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Drug and Alcohol Detox

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Drug and Alcohol Detox

Physical withdrawal symptoms can vary widely depending on a number of factors including:

  • substance abused
  • length of use
  • level of dependency experienced by the user
  • method used (smoking, injecting, etc.)
  • amount used
  • genetics of the user
  • both physical and mental health factors.

Users detoxing from Benzodiazepines and opiates can often experience anxiety, feelings of panic, tremors, difficulty concentrating, headache, insomnia, sweating, nausea, dizziness, flu-like aches and pains, heart palpitations, and hypertension. With benzodiazepine withdrawal, there is a risk of seizures. Medical supervision is highly recommended when detoxing from prolonged benzodiazepine use.

Detoxing from stimulants, such as cocaine, usually, includes a “crash” period. They will often sleep for days, experience anxiety, depression and an increase in appetite. This is followed by a period of weeks during which symptoms of detox include fatigue, insomnia, short-term memory, tension and depression. Continued cravings and depression should be addressed during the recovery process.

Alcohol detox remains one of the most medically dangerous processes. The most extreme symptoms of alcohol withdrawal usually occur within the first few days, with the worst of the physical symptoms being finished within the first week. The most concerning symptom occurs in a small percentage of patience and is referred to as delirium tremors (or DTs), which is a state that can often include seizures, hallucinations, delirium, fever and severe agitation. DTs can be fatal and immediate medical treatment should be sought if such a state is suspected. More common symptoms of alcohol detox include headache, insomnia, vomiting, nausea, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, flu-like symptoms including aches and “clammy” feeling, lack of appetite, shakiness, dizziness, increased heart rate and sweating, pale skin, nightmares, tremors, irritability, depression and dehydration.

It’s important to remember that detox, though an unpleasant experience, is a temporary state and that withdrawal symptoms are not permanent. With the proper support, anyone can move through the detox process and into recovery.

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