Drug Detox: How Scary Is It Really?


For people who are chemically dependent on one or more substances, the idea of getting sober can be extremely scary. While it’s true that withdrawal from substances can leave people sick, anxious, and uncomfortable and can even be dangerous in certain cases, no one should let their fear of drug detox convince them that it’s not worth getting sober. Whether someone has attempted to quit drugs on their own in the past or is just now looking into ways to get clean for the first time, medical detox can help.

What to Expect From Drug Withdrawal

Knowing what to expect is one of the best ways to conquer fear. While everyone’s experience with drug detox is different, there are some commonalities. Most people experience anxiety, insomnia, pain or discomfort, irritability, nausea, and other symptoms when they go through withdrawal from substances alone. However, the Crestone Detox process can help to manage and alleviate these and other concerning symptoms.

Every substance is different, but in most cases, the primary symptoms of withdrawal begin to subside within one to two weeks. Following primary withdrawal, there is a second stage of symptoms to worry about. Known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), this second phase can last for months, or even years, and its symptoms are typically more psychological than physical.

How Medical Detox Works

Most people entering medical detox programs are still using drugs when they arrive, so the doctors usually have time to perform a full examination and establish a baseline before withdrawal symptoms set in. This allows them to diagnose underlying conditions, including mood and mental health disorders, and decide what approach to take to symptom management.

Each person is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all course of medication for drug detox symptom management. A good medical detox facility will offer a personalized care plan that involves not just the prescription of medications to help with managing physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms but also close monitoring and round-the-clock support.

Is Drug Detox Dangerous?

Going through the initial stages of detox alone without appropriate medications and professional care can be dangerous. Although detox symptoms are rarely fatal, they can be so severe that people feel they have no other option than to go back to using substances to cope with them. In other words, the primary danger of drug detox is that it will be unsuccessful, leaving people feeling like it’s not worth trying to get clean.

Facing the idea of going through detox alone is scary. Going through medical detox at a rehab facility eliminates many of the risks and unpleasant symptoms associated with withdrawal and makes the process much easier. Many program participants are pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to detox from drugs with the help of doctors, nurses, therapists, and other trained staff.

Life After Detox

The purpose of medical detox is generally to get people through the primary withdrawal stage safely and transition them into long-term recovery programs. As with medical detox, few people can make it through the initial stages of the recovery process alone. A good drug detox program will be able to help participants transition seamlessly into inpatient or outpatient treatment, ensuring that they continue to have access to the help required to stay clean and sober. The idea of going through drug detox and moving on to a life of being clean and sober may be scary, but it’s worth the effort.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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