Withdrawal can range from simply uncomfortable to potentially life-threatening. The severity depends on the drug(s) used, the amounts used, and the length of time that someone used. Preexisting health conditions may increase certain risks during withdrawal, but may not affect the overall intensity of symptoms a great deal.
The particular drug(s) used can be one of the greatest predictors of withdrawal symptoms and intensity. Take a look at our periodic table of drug withdrawal symptoms for a more comprehensive look at what to expect during the detox process from each type of drug. We also have a section devoted to alcohol withdrawal and detox that covers every aspect of quitting drinking.Withdrawal Timelines & Symptoms
Life in recovery can be challenging even in the best of times, and the current COVID-19 pandemic has introduced many new challenges. Isolation, quarantine, and social distancing can have a negative impact on anyone’s mental health, especially those who have struggled with substance abuse and mental illness. We have compiled a guide including over 100 resources for maintaining mental health and wellness, finding help and connections with others, and staying active in recovery during this strange time.100+ Helpful COVID Addiction & Mental Health Resources
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is a prolonged period of withdrawal symptoms that, while not as dangerous as acute withdrawal symptoms, are very unpleasant. This is a remnant of the damage done through prolonged drug or alcohol use and includes the neurological, psychological, and rarely the physical effects of addiction. This can result in a variety of symptoms depending on the particular drug that was abused.What Is PAWS?
Different people will face different challenges when going through detox, and this can be more so for certain demographics. Here, we have articles detailing the unique challenges of different groups of people, as well as some resources specific to those groups which may aid their recovery and treatment.
The absolute best way to go through withdrawal is to enter a detox center. These facilities can help minimize the risks and the discomfort of withdrawal and also provide resources for furthering someone’s recovery. Regardless of the drug type, these centers can provide medications, supervision, and therapies to make the withdrawal and detox process a comfortable as possible while also providing the highest chances of success.Find A Local Detox Center
Detox centers specialize in treating the painful and possibly dangerous symptoms of withdrawal. There are several different kinds of detox centers that may be more or less appropriate for someone depending on their unique circumstances. Some of the major types of drug detox centers include:
It is possible to detox at home, although this is not normally recommended. The unique complications which may arise during withdrawal and detox may require medical attention, and detoxing at home can be very dangerous. That being said, if someone will not experience severe or life-threatening symptoms, then this may be a possibility. At-home detox is also the cheapest option by far, as there can be little to no cost involved. Someone must carefully weigh the benefits and the risks before taking this route, and consulting a doctor before beginning is essential.
Detoxing by a taper method is another possibility, although this requires the supervision or oversight of a doctor if it is to be done safely. Tapering is the process of slowly reducing the levels of a drug or cross-tolerant medication to minimize the symptoms while going through the detox process. This can be an effective although time-consuming process as it will, by definition, extend the withdrawal timeline. This may be slightly more expensive than a complete at-home detox method, but offers great flexibility while also including consultation with medical professionals to minimize the risks.
This is by far the cheapest method as there is essentially no cost, although it is also the most dangerous. Some drugs can produce fatal consequences if they are discontinued abruptly, so this method is not possible for certain drugs. This is also the most uncomfortable route to take, as suddenly ceasing drug use once someone is dependent produces severe withdrawal symptoms regardless of the specific drug. This route may be the shortest method, however, as the body will be forced to adapt quickly upon abrupt cessation of drug use.
Detox is just the beginning of a new life, and more work needs to be done to build a new life free of drug addiction. While this may sound intimidating, with help and support, it is possible and achievable. As long as someone is willing to put in the effort, there is a multitude of resources available to help someone continue the journey of recovery after completing detox.After Detox: What Now?
Even if someone is not ready to quit using, there are steps they can take to reduce the risks of continued drug use. This includes safer use habits, especially for IV drug users, and some precautions that may be taken to prevent overdose and deaths. Additionally, STDs and diseases are rampant in communities of those who use drugs, and there may be ways to minimize these risks as well.Harm Reduction Guide
IV drug use is extremely dangerous, not only due to the fact that someone can inject a lethal amount of drugs in a second but also due to the risks presented by using dirty needles and needle sharing. Diseases can flourish in communities of drug users, and even if someone isn’t ready to quit, this doesn’t mean that they should expose themselves or others to potentially fatal diseases.
Needle exchanges are programs which will safely dispose of used needles and trade them out for clean ones. This not only reduces the risk of disease from people sharing needles but also the risk of infection due to old needles which are commonly reused for weeks by a single user.Needle Exchange Locator
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a treatment approach that uses a combination of withdrawal medications or substitution medication and behavioral therapies to treat drug addiction. These programs have been successful regarding addiction treatment and relapse prevention, and are widely available.MAT Treatment Center Locator
If you are seeking drug and alcohol related addiction rehab for yourself or a loved one, the sponsored hotline is a confidential and convenient solution.
Calls to any sponsored hotline (non-facility) will be answered by:
If you wish to contact a specific medical detox center then find a specific detox center using our detox locator tool.
Alternatives to finding addiction treatment or learning about substance abuse:
To learn more about how Detox Local operates, please contact us.