Detoxification is a critical first step on the pathway towards healing from substance abuse. Yet, it is a process often misunderstood and sometimes feared, perhaps due to sensationalised portrayals like those in films such as Trainspotting. These dramatised misrepresentations obscure the actual process and overshadow the hope that detox brings – the hope of recovery, renewal and rediscovery of a life free from addiction. By understanding exactly what detox involves and its challenges and benefits, those who need help will feel more confident to reach out and begin the journey to sobriety.
What is detox?
At its core, detoxification, or detox, is the process of ridding the body of toxins – in this context, addictive substances. When you habitually use a substance, your body develops a physical dependence on it. This stems from your body’s adjustment to the presence of the substance, causing changes in the way the brain and body function.
A detox programme helps break this physical dependence by gradually reducing the intake of the substance or replacing it with a medical alternative. This approach not only helps manage withdrawal symptoms but also begins the vital healing process, repairing the damage caused by substance misuse and preparing you for the subsequent stages of recovery.
What addiction detox programmes are available?
Detox programmes are tailored to individual needs and depend largely on the substance of addiction. At Oasis Runcorn, we offer various detox programmes, including:
Alcohol detox is designed for those struggling with alcohol use disorder. Given the potential severity of withdrawal symptoms, this detox often necessitates careful medical monitoring and medication to ensure a safe and comfortable detox process. Click on the button below to learn more.
Our drug detox programmes help to break physical dependence on a range of drugs, including opioids, cocaine and prescription medications. These programmes aim to safely eliminate the drugs from your body while managing withdrawal symptoms under the supervision of our highly experienced healthcare professionals.
We also offer prescription drug detox. This is for people dependent on prescription medications like opioids, benzodiazepines or stimulants. It is designed to remove these medications from your system and help you through the withdrawal process.
Can you detox at home?
Detoxing at home, or “going cold turkey,” involves abruptly stopping substance use. However, this method can be dangerous, ineffective and may even lead to severe physical and psychological complications. Home detox lacks the necessary professional monitoring available at a detox clinic like Oasis Runcorn, resulting in a high risk of severe withdrawal symptoms and relapse.
Overdose is also a major risk as your tolerance will drop during home detox, so if you then relapse and use the same amount of drugs or alcohol as before, your system will not be able to handle it. Depending on the substance and other factors like your health and the extent of your use, an overdose can be potentially lethal without swift medical intervention.
This is why professional detox at an inpatient detox centre like Oasis Runcorn is always recommended to ensure safety and effectiveness.
What are common withdrawal symptoms?
Withdrawal symptoms are largely dependent on the addictive substance. That said, there are several common mental and physical withdrawal symptoms that you may experience during your detox programme.
Physical withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting: These symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating bouts, leading to dehydration if not managed properly.
- Muscle aches and cramps: As your body adjusts to the absence of the substance, physical discomfort, such as muscle aches, may arise.
- Tremors: Depending on the severity of your dependence, you may experience shakes and tremors during detox.
- Sweating: Excessive sweating is a common response as the body works to expel toxins.
- Insomnia: As the body and brain adjust to the lack of the addictive substance, sleep disturbances such as insomnia can occur.
On the psychological front, mental withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Anxiety: A common response to the absence of the addictive substance, resulting in unease, nervousness and worry.
- Depression: You may experience a drop in mood and hopelessness during withdrawal.
- Irritability: As your brain chemistry adjusts, you will likely experience uncharacteristic mood swings and heightened irritability.
- Confusion: Cognitive functions can be temporarily impaired during detox, leading to feelings of confusion or disorientation.
- Hallucinations: In more severe cases, withdrawal can cause perceptual disturbances, including hallucinations or delusions.
How long does the withdrawal process last?
The duration of the withdrawal process varies significantly from person to person and is influenced by factors such as the type of substance, duration of use and overall health. Typically, acute physical withdrawal symptoms begin within a few hours to several days after the last substance use. These symptoms generally peak within the first week and gradually decrease over the next couple of weeks.
However, some people may experience a prolonged withdrawal phase known as Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). PAWS is a collection of persistent withdrawal symptoms that extend beyond the expected detoxification period. These symptoms tend to be more psychological in nature and may include:
- Mood fluctuations
- Sleep disturbances
- Persistent cognitive impairments
PAWS typically affects individuals with a severe, long-standing history of substance abuse and requires ongoing management that includes medication, therapy and support groups to alleviate the symptoms.
Detox at Oasis Runcorn
Detox at a professional detox centre like Oasis Runcorn provides a comprehensive, structured and empathetic approach towards recovery. Here are some of the key benefits of undergoing detox with us:
- Inpatient detox: Oasis Runcorn is a residential detox centre which means you will stay in our centre for the duration of the detox process. This is very important because it means you will have no access to addictive substances and can focus solely on getting better.
- 24/7 care: Round-the-clock care and support from our multidisciplinary team of experienced professionals ensures constant monitoring, safety, comfort and effective management of withdrawal symptoms throughout the detox process.
- Full medical assessment on arrival: A thorough assessment of your physical and psychological health will be conducted when you arrive, along with a detailed review of your substance use history and personal circumstances.
- Detox plan: Based on your initial assessment, a detox plan can be created depending on your recovery needs. This plan will focus on managing withdrawal symptoms, facilitating healing and preparing you for the next stages of recovery.
- Medical detox where necessary: In certain cases, medications may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings and promote a safer and more comfortable detox process.
- A simultaneous rehab programme: Alongside detox, Oasis Runcorn offers a comprehensive rehab programme that addresses the psychological aspects of dependency. This includes various forms of therapy and counselling, along with practical training to equip you with coping strategies, relapse prevention techniques and life skills necessary for long-term recovery.
Myths about detox
Misconceptions often paint a scary picture of detox and prevent people from seeking the help they need. Here are some common myths about detox and the truth behind them.
Myth: Detox is too painful to handle…
Truth: While withdrawal can be uncomfortable, a properly managed detox process in a professional detox centre like Oasis Runcorn can mitigate these discomforts and ensure safety and comfort.
Myth: Detox alone is sufficient for recovery…
Truth: Detox is an important first step to recovery, but it is not enough alone. Addressing the psychological aspects of substance abuse through therapy and counselling is crucial for relapse prevention and long-term recovery.
Myth: You have to hit rock bottom before you need detox…
Truth: The sooner you seek help, the better the chances of recovery. You should never wait for the situation to get worse before starting a detox programme, especially as many substances pose serious health risks and can even be potentially lethal.
Myth: Detox should be done as quickly as possible…
Detox is not a race, and rapid detox is potentially dangerous and generally less effective in the long term. A gradual, medically supervised detox will ensure your safety and better prepare you for ongoing recovery.
Myth: Medical detox substitutes one addiction for another…
Medical detox often uses medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms which has led to a misconception that it simply replaces one drug with another. However, these medications are administered under strict professional supervision and are gradually reduced over time to prevent a new dependency from forming.
How to start a detox programme
Taking the first step on the recovery journey can be challenging but remember; help is just a call or a click away. Reach out to Oasis Runcorn today to learn more about our detox programmes and begin your path to healing. Our fantastic detox team can answer any questions and help devise the right detox plan.
Frequently asked questions