Detoxification from drugs or alcohol is the first thing that needs to be done. This may sometimes require medical attention and is often more easily done and more successful with medical attention. This is especially true with detox from alcohol, benzodiazepines and barbiturates. Detox from these things without medical support may lead to seizures or delirium. It would be critical to see a doctor before stopping. Coming off most other drugs can be uncomfortable but generally does not carry the same risk above. The discomfort from withdrawal can be so great it drives someone back to using. Medicines can help relieve that discomfort and increase the chances of success.
Many substances, notably alcohol and opiate based drugs, cause a physical dependence within the body. Stopping use abruptly causes severe anxiety and physical sickness. This leads to more use, and putting off treatment due to the fear of the detox process. For some people, this is a small and seemingly insignificant step. For others, discomfort and uncertainty surround withdrawal. Whether your detox is easy or difficult, it is an important step and must be done before you can move on in your recovery.
We treat the detox step as a significant part of recovery because it is during this time that your body and mind are adjusting to functioning without drugs or alcohol. For as long as you have had your addiction, you have been feeding unhealthy substances into your body, continuously adding toxin upon toxin to a floundering body. Before you can go through rehab and therapy, you need to allow time to detox and heal from those toxins.
It’s important to note that some cases are too severe for detoxing in a home setting and will require a hospital setting. A pre-intake assessment is required prior to admission to assess the severity of withdrawal and to evaluate the level of detox required. Depending on past and current withdrawal symptoms, medical history, length of use, and amounts of use, a hospital setting may be necessary.