According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.5 million Americans struggled with substance abuse in 2014 alone. To put that in perspective, that was one in every eight people. 

Think about how many people make up your closest friends and family, then do the math. This is the reality of addiction and how many lives it plagues in the United States today.

Yet there is a silver lining. It comes in the form of detox centers and the effective programs they offer. Through these programs, an addict can cleanse themselves of the drug in their system and find hope through education and resources for recovery.

But what is a detox center, exactly? More importantly, what does a detox program look like? It can be scary to think about, especially when you don’t know what to expect. 

Read on to learn all about these helpful centers and what they do to give people struggling with addiction a second chance.

What is a Detox Center?

A detox center is a facility that offers a safe environment to treat withdrawal symptoms as an addict quits using an addictive substance. Depending on the severity of the addiction and what the patient is addicted to, withdrawal may kick in anywhere between a few hours or a few days. 

However, when it happens the symptoms can be extremely severe. From mental and emotional distress to physical symptoms, addicts going through withdrawal may experience:

  • Severe Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Extreme Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Poor Concentration
  • Lapses in Memory
  • Headaches
  • Chest Pain
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Stomach Pain
  • Diarrhea 
  • Muscle Twitches
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • And More

Many of these are difficult to undergo. However, in some cases, symptoms aren’t just difficult to experience. They can also become life-threatening. 

The Dangers of Withdrawal

Certain addictions are so extreme, quitting them can lead to serious physical reactions, including:

  • Grand Mal Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Delirium Tremens, or DT’s
  • Hallucinations

Alcohol withdrawal and tranquilizer withdrawal are at the highest risk of these symptoms. However, detox centers are medical centers equipped to help mediate the process. Through a combination of supervision, medical assistance, and support, they can reduce the odds of complications and reduce the severity of the symptoms.

While withdrawal phases vary, it typically comes in two stages: acute and post-acute. Detox centers offer programs to help you through both.

When to Admit Yourself into a Detox Program

If you experience heavy withdrawal any time you stop taking a substance, a detox program is highly recommended. Simply cutting yourself off and going “cold turkey” isn’t advisable. Too many complications can arise, and the process can be excruciating, frightening, and even life-threatening.

What Happens In Detox Centers When You Enter a Program?

Now that you know what a detox center is, the most common question that comes next is “What does a program look like?”

Keep in mind that detox programs and rehabilitation programs are often two separate steps. In order to begin your recovery process, you must first clear your system of the drug or substance you to which you are addicted. This is the detox program. 

There are 3 main detox program lengths: 3-day, 5-day, and 7-day. This short-term program is most effective when you couple it with long-term rehabilitation, from inpatient rehab center programs to group therapy, classes, and recovery resources. 

A Look at the Detox Program Process

Here are the steps you can expect to take when entering and undergoing a detox program. Specifically, an inpatient program.

Step One: Choose a Program

There are both inpatient and outpatient detox programs, and even some that combine the two. Which you choose should depend on which you feel gives you the best opportunity for a full recovery.

Inpatient programs take place at either a hospital, a detox center, or a rehabilitation center. The great thing about these programs is you’re never alone. A team is available around the clock to help you deal with the physical, mental, and emotional challenges that come with withdrawal.

Outpatient programs take place at home. They can be significantly cheaper and helpful for individuals with mild or even moderate addictions. However, those with serious addictions should opt for inpatient treatment whenever possible.

Outpatient programs work best with mild symptoms and when you have a stable, present support system available to help you through it. 

Step Two: Receive an Evaluation

The first step of an inpatient program is the intake assessment. This includes any necessary form completion, pathology, and a physical evaluation of you, the patient. It’s essential that you answer the questions posed in this process as truthfully and transparently as possible.

Lack of honesty can lead to complications or a poor detox experience. After all, every patient is different. Doctors can only help you if you give them insight into what is going on. 

This includes providing the proper prescriptions and treatments for your withdrawal symptoms. No matter your addiction or situation, these doctors are here to help you, including making your detox experience as safe and comfortable as possible.

Step Three: Receive Treatment

Next, you will begin your detox treatment. In an inpatient program, you may share a room with another patient or receive a private room, depending upon what the facility has available.

What you feel during the withdrawal phase may vary depending on any underlying medical conditions you may have and the severity of your addiction. However, detox programs have many medications and resources to make it as painless and comfortable as possible. 

Your treatment will involve a combination of both physical treatment and psychiatric treatment. Because addiction and withdrawal are as emotional as it is physical, the psychological evaluation is important. 

Sometimes, underlying psychological issues may be found that contribute to your addiction. When identified, the program will treat this to in order to give you the best opportunity for a full recovery.

Step Four: Create Your Post Detox Plan

Once your detox treatment is complete, you can either go home or begin follow-up treatment through a rehab facility or outpatient resources. A medical professional at the detox program will work with you to identify the best approach to post-detox care. 

Because detox programs treat acute withdrawal and not post-acute withdrawal, this step is essential. Your post-acute symptoms can continue for anywhere between 6 to 12 months after your last taste of the addictive substance.

Beyond that, there may be several residual effects that linger long into your sobriety you will have to learn to address and cope with as you return to your day-to-day life.

How to Transition into a Drug-Free and Alcohol-Free Lifestyle

Getting sober is only a small piece of the uphill road to sober living. In order to be successful, you have to transition into a healthy environment that encourages a drug-free and alcohol-free lifestyle.

This includes eliminating any temptations or bad influences in your life. If you live with an addict or have friends with addictive habits, you may need to cut ties with them. This isn’t an easy process, but it is essential to remaining sober. 

You will also need a strong support system. Whether you complete an inpatient rehab program or not, attending a support group should be part of your post-detox plan. It gives you a safe space to talk and seek support in others who understand what you are going through.

Undergoing Emotional Detox

On top of undergoing post-acute withdrawal, addicts must face an emotional detox. This term refers to the process of coming to terms with what you have been through and learning to embrace life and what’s ahead. 

This can be a highly emotional process as you face the questions, guilt, anger, and fears associated with your experiences as an addict and through recovery. During this process, it’s very important to address these emotions.

Find support in family, friends, therapists, and support groups. Talk about the feelings you experience as they arise and work through them. On top of it all, make sure you have the basic necessities in life:

  • Food and Water
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Sanitation
  • Financial Support

This will be an ongoing process. In fact, many addicts spend their entire lives walking this road. However, it does get easier with time. 

Be patient with yourself. Forgive yourself, seek encouragement, and rebuild the positive relationships in your life. Good days come easier in sobriety. 

While many fear the uphill battle, it’s more than worthwhile. Lean on the people who care and use the resources made available to you whenever you need them as you adapt to a healthier way of living. 

Get the Treatment You Need in a Facility that Cares

The road to sobriety begins with cleansing your body of the substance you’re addicted to, but it’s often not a road we can walk alone. That’s okay.

Thankfully, there are detox centers with specific programs to help you get sober safely and with the proper support. If you’re a Utah resident struggling with alcohol, drug, or heroin addiction, talk to us about your treatment options.

You deserve another chance at a clean life and we’re here to help.