When one is seeking to recover from the problems of drug abuse and addiction, a first and very vital step is physical detoxification. Detoxification should never be confused with rehabilitation treatment, an extensive program that helps the individual address and resolve all the mental and emotional causes and effects of drug use. However, when one considers the extensive damages that drug use can cause on the body, it is easy to understand why handling the immediate physical effects of drug use is such an important first step on the road to recovery.

What Detoxification Is

Detoxification is a way to begin the physical healing process by first stabilizing and then detoxifying the body. The simple fact is that once an individual consumes drug substances, residual drug toxins can remain in their body for weeks, months and even years. It is for this reason that some individuals may achieve sobriety and even maintain it for some time, only to slip back into drug use again in the future. When residual drug toxins are released back into the bloodstream through intense physical activity or stress, the individual can experience cravings that drive them to relapse.

In many cases, it is the drug withdrawal and detoxification stage of recovery that can cause many drug abusers and addicts to refuse treatment, or to deny that they even have a drug problem. Drug withdrawal symptoms can be highly uncomfortable and even painful or dangerous, and experiencing these symptoms can cause many individuals to return to drug use – unless they receive the help and support of trained addiction specialists.

The severity of drug withdrawal symptoms depend upon several factors, including the length of the individual’s addiction, the drug or drugs used, the quantity of drugs used and any other physical or mental problems or illnesses the individual may be suffering from. The more common drug withdrawal symptoms are:

Sudden and dramatic mood swings, especially ones that include irritability, anxiety, depression and agitation.
Sleep problems, including restlessness and insomnia despite extreme fatigue.
Physical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, chills, sweating, tremors, runny nose, headache and more.
Intense cravings for drug substances of choice.

Additionally, withdrawal from alcohol, opiate prescription drugs and benzodiazepines can cause seizures and hallucinations during withdrawals. Withdrawal from heroin can cause intense muscle and bone aches and pains, and withdrawal from stimulant drugs like cocaine and crystal methamphetamine can cause depression and suicidal thoughts.

Aiding the Detoxification Process

No one should ever attempt to withdraw from drug substances on their own and without medical supervision and help. Not only can trained medical professionals and addiction specialists ensure that the detoxification process proceeds safely, they may also be able to make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible. Certain facilities and programs may provide nutritional supplements to help bolster the body’s ability to work through withdrawals, while others may provide valuable services like massage therapy, yoga or acupuncture in order to help relax the body and flush toxins more easily.

The Importance of Following Up Detoxification With Rehabilitation Treatment

Drug abuse and addiction can thoroughly ruin an individual’s life, turning it into a nightmare that revolves around obtaining, using and recovering from drugs. The individual who suffers from these problems often feels tired, unenergetic and generally physically uncomfortable. Detoxification can help a recovering drug abuser or addict feel remarkably better, and it can even enable them to maintain their sobriety for some time. Unfortunately, withdrawing from and cleansing the body of residual drug toxins is not usually sufficient, by itself, to ensure lasting recovery. With a greatly improved state of physical health, the individual who completes a detoxification program must then move forward into full rehabilitation treatment.