For those with substance use disorders who enter a rehabilitation program, detox is often the first step. Short for detoxification, detox refers to the process of cleansing the body of the physical bonds of addiction. Once users have made it through the symptoms that accompany initial cessation, they are free to address the psychological components of substance abuse.
For many users, quitting addictive substances is hard for one significant reason: withdrawal symptoms. Due to the ways in which substances like alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines affect the brain, the body becomes reliant on drug use to continue feeling normal. When the drug in question is taken away, the body reacts negatively, leading to steep cravings that are almost impossible to overcome alone.
The duration of withdrawal varies from several days to several weeks, depending on the substance in use. For some drugs, withdrawal is the worst in the first 48 to 72 hours, while in others, symptoms peak over the course of a week or more.
While detox is generally uncomfortable, with symptoms that include anxiety, insomnia, sweating, muscle pain, nausea, and vomiting, withdrawal can actually be dangerous for some substances, including alcohol and benzodiazepines. As such, our Boca Raton patients work closely with a medical team around the clock to minimize discomfort and ensure safety.