What To Expect After Detoxing From Drugs Or Alcohol

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Completing drug or alcohol withdrawal under medical supervision is often the first step in the recovery process. There are several treatment paths you can take afterward, but addiction treatment is essential to preventing relapse and staying sober.

What To Expect After Detoxing From Drugs Or Alcohol

The first step for many people in recovering from drug or alcohol addiction is detoxification. This is when the body purges any remaining substances in the system.

Detoxification under the supervision of medical professionals is often necessary when a person is battling an addiction to a strong substance like alcohol, opioids, stimulants, or benzodiazepines.

This is because severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, and drug withdrawal can lead to dangerous, even fatal, health complications.

Detox programs provide an assessment of clients’ detox care needs and then help clients stabilize so that they will be prepared to begin therapy and other treatments.

What Happens During The Detox Process?

When a person is experiencing chemical dependency, their system starts to depend on the substance to function.

Through medical care and support, detoxing helps people safely clear any remaining substances from their body and “reset” their system.

You may experience withdrawal symptoms just a few hours after your last drink or drug use, so it’s essential to have a care plan in place ahead of time.

People with severe alcohol use disorder (AUD), opioid addiction, or benzodiazepine abuse may experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms or health complications if they stop using substances “cold turkey.”

It is recommended to seek medical advice before stopping drug or alcohol consumption, especially for people who have been drinking alcohol or using large amounts of drugs for a long time.

Severe withdrawal symptoms and side effects may include:

  • restlessness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • headaches
  • changes in heart rate
  • muscle and bone pain
  • anxiety
  • high blood pressure
  • hallucinations and disorientation
  • delirium tremens (DTs) for people with severe AUD
  • fevers
  • mood swings
  • seizures

A detox program can take anywhere from two days to a week. This depends on the severity of the substance abuse, the existence of any prior health conditions, and other factors.

The Next Steps After Detox

Once detoxification is completed, healthcare professionals will help you or your loved one determine what your next steps should be.

There are a few main options that you may have, including inpatient or residential treatment, outpatient programs, and sober living homes.

Inpatient Or Residential Treatment

Typically after detox, people start some form of intensive addiction treatment at the inpatient or residential level.

Inpatient treatment involves more medical services and often occurs in a hospital-like setting, while residential treatment at a drug rehab center lasts longer but provides fewer medical interventions.

Treatment options may include:

Addiction treatment programs can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year or more depending on a person’s needs.

Outpatient Programs

People with milder addictions may be directed to outpatient treatment. This allows them to remain living at home while completing their treatment program.

Many of the same treatment options available through inpatient programs are also available at the outpatient level of care, including behavioral therapy, group therapy, MAT, and more.

Sober Living

People with milder substance use disorders may benefit from a sober living or transitional housing program after completing medical detox.

These facilities are less intensive than traditional treatment programs and provide a safe, substance-free environment where people can participate in daily life activities.

Many sober living houses require people to engage in individual or group therapy. Additionally, they often have rules regarding curfews or employment.

People can often stay in sober living houses for as long as they need, and it often costs less than an inpatient drug or alcohol rehab center.

Risks Associated With Not Seeking Addiction Treatment

Some people choose to return to daily life without any follow-up treatment after detox, but this is strongly discouraged.

People who do not complete addiction treatment are at a significantly higher risk of relapse. They’re also more likely to go through the detox process multiple times.

If you are unable to seek treatment right after detox, consider going to local 12-step or community support meetings. There are also secular alternatives, like SMART Recovery.

Tips For Staying Sober After Completing Detox

Regardless of what kind of treatment you choose after detox, there are a few key things you can do to build a new, sober lifestyle.

Stay In Treatment

The most vital thing you can do after detox is continue some form of a rehab program. This will prevent the need for repeated detox sessions and ensure you get the care you need.

People often become overconfident in recovery and quit treatment too soon, making it easier for drug or alcohol cravings to overwhelm them. Continuing care can help keep this from happening.

Addiction is a chronic illness, and it may be necessary to continue attending support group meetings for months or years. Fortunately, the friendships formed in these groups can be invaluable.

Your healthcare provider can help you determine when you’re ready to stop formal treatment. Many people benefit from extended care options, like peer support, throughout their lives.

Follow Healthy Habits

When people are in active addiction, they often neglect their emotional and physical health. Eating well, exercising, and practicing mindfulness are valuable tools throughout recovery.

Many treatment centers include life skills education in their programs, which can help you learn how to cook nutritious meals, practice meditation, balance a budget, or find gainful employment.

Building healthy routines can help keep you focused and can eliminate boredom or distractions that may lead to a relapse.

Form Sober Friendships

Having a strong support system can make a significant difference during addiction recovery. Finding friends who understand what you’re going through will help you in weaker moments.

Treatment programs or 12-step groups are an excellent place to find people who are also in recovery from substance use disorders.

Additionally, it’s important to let family members be part of the treatment process. They can provide support or help work through issues in family therapy sessions.

Being around people who are continuing to use drugs or alcohol can be challenging. It may be necessary to take a step back from those relationships in the initial phases of recovery.

Get Help For A Substance Use Disorder Today

If you or a loved one is facing drug addiction or alcohol abuse, you are not alone. To learn more about starting substance abuse treatment, contact Detox Rehabs today.

For 24/7 Treatment Help Call:
(888) 859-4403

Detox Rehabs