Many movies and TV shows have dealt with drug and alcohol addiction. Often, they show addicts "getting clean" by going cold turkey, the process of abruptly quitting their addictive behavior. The resulting illness is grim, but after a few days or weeks of physical hell, the patient is shown recovering nicely. In reality, detoxing can be physically painful, but more importantly, it can be dangerous. When you decide to quit drugs, you need to seek professional help to detox.
Holing up in a room with a blanket and water while you detox can lead to life-threatening symptoms. You can experience seizures, a rapid heart rate, and serious tremors. In addition, you may have terrifying hallucinations that can terrify you and lead you to take unsafe actions. You might flee these visions and end up hurt or even lost. While addiction is an illness, detoxing also becomes a medical issue. People can die from attempting to quit drugs cold turkey. Also, the pain of detox is so difficult to tolerate, many give up and turn back to drugs or alcohol for relief.
Actual withdrawal can last for extended periods, although the most difficult time comes in the hours and days immediately after you stop taking the drug. Heroin withdrawal symptoms begin sometime in the first twelve hours and can last for a week to several months. Withdrawing from drugs such as Xanax and Valium, known as benzodiazepines, begins between one and four days after you stop ingesting them, and withdrawal can continue for months. In some instances, it may take years to recover if you do not seek professional help. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms begin quickly and can last for weeks. The severity and length of drug withdrawal call for a professionally managed detox in a medical facility.
When you are in a clinic, various drugs may be used to ease your detox symptoms. For heroin addiction, methadone is frequently used as is buprenorphine. Stimulant withdrawal may cause depression, so a variety of antidepressants may be prescribed to help you break this addiction. On occasion, tranquilizers will be given to addicts to aid in detox. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to use drugs to ease drug addiction, when they are managed properly, they are vital tools in the detox process.
When you are ready to give up drugs, you need help to safely manage withdrawal symptoms. Of course, you need to find a facility, such as Evergreen Recovery Centers, that also provides psychological counseling to help in your recovery, but the first step is a medically managed detox program.