A staggering 21 million Americans suffer from some form of addiction. If you’ve got a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol, you’ll obviously want to help them in any way you can. The road to addiction recovery is a long and often difficult one, and the first step on that journey is going through the detox process.

Detoxing requires a lot of willpower, fortitude, and support, and your loved one will need all of the assistance you can provide them. To be an effective advocate, you’ll need to know what the detox process looks like in practice. Read on to find out.

Detoxification: What Is It?

The word detox refers to a process during which a person rids the body of “toxic” substances. In the case of addiction detox, the substances in question will either be drugs or alcohol. While detoxification is happening, your loved one will need to completely abstain from the substance they’re attempting to detox from, something that’s difficult for many people.

Depending on the substance a person is detoxing from, the process will look different. The time periods involved can vary, as will the types of interventions used.

Detoxing can be dangerous and can cause physical and mental symptoms so severe that in some cases, they can even be deadly. This is why if your loved one is attempting to detox, it’s best to go to rehab—such as Hope Rising Recovery—where professionals will be able to provide the necessary support.

What the Detox Process Looks Like

As we’ve said, the length of detox can vary. Usually, it will take anywhere between three and 10 days. Factors that affect the length of detox include the substance in question and the severity of the addiction.

The first step in the detox process is to get rid of all substances and paraphernalia in the person’s possession. Then, the patient will have a medical assessment to determine the best way to proceed. If it’s decided a medically-assisted detox would be best, then a plan for the medicines to be used gets drawn up.

Because traces of substances remain in the body after they’re taken, withdrawal symptoms won’t appear right away. Usually, they occur within 48 hours of the detox beginning.

Some of the symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal include

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Exhaustion
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

Often doctors prescribe medications that can help in managing these symptoms. This makes the detox process a lot easier for patients to go through. After your loved one has completed their detox, they’ll be ready to take part in a rehabilitation program that can help them get back to optimal health.

Prioritize Health and Wellbeing

Your loved one deserves the chance to turn their life around and achieve recovery. If you think they might be ready to go through the detox process, speak with a doctor and research the best rehabilitation center in your area.

If you’re looking for more health tips, check out some of our other articles on the topic.