Drug and Alcohol Detox Treatment Programs

One of the major factors that impact addiction recovery is the severity of the patient’s biological and psychological dependency on the substance or substances they’ve been abusing. A biological or chemical dependency can be just as strenuous to combat as a psychological dependency, depending on the substances being abused and the duration of misuse, which can impact the types of treatment recommended and the duration of a patient’s treatment plan.

A substance dependence is the result of the body getting to used to the presence of a substance, such as alcohol or tobacco, that the user has to change their habits in order to continue getting the effects of the substance. These changes usually lead to disruptions to their daily life and relationships in some way as the problems caused by their substance abuse become more significant. Some signs of a drug or alcohol dependency include:

  • An increased tolerance for the substance, leading to increased amounts of the substance being used in order to receive the same “high”
  • The presence of withdrawal symptoms when you decrease your intake or attempt to stop using the drug that makes it difficult to combat the problem own
  • Significant amounts of your time are spent trying to get more drugs or alcohol, using them, and recovering from the effects
  • Cutting back on or avoiding social and recreational activities or hobbies
  • Continuing to abuse the substance despite awareness of the physical and mental health ramifications, strain the problem is putting on your social life and loved one, and other potential problems (such as financial strain)

 

What is Medically Assisted Detoxification?

Medically assisted detox is a common first step when attempting to overcome a physical addiction to drugs or alcohol. There are inpatient and outpatient detox programs, but a medically assisted program requires inpatient treatment so medical professionals can monitor the patient’s withdrawal symptoms and progress.

Since medications are administered to lessen and control withdrawal symptoms during medically assisted detox treatment, recovering addicts generally deal with less discomfort during their detox process. The medical professional or detox team overseeing treatment may alternate or switch out the medications used as needed to help the patient’s withdrawal symptoms.

After detox, the patient’s physical dependency is removed, meaning they can focus on therapy programs and behavioral changes to curb any remaining urges to use. The physical need for the substance, however, should be removed entirely after this process.

 

Withdrawal Syndrome

Withdrawal syndrome is a blanket term for the side effects a person suffers from when they try to stop using a substance their body has become dependent upon. The longer a person is using said substance and the larger their doses, the more likely they are to suffer from varying degrees of a withdrawal syndrome.

Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to lethal depending on the substance being abused, how that substance is abused, and the level of dependency or intensity of their addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can manifest physically and psychologically, which is why it’s highly discouraged for people to stop their substance abuse suddenly (or “cold turkey”) since their reaction could be highly adverse and dangerous in some way.

Depending on the substance and severity of the substance dependence, withdrawal symptoms can start manifesting in as little as a few hours after an individual’s last high, but usually it takes a day or two to fully set it.

Patients should also expect to have cravings during their detox phase as a byproduct of withdrawal syndrome. In the case of a severe addiction, medically assisted detox treatment is often the best option available to successfully detox from any substance.

 

Alcohol Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome typically involves symptoms pertaining to the central nervous system. Depending on the severity of the addiction, withdrawal symptoms can range from rather mild to extremely life-threatening, making alcohol one of the more dangerous substance to detox from without the aid of medical professionals.

In most cases, withdrawal symptoms begin 6 to 24 hours after the last alcoholic drink consumed and usually lasts for about a week. In extreme cases, symptoms can begin appearing as little as 2 hours after the individual has had an alcoholic beverage. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations (Auditory, Visual, or Tactile)
  • Tremors (“the shakes”)
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness, Nausea, and/or Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Mood Swings
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression/Agitation
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • High blood pressure
  • Cravings (usually for Alcohol)
  • Anhedonia
  • Delirium tremens (usually occurs 24-72 hours after intake cessation)

Of these symptoms, insomnia, seizures, delirium tremens, and mood swings are some of the most dangerous reactions and are more likely to promote relapse. Delirium tremens is especially dangerous and usually requires immediate medical attention if it manifests in a recovering addict.

 

Heroin, Opiate, and Opioid Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Despite being a significantly difficult class of drugs to stop using, opiates and opioid detox typically takes 5-10 days. Withdrawal symptoms for these drugs can be tough, however, although medically assisted detox programs can help control the more extreme withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms can take as little as a few hours to show up, especially with drugs that get into and out of the bloodstream as quickly as opioids and opiates.

 

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Short term heroin withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Cold and Flu-like symptoms
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive secretion of tears
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Uncontrollable yawning
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle aches and spasms
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate

In some cases, patients will experience long-term withdrawal side effects as well, which can impact recovery severely if not treated properly. These side effects include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Paranoia
  • Hyperactivity
  • Drug cravings
  • Relapse

 

Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Opioid withdrawal symptoms that usually begin in the first 24 hours after cessation include:

  • Restlessness
  • Aches and pains
  • Anxiety
  • Lacrimation (eyes tearing up)
  • Runny nose/cold-like symptoms
  • Excessive yawning
  • Inability to sleep
  • Excessive sweating

 

Additional symptoms, which can be more intense and typically start after your first day, usually include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps and discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps/Chills
  • Dilated pupils and blurry vision
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure

 

Cocaine and Crack Cocaine Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Compared to other drugs, cocaine withdrawal tends to be milder and mostly psychological in nature. This doesn’t mean that cocaine detox isn’t a struggle, but it’s often less extreme than other detox processes. Since cocaine enters and leaves the bloodstream very quickly compared to other substances, symptoms can manifest in as little as 90 minutes and typically last for 7-10 days.

 

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Inability to experience sexual arousal
  • Reduced cognitive function (difficulty concentrating, thinking, etc)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Cold and Flu-like symptoms
  • Increased appetite
  • Chills/tremors
  • Muscle aches
  • Nerve pain
  • Restlessness
  • Vivid dreams or nightmares

Crack cocaine is more concentrated than regular cocaine, and the withdrawal symptoms are often more intense as a result. For most people, crack cocaine detox involves two stages:

Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Disturbing dreams or nightmares
  • Reduced cognitive function (difficulty concentrating, thinking, etc)
  • Exhaustion
  • Mood changes
  • Irritability

Post-acute Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
  • Insomnia
  • Increased agitation
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Cravings
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Lack of motivation

Unfortunately for recovering crack addicts, the physical symptoms of crack cocaine withdrawal can last for months after discontinued use depending on the severity of their addiction and intensity of their usage habits prior to rehab treatment.

 

Methamphetamine Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Methamphetamine (Meth, Crystal Meth, Speed, etc.) is an increasingly popular man-made stimulant that has something of a unique detox process. Unlike most substances, studies have shown that methamphetamine withdrawal has a relatively consistent and predictable timeline even for chronic meth abusers. This helps rehab centers and medical professionals know what to expect when helping recovering meth abusers.

Typically, withdrawal symptoms will begin to manifest roughly 10 hours after cessation, reaching its peak at 7 to 10 days, with the average overall duration covering around 14 to 20 days.

Most methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms are psychological and emotional, though there are several physical symptoms that are fairly common. Methamphetamine detox also tends to be less severe than alcohol of opioid detox processes.

 

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive sleepiness (common when dealing with stimulant detoxes)
  • Increased appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Shaking
  • Jitteriness
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Extreme meth cravings (usually decline or fade away quickly compared to other symptoms)

Some psychotic symptoms can also occur, including paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. Due to the potential risk of harming themselves and others, if these symptoms manifest in a methamphetamine detox patient, they need to be treated by medical professionals immediately.

 

Marijuana Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Even though marijuana is generally considered a less severe drug to abuse, addiction is an equal-opportunity health concern. Anyone addicted to marijuana or with heavy usage habits will likely suffer some very uncomfortable withdrawal side effects if they don’t detox safely, preferably under the watch of a healthcare professional.

Marijuana detox can be painful, since there are physical symptoms as well as psychological effects caused by detoxing from the drug.

 

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Chills
  • Shakiness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Stomach pains
  • Other aches and pains

Nicotine and Tobacco Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Over 38 million people in the United States successfully quit smoking each year, but overall there are still roughly 50 million Americans addicted to some kind of tobacco product. And despite public smoking laws cracking down on nicotine and tobacco exposure in the last decade or so, like alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco products tend to be intertwined with various social engagements which can make the difficult to avoid if you’re trying to overcome an addiction.

When going through nicotine detox or tobacco detox, symptoms will usually manifest a few hours after your last instance of tobacco use and intensify or peak about 3 days later. Unfortunately, withdrawal symptoms for tobacco products can be highly psychological, meaning they can increase, mimic, or worsen the symptoms of existing psychiatric ailments.

 

Tobacco and Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Intense cravings for nicotine/tobacco
  • Tingling sensations in the hands and feet
  • Cold and Flu-like symptoms
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Restlessness
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Gastrointestinal issues (constipation, gas, etc.)
  • Insomnia or fatigue
  • Lack of focus
  • Headache
  • Increased appetite
  • Irritability

 

Are You Ready to Take Your First Steps Towards Recovery?

Addiction Treatment Services can help you find the drug and alcohol detox program and addiction treatment you need ASAP. One of our helpful service representatives will conduct your complimentary insurance review and match you with a reputable rehab center that can provide the treatment you need. Our service specialists are available 24/7 for your convenience, so call us now to take the first step towards your addiction recovery.