being sober.
A drug and alcohol rehabilitation program aim to make a person completely free from alcohol and substance use and help them find healthy ways to cope with their problems. Detoxing can take anywhere from 3-10 days, depending on the individual’s needs and how long they have been addicted. A typical and safe way for an addict to detox is through an inpatient program. Inpatient programs work so well because they are fully supervised while at the facility, which helps them overcome addiction without any problems or triggers as soon as possible. The length of a drug and alcohol detox depends on several factors. These include:
1. The Drug or Alcohol of Choice
Most addicts are dependent upon a particular type of drug or alcohol, such as cocaine, heroin, or alcohol. This means that there is an easier time for someone to detox from a particular type of drug than another. Generally, opiates are harder to detox from than alcohol because they are more addictive, and addicts experience dreadful withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
2. The addict’s health status
The addict’s health status determines the length of their detox. A person with a healthy immune system has less chance of developing an infection during their detox than someone with a weak immune system. Someone with a compromised immune system might not be able to detox at all or could die from an infection before the end of the detox process. Therefore, a healthy individual will have a shorter detox program than an immune-compromised individual.
3. The length of time since the last use
The longer it is since the last use, the more likely someone will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using drugs or alcohol. This means that people who stop using for only a few days are at risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms while on the drug and alcohol detox program because they are not yet fully prepared to stop using drugs or alcohol completely. On the other hand, individuals who have been using drugs or alcohol for many years are more likely to be able to resist the urge to use drugs or alcohol during their detox.
4. The amount of time spent using
The longer someone has been using drugs or alcohol, the greater the chance they will experience withdrawal symptoms while on their drug and alcohol detox program. In addition, the longer someone has been using drugs or alcohol, the harder it will be for them to stop using drugs or alcohol entirely during their detox program.
5. The person’s age
Younger people are more susceptible to drug and alcohol addiction than older people. They are likely to suffer from more severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop using drugs or alcohol than older individuals. This is because younger individuals have not yet developed suitable coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult situations and may not be fully prepared for life after drug and alcohol addiction.
6. The severity of addiction
Is someone dependent on a moderate amount of drugs or alcohol? Someone dependent on a moderate amount of medications may need between five and seven days to complete their detoxification process. In comparison, someone dependent on heavy amounts could need up to ten days to complete their entire detox process.
7. Drug tolerance
This can be defined as how much a person needs to feel normal again after their body has been deprived of its regular intake during the period of abstinence between substance use episodes (this varies by person). Tolerance differs significantly among individuals and depends on how frequently they use the substance. Someone with a low tolerance to a specific drug may need more time to recover than someone with a high tolerance.
8. Mental health
Someone suffering from mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety can feel depressed, anxious, or even suicidal while detoxing from substances that influence their moods and emotions. They may also risk relapsing into drug use if they try to go cold turkey on their own before being treated adequately for these problems. Physicians recommend longer detox days for mentally unstable patients. If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us at 833-610-1174.