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Detox Demystified: The Crucial First Step in Recovery

For many, the crucial first step in recovery is the detoxification process. This is when you completely discontinue drinking alcohol or taking any drugs that you may be dependent upon. During this time, all the toxins associated with that addictive substance are flushed out of the body so it can begin to heal and recover. The detox process can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what to expect. 

Some people may have heard unpleasant stories regarding the detox process. They may have also seen it portrayed incorrectly in movies or television shows. The false perception of what detox really is and what the body goes through can cause people to be afraid to seek help altogether. In reality, there is nothing to fear from detox as long as it is being done safely, appropriately, and with medical supervision. 

First Step in Recovery: Detox and Withdrawal

So, what exactly happens during the detoxification process? As the body rids itself of the addictive substance, it is trying to find balance and achieve its new “normal.” One of the first things that will likely happen will be that you will begin experiencing symptoms of withdrawal. This is because your body has become used to or dependent upon a certain drug and now that has been taken away. 

The withdrawal process can look vastly different from person to person. Some people may experience severe withdrawal symptoms while others may not notice any real symptoms at all. Whether or not you experience withdrawal symptoms, what those symptoms are, how intense they are, and how long they last is going to depend on several different factors. Some of these factors include: 

At Sage Recovery, we will make sure you understand exactly what to expect from this process so that you can feel as safe and supported as possible.

The First Step in Recovery: What to Expect From Detox

It can be hard to anticipate everything that a person may experience while they go through detox. That is why medically supervised detox is often recommended. This way, a doctor can intervene if a medical emergency occurs. 

There are, however, general detox and withdrawal timelines that are associated with different substances. In addition, certain withdrawal symptoms are commonly associated with those particular substances. It is important to remember, though, that everyone’s experience with detox and withdrawal can look different. Just because someone else experienced things on a certain timeline doesn’t mean your symptoms will be on that same timeline. 

#1. Alcohol Withdrawal

Contrary to popular misconception, most individuals seeking recovery from alcohol do require professional detox. Alcohol withdrawal can occur just hours after the last drink and last longer than a week or more. In general, alcohol withdrawal symptoms tend to be the most severe within 48 hours after the last drink. Some common withdrawal side effects you may experience while going through the alcohol detox process include: 

#2. Opioid Withdrawal

Likewise, those struggling with opioid misuse and abuse will also likely require professional detox. Opioid withdrawal can begin between 8 to 24 hours after the last dose and continue for as long as a week or more. Peak symptoms usually occur in the first few days of detox. The severity of symptoms can also depend on the type of opioid the person is detoxing from. Some of the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal include: 

#3. Methamphetamine Withdrawal

Next, methamphetamine (meth) withdrawal can occur within 24 hours of the last done and may last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. These symptoms will typically become less and less severe as time goes on. Some of these symptoms may include:

#4. Heroin Withdrawal

Lastly, heroin withdrawal can occur between 8 and 24 hours after the last dose. Similarly to the aforementioned substances, withdrawal symptoms can be severe and distressing, lasting several weeks and often longer. They may include:

First Step in Recovery: The Value of Medically Supervised Detox

The reason that a medically supervised detox is often recommended is that it is considered the safest option. In addition, in a professional environment, withdrawal symptoms can be effectively managed. This can help not only prevent an emergency but also keep a patient feeling much more calm and comfortable. 

If you choose to go through the detox process at Sage Recovery, you will do so in a safe and controlled environment with staff that will be there to help you in any way possible. 

Are you interested in seeking treatment for substance use disorder but don’t know what to expect? Maybe you have heard frightening stories about the detox process that have caused you to put off taking the first step. If there is your situation, there is no reason to be afraid. This is not a process that you have to go through alone. At Sage Recovery, we will guide you throughout the detox process every step of the way. Throughout this time, we will make sure you know what is going on and what you can expect to happen next. If you’re ready to start, give us a call at Sage Recovery at (512) 306-1394 today.