Detox may seem like a scary proposition, but the process is usually far less gruelling than people imagine if it is done in the right way. Some people have images in their heads of cold turkey withdrawal or forcing their bodies to go through an intense cleanse, but if you complete a comprehensive detox programme at a professional detox centre, you will be kept safe and comfortable during the entire process.
What is detox?
The first step in overcoming a substance addiction is always completing a detox programme. Detox is the process of ridding your body and brain of harmful substances so that they can heal and give you a clean slate going forwards with your recovery programme. The safest and most effective way to undergo detox is at a detox centre like Liberty House where you will get expert support and guidance.
What are the benefits of detox?
A detoxification programme will help you through the initial stages of withdrawal and break your physical dependence on the substance. This means you are able to focus on other aspects of your condition without being distracted or held back by physical cravings. Detoxing may seem like a small step, but it is crucial for leading a clean and healthy life. After you have overcome withdrawal, you will be well on your way to achieving all your future recovery goals.
What are withdrawal symptoms?
Detox usually leads to withdrawal symptoms which occur due to the sudden lack of substances in the body. This causes chemical imbalances in the brain which lead to a range of symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the substance or substances you are addicted to, your general health, how long you have been using them and the amount you have been taking.
Depending on the substance, some withdrawal symptoms can be severe and potentially life-threatening. These may include:
- Mood swings
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shaking and Tremors
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Stomach cramps
- Fever and high temperature
- Muscle aches and pains
- Increased risk of seizures
- Delirium Tremens (the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal)
Different substances also have different withdrawal timelines. This means that while the physical dependence on one substance may only take a couple of weeks, another substance may still cause cravings and withdrawal symptoms months or even years later.
How to detox safely and effectively
Detoxing at a professional detox clinic like Liberty House is always advisable for a number of important reasons, including:
- A safe and nurturing recovery environment
- Medical detox with 24/7 care and support
- An experienced team of doctors, therapists and consultant psychiatrists
- Personalised detox programmes
At Liberty House, we provide detox for a huge range of different substances including drug detox and alcohol detox. As part of our commitment to providing the best possible care, Liberty House aims to make the withdrawal process as comfortable as possible. When you begin detox with us, our Consultant Psychiatrist and on-site doctors will give you a full medical assessment so that they can create a personalised detox plan for you. This will be based on whether they think you are at risk of any serious withdrawal symptoms and will decide which detox method is best suited.
If our medical professionals do decide that you are at risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, they may decide to give you medication to help manage these. This is known as medical detox and will involve different medications depending on your withdrawal symptoms and what substance you are detoxing from. Medical detox also includes 24/7 care from our expert staff to ensure you are completely safe until the withdrawal process is over.
Your detox plan will be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis throughout your stay to make sure that it is still the best course of action for you and that you are progressing well. If you are detoxing from a substance with a particularly long withdrawal timeline, Liberty House will also speak to your GP so that any continuing withdrawal symptoms can be managed after you have left our centre.
Can I detox at home?
Some people may attempt to detox at home but there are a number of reasons why this is neither the best nor safest method:
- You may experience severe withdrawal symptoms which put your health or life at risk
- You may be unable to properly look after yourself during the withdrawal period leading to dehydration, hunger or other issues
- You are more likely to relapse as you will still be able to access drugs or alcohol
- If you do relapse, overdose is more likely. Your tolerance will have dropped during your period of abstinence so if you then start using again, you are more likely to take too much and overdose
- Detox alone is not enough to overcome substance dependence. You also need to address the psychological aspects of the condition.
However, it is important to note that if you do not have a substance abuse disorder but just want to cut down on your drinking, then it is usually safe to do so at home. As long as you are in good health, you will not experience the severe withdrawal symptoms that somebody with substance dependence is likely to experience. For example, many people do Sober October to give themselves a month without alcohol. For people with a serious dependency, however, the best advice is always to contact a professional detox centre for help.
Tips for a successful detox
While detox can be challenging, it is hugely beneficial so it is well worth giving yourself the best possible chance of a successful detox. Here are some of our top tips:
Involve your friends and family in the detox process
A support network of loved ones can make all the difference when detoxing. They can help to encourage you, provide practical support and be there for you if things get tough.
Follow a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet will help to support your body during the detox process. At Liberty House, our private chef will ensure that you get all the right nutrients to help you through detox. You also need to make sure that you drink plenty of fluids as dehydration can be a real danger.
Identify and avoid any situations or people that may trigger a relapse during your detox. This might mean avoiding places where you used to drink or use drugs or spending time with certain friends or family members. This is best achievable at a residential detox centre like Liberty House where you will be shielded from the outside world and will be able to focus solely on detox.
Get plenty of rest
You may find that you have no choice in this as withdrawal can leave you feeling completely exhausted. Whatever the case, try to get as much rest as possible during this time. Not only will this allow your body to heal, but it will also give you the energy you need to face each new challenge on the road to recovery.
Take things one day at a time
Detox can be tough but it is important to remember that it is only temporary. Take things one day at a time and focus on getting through each day as best you can. Before you know it, detox will be over and you can start looking forward to the next steps.
What happens next?
It is important to remember that detox is only the first stage of the recovery journey. While your detox programme will address your physical dependence, rehab treatment will be required for the psychological aspects of your condition. This will allow you to recognise and understand the root causes of your dependence and to create the necessary tools and strategies to prevent relapse in the future.
Once this is complete, you will then return home and begin your aftercare programme (which at Liberty House means ongoing weekly group therapy sessions). These will help to keep you on track and offer continued support as you begin to rebuild your life in sobriety.
At Liberty House, we offer a comprehensive programme that includes all of these stages and our team of experienced professionals will provide you with all the support and care you need to successfully overcome your condition and start rebuilding your life. Get in touch with us today so you can get started on the road to recovery.
Frequently asked questions
- Do I feel unable to stop using substances even if I want to?
- Do I keep using substances even though it is causing problems in my life?
- Have I built up a tolerance to substances so that I need more and more to get the same effect?
- Do I experience withdrawal symptoms when I try to cut down or stop using substances?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, it is likely that you need detox and should get in touch with a professional detox centre as soon as possible.