What to Expect from Your Drug Detox Process

Anyone committed to getting clean from their drug use may have a long road ahead of them when it comes to detox from drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 percent of people aged 12 or older have used illicit drugs in the past month. If you are ready to leave your substance abuse behind, knowing what to anticipate can make the process feel smoother.

Pathfinders Recovery Center offers the support you need to get clean from drug abuse. Allow us to walk through the detox process with you so that you can live life free from substances.

Why Does Withdrawal Occur?

Why Does Withdrawal Occur

Before we can dive into what to expect from the detox process, it is important to have a solid understanding of why your body will go through withdrawal at all. Most people who enter into addiction treatment have been using drugs or alcohol extensively. They rely on it to get through the day-to-day expectations of their busy lives.

Unfortunately, this means that their brain comes to depend on these substances to function. They develop a physiological need for the substance of their choice. People with substance abuse issues may require more and more of the drug in order to function the way that they perceive as normal.

Addiction treatment requires you to stop drug or alcohol use completely. Your body must relearn how to function without substance abuse. This takes place on both a physical level, as the body must relearn what sobriety feels like. However, it also impacts your mental health given that many people rely on substances to control their emotions.

When your brain chemistry relies on substances, you might find yourself facing some of these serious and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Where to Turn for Drug Detox Services

Many people are unsure where they can go for medical detox, which means that most end up in a hospital setting. You may end up in the emergency room for severe symptoms or you could find yourself transferred to a psychiatric unit. This can be beneficial if you have other mental health disorders outside of your substance abuse.

While this does put you under the care of doctors and professionals, it may not be as robust as a specialized treatment facility.

Choosing a medical detox center that focuses solely on alcohol or drug withdrawal can give you an extra layer of support. You will be among peers who are going through the same difficult time that you are. The doctors on staff will be familiar with what prescription drugs they can offer to minimize your symptoms.

Not to mention, a facility like Pathfinders Recovery Center has trained counselors that can intervene when you are struggling to cope without substances. They have specialized skills related to both substance abuse and mental health, giving you everything you need to succeed. Instead of heading to the hospital, consider going through your drug withdrawal with us.

What to Expect from Withdrawal Symptoms

Perhaps the most fear-inducing portion of the drug detox is the anticipated withdrawal symptoms. Indeed, this is certainly a struggle for most people and should be done under the watchful eye of a trained staff. Severe withdrawal symptoms for those who have been using long-term can occur.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way around withdrawal symptoms. You have to go through them if you want to live a sober lifestyle. Some people are lucky enough to have relatively minor symptoms on their road to sobriety. Others may need a medically-assisted detox like that offered at Pathfinders Recovery Center.

Symptoms can range from physical withdrawal symptoms to mental and emotional ones.

Physical Symptoms of Withdrawal to Anticipate

Physical Symptoms of Withdrawal to Anticipate

If you are concerned about how you will physically feel, here are a few symptoms that you might expect to have:

  • Tremors
  • Muscle pain or lots of aches and pains
  • Fatigue or insomnia
  • Uncontrolled sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Extreme hunger or loss of appetite altogether

In some instances of addiction treatment, we also see people who have seizures as they go through a drug detox. This is why it can be extremely beneficial to be under the care of a licensed physician instead of trying to go it alone at home.

You never know how your body and brain will respond to the sudden decrease in substances. Pathfinders Recovery Center can smooth the transition by treating some of your physical symptoms of withdrawal in a medically-assisted detox.

We can provide another level of support and a comfortable environment in which to surrender your drug abuse.

Emotional Symptoms of Withdrawal Are Equally Powerful

While most people anticipate the physical aspects of withdrawal, they may underestimate just how powerful emotional withdrawal symptoms will be. If you have had your drug addiction for some time, your body and brain have become accustomed to substances in order to cope with the daily stressors of life.

Lifting this substance use disorder leaves your brain craving more and impacts your emotional well-being. Some of the psychological withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Extreme irritability or agitation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Pathfinders Recovery Center can help you to have the emotional support necessary to get through these early days of your drug or alcohol detox. We have counselors and trained staff that can support you to whatever degree you need or want. There is no need to experience withdrawal symptoms without the emotional support you truly need.

Consider enrolling in a medical detox center to get every possible support in place for your addiction treatment.

Medically Supervised Detox to Stabilize and Treat Symptoms

Our substance abuse treatment program offers our clients a way to safely undergo the detox process before segueing into our inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization programs. A medical detox can be an extremely helpful program to give you the support you need to focus on your recovery.

Under the supervision of a doctor, you can rest assured that you will have medical intervention if needed.

Medical Supervision and Medication Use in Detox Process

Medical Supervision and Medication

In the early days of your drug detox process, we will focus on keeping you sober. It is all about getting through the first days while the drugs are leaving your system. Sometimes, several days can pass before you start to feel the effects of withdrawal.

Depending on your substance of choice, you may be given a tapering dose of medication to help ease symptoms. We may sometimes also offer medications that can make you more comfortable.

However, not everyone needs medication to come down from substance abuse. This is determined on a case-by-case basis based on the length of time that you were using, what substances you were using, and the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.

Our doctors will use their discretion to determine whether medication would help ease your discomfort or if it would prevent you from diving into the emotional or psychological reasons for your substance use. Instead, they may refer you to counseling.

Treating Psychological Symptoms with Counseling

A medical detox also allows you to focus on your psychological needs. To this end, we can provide you with access to a therapist or trained counselor to manage some of the feelings that might come up for you during a drug detox.

Inevitably, this is a difficult process and it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed or emotional in your vulnerable state. Allow a skilled clinician to help you through some of the emotional drug withdrawal symptoms.

If you have been using substances in order to cope with your extreme feelings, this can be very helpful to process what you are currently going through. It is a more natural way to get to the bottom of your substance use issues. While it may not be comfortable to process emotions without the aid of substances, it is a beneficial first step to learn how to live without them.

How Long Can You Expect Drug Detox to Take?

Unfortunately, there are no quick and easy answers surrounding how long your drug detox will take. It depends on a variety of factors including what substance you use, how often you use it, how long your body has been exposed to it, and more. Some people are naturally more inclined to have serious withdrawal symptoms that can take a while to ebb.

The good news is that this process may be over in a matter of days for some people. While it will still be uncomfortable and challenging, the end could be in sight just on the horizon.

On the other hand, some people may experience a much longer period of withdrawal symptoms. Severe symptoms may take longer to fade and may require the constant monitoring and supervision of nurses and other medical professionals.

Because it can be hard to predict how your detox will go, it is best to trust yourself into the care of a medical professional. Once your withdrawal symptoms have passed or are at a comfortable level that you can tolerate, we can transition you to more robust addiction treatment programs whether that means residential, outpatient, or partial hospitalization.

Prepare for Long-Term Recovery and Treatment for Drug Detox

Prepare for Long-Term Recovery and Treatment for Drug Detox

The drug detox that you go through is only the first step on the path to long-term sobriety. At the Pathways Recovery substance abuse treatment center, we offer a variety of paths you can take to maintain your sobriety. Most often, we recommend that you complete a residential rehab program following a medical detox.

A residential rehab allows you to take up residence in our facility where you will be safe from the temptation to use your substance of choice. You can focus completely on the first new days of your sobriety, leaning into the parts that feel uncomfortable or hard.

Rest assured that it will be impossible for you to turn to substances while residing here. It takes the risk of jeopardizing your sobriety out of the picture.

Instead, you can utilize various levels of support: individual counseling, group therapy sessions, and psychiatric care for any underlying mental health concerns.

Some people stay in an inpatient rehab program for up to 90 days as they learn to live sober. At Pathfinders, we have some programs that last for a full year to help you as much as you need. We can tailor the drug detox program to your needs and the progress that you make within your treatment improvement protocol.

Moving to Outpatient Treatment Once Withdrawal Symptoms Improve

From here, you may transition to outpatient detox programs or partial hospitalization. Under this type of service, you can return home when not at appointments or to sleep in your own bed at night.

Partial hospitalization is often the best step-down service from a residential program as it provides a lot more structure to your days. You will be here from the early morning until late afternoon, attending group sessions and meeting with medical staff to supervise your sobriety. At night, you can practice your skills with your family and continue to implement new coping skills for your drug addiction.

If this type of structure does not work for you, outpatient could be a good fit. This allows you to come and go at will, as long as you are attending all of your appointments. We can continue to monitor your medication, therapy, and other important pieces of your drug detox and the following recovery.

Both of these treatment models give you a bit more freedom to practice your coping skills in the real world. However, the gold standard for care is a residential treatment center that takes away the risk of drug abuse in the here and now, allowing you to focus more completely on your drug detox.

Where to Go for Drug Detoxification: Pathfinders Recovery Center

Going through a drug detox is a hard and sometimes lonely road. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Enlist the help of a drug detox center that is accustomed to handling both the physical and emotional needs of its clients. Pathfinders Recovery Center can offer this type of program and level of support to you with a team of nurses, counselors, and doctors at the ready.

When you are ready to start taking your drug addiction seriously and seek treatment, give Pathfinders Recovery Center a call. We are here to help you through the hard first days of sobriety and can offer long-term support at the level you need and want. Our experienced staff will be with you every step of the way!


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  • (877) 224-0761
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  • 2953 S Peoria St. Suite 230 Aurora, CO 80014
  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7

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