If the decision to go to rehab is the most important decision you'll ever make, going to detox first may just be the most important part of that decision.
So why is it called "detox?"
Your body isn't equipped to handle substance abuse. Drugs that change your body chemistry, deteriorate your health, and resist being filtered out by the organs tasked with doing that are "toxic." Your body can filter out small amounts of toxins at a time, but then your body builds up a tolerance to them. Usually that's a good thing - your body also builds up tolerance to illnesses and germs, and you'd be in real trouble if it didn't.
They build up that "tolerance," and then demand that you push it further. Drug detox is about ridding you of these chemically-induced impulses and helping you through the period when these symptoms are at their strongest. This initial period of withdrawal symptoms can be potentially dangerous without proper medical attention, and that's what detox is here for.
But what actually is detox? Do you need it before you start a rehab program? Where and how can you get it? Let's get into answering those questions first.
A drug addiction and detox aren't just about getting through the withdrawal symptoms though – it's also a time when the body and mind can begin to actually heal themselves after the damage caused by consistent drug abuse. And depending on the extent of your addiction, this damage can end up being pretty severe.
And to understand just what kind of damage is being undone during your drug detox in Bellevue, it's important to know about some of the numerous health effects of abusing certain kinds of drugs.
Cocaine Effects on the Brain & Body – Once used as a topical analgesic, cocaine has become illegal today. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), some of the most common health effects of cocaine abuse include:
Opioids Effects on the Brain & Body – Legal opioids like OxyContin and Fentanyl are used to manage pain while drugs like heroin are entirely illegal. According to NIDA, common health effects of opioids like heroin include:
Benzodiazepines Effects on the Brain & Body – Classified as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, benzos are used to treat anxiety in most patients. According to NIDA, some of the health effects of these drugs include:
Amphetamines Effects on the Brain & Body – Largely used to treat concentration problems, amphetamines like Adderall interact directly with the brain's pleasure center and the neurotransmitter dopamine. According to NIDA, the effects of amphetamines include:
The way addiction works, your body adapts to the presence of drugs by building up that aforementioned tolerance. What tolerance does is it shifts your body's perception of what's normal.
Your body adapts to having drugs in your system so that you can feel normal while you're on them. And the other side of that is you feel abnormal when you're not on drugs. Since your brain chemistry has been altered to feel like your drug-induced state is normal, you find yourself reacting to not having drugs in your system - since your body has created this resistance, it needs to use it.
There are a number of withdrawal symptoms, and they very from one drug to another. Some drugs have severe withdrawal symptoms, some have relatively mild ones. However, it's also important to note the most serious withdrawal symptom: Death.
We're not trying to be alarmist here, but the fact is, leaving severe withdrawal symptoms untreated can sometimes be too much for your body to handle. Certain substances (like marijuana) have almost no risk of death as a direct result of withdrawal symptoms, but others (like benzodiazepines, methadone, and alcohol), can absolutely kill, and do so at dangerously high rate.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has a whole section of their website devoted to medical complications related to drug use. It's a very long section.
Thinking about going through drug detox in Bellevue, WA can be intimidating. If this is your first time going through withdrawals, you've likely heard about how excruciating and overpowering some of the symptoms can be.
Nausea, depression, sweating, agitation, fever, muscle cramps, diarrhea, and a host of other symptoms can all become the norm for days at a time during detoxification. These symptoms can often be so unbearable that even the most motivated recovering addict will feel compelled to start using again just to avoid another day of withdrawals.
That's why checking into a Bellevue drug detox program is such an important part of recovery. A professional detox facility will have the knowledge, expertise, and medical knowhow to reduce the severity of these symptoms and make your withdrawal process as comfortable as possible – no matter how long it takes.
But not all drug withdrawals are the same. And if you want to go into your detox program prepared, you need to know what to expect. The list below includes some of the most common symptoms you'll likely experience during withdrawals from some of the most commonly abused illicit drugs and prescription medications available today.
Cocaine – Intense cravings is one of the most notable symptoms of cocaine withdrawal and, similar to other stimulants like amphetamines, there aren't many physical symptoms associated with its withdrawal syndrome. According to MedlinePlus, these symptoms include:
Opioids – One of the most widely abused drugs today and a contributor to the ever-worsening drug crisis in the United States, opioids include illicit drugs like heroin and opium as well as prescription medications like OxyContin and Fentanyl. The withdrawal process is particularly uncomfortable and has been described as similar to the flu but ten times more intense.
According to MedlinePlus, the most common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:
Meth – Like other stimulants, the majority of withdrawal symptoms experienced during methamphetamine withdrawal are psychological in nature. According to Mental Health Daily, the most common ones include:
Benzodiazepines – Withdrawals from benzodiazepines are largely considered to be the most difficult to endure by far – even more so than heavy hitters like heroin and meth. According to Professor Heather Ashton, the symptoms of this withdrawal syndrome include:
In addition to the substantial list of symptoms above, there is another threat lurking within drug detoxification in Bellevue when not properly handled by medical professionals: the risk of death.
That's why it's so important to partner with a professional Bellevue, WA drug detox program rather than trying to get through withdrawals on your own. These facilities have the medical expertise and expert knowledge to avoid the potentially fatal symptoms of withdrawal or to effectively deal with them should the appear.
And without that expertise, you may be putting your life on the line.
But why are these three drugs in particular so dangerous? Let's have a look.
Benzos & Alcohol – These two substances in particular can cause some pretty nasty side effects during the withdrawal process. But when it comes to their lethal potential, it all has to do with how they interact with a certain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA for short.
This neurotransmitter is chiefly responsible for calming the brain down in a sense. The sedation, lack of anxiety, and reduced inhibitions that you feel while drinking or taking benzos like Klonopin or Xanax are a direct result of these drugs increasing the potency of your GABA.
But over time, the brain starts to up the power of the excitatory chemicals in order to counteract the artificially-boosted GABA. This interplay between the two types of chemicals (inhibitory vs. excitatory) is one of the causes for increased tolerance, forcing you to drink or take more of the drug to feel the same effect.
If a highly tolerant system (created by severe addiction) is suddenly robbed of a consistent supply of benzos or alcohol, the GABA quickly returns to its normal potency. The excitatory chemicals, however, stays just as powerful as before. As a result, the brain is launched into an extremely over-excited state, causing a slew of terrifying side effects like extreme agitation, hallucinations, and even life-threatening grand mal seizures.
With alcohol, this condition is known as delirium tremens. For benzos, it's simply benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. But no matter what your drug of choice is, both withdrawal syndromes can be deadly without proper medical supervision.
Opioids – When it comes to opioids like heroin or Fentanyl, the risk of death during detox is a little bit different than with benzos and alcohol. For opioids, the problem isn't so much how the body directly reacts to a lack of the drug in the system but rather indirectly in how quickly it changes back to normal as a result.
To explain, the body builds up tolerance to a substance of abuse over time, causing individuals to take more of the drug in order to feel the same high. For opioids in particular, that tolerance can build up especially quickly, sometimes within hours at especially high doses.
However, this tolerance can also drop dramatically within a short period of time. And in many cases, the body becomes significantly less tolerant to opioids much quicker than most users may think. As a result, relapsing from opioids (which can be as common as 91% of the time) and returning to the same dosage of opioids that got you high before could end up being far more than your body can now withstand.
The potential for accidental overdose among relapsing users is part of the reason that opioids have become so incredibly dangerous over the past few decades and regularly claim the lives of tens of thousands of people a year – 42,000 people in the U.S. in 2016 in fact.
As such, partnering with a professional Bellevue, Washington State drug detox program for your opioid addiction is not only incredibly helpful in avoiding relapse, it may end up saving your life.
Even if you aren't detoxing from one of the three drugs with deadly withdrawals, detoxing without proper medical guidance can still be dangerous. It can end up causing dehydration, pancreatitis, inflammation of the lungs, skin diseases, and a host of other problems that, while nonfatal, can be quite damaging on their own.
As a result, if you are experiencing severe symptoms of withdrawal, it's important that you seek medical help immediately before the problem gets even worse.
A big part of the Bellevue drug detox process is medical detox, which is basically administering drugs and medicine that counteracts the drug in the system and limits withdrawals until the body has time to flush out the influence of the drug.
It's an important part of the rehab process because those withdrawal symptoms are usually otherwise alleviated simply by going back to the drug. Detox is a period of time in which recovering addicts get over the proverbial "hump." There is no set time frame for detox - it just depends on how long your withdrawals last - but generally drug detox in Bellevue, WA will last from a few days to a couple weeks.
Medical detox might seem like the best approach, and it is still an important part of the best drug detox treatments. However, medical detox can also create problems for patients in the long term. The medications that are generally used for detoxification carry their own withdrawal risks. One such drug is suboxone, which is typically used in opiate detox. Many times, patients merely slide the focus of their addiction to the detox drug, which puts the process back to square one.
For that reason, holistic detoxification methods have become more popular recently for drug addiction treatment in Bellevue. Holistic detox is a method that utilizes diet and physical fitness as a major component of the program.
Holistic detox is about promoting an overall healthy lifestyle (something that isn't practiced by a majority of those suffering from addiction severe enough to need detox).
It may sound more like the kind of treatment you'd get at a health club, but it is effective. By focusing on nutrition, exercise, and hydration, you get a jump-start on your body's natural ability to deal with the harm you've been doing to it.
Talking with a nutritionist about your addiction history and your diet will help both them and you to understand what vitamins and minerals your body is lacking, and then those things can be added into your daily food intake.
Proper nutrition is a critical component to any Bellevue drug detox program. Throughout the course of your addiction, your body has gone through a lot. Not only has it been negatively impacted by the toxicity of the drug itself, addiction is also commonly associated with a variety of detrimental lifestyle changes like irregular eating and a poor diet.
The lack of these essential vitamins and nutrients means that your body has to go into overtime in order to repair the damage done during your addiction. That's why it's so important to have a nutrition-focused plan during your addiction recovery. Before you can heal, you first need to give your body the energy it needs to recover.
Addiction also frequently causes dehydration, so a healthy supply of water will be involved in your holistic drug detox in Bellevue as well.
Exercise is also a major component of detox, for much the same reason as nutrition is - improving your overall health and your natural healing factor. This approach makes you healthier overall, reduces the length and severity of your withdrawal symptoms, and helps reduce the chances you'll become dependent on detox medications.
There are a couple of factors at play here. In the first place, exercise helps spur the release of mood-boosted brain chemicals. These neurotransmitters can do wonders for staving off some of the most overwhelming psychological withdrawal symptoms like depression and anxiety as well as irritability.
Beyond that though, exercise also gives you something to take your mind off of your recovery for a while. And though it's important to be sober-minded, a healthy distraction can be a welcome benefit of exercise.
The combination of these factors makes exercise one of the most effective strategies for preventing relapse and a core component of any holistic drug detoxification program in Bellevue, WA.
As much as we would love to help you with your detox, Northpoint Evergreen Bellevue is an outpatient facility, and we don't handle detox in-house. However, that doesn't mean we can't incorporate detox into your overall treatment plan here.
Talk to us about what you're going through. We'll help you come up with some options for treatment, and if we agree that detox is the best option for you, we'll refer you to some of the best detox clinics in King County. When your treatment there is finished, we'll pick up where they left off, helping you beat addiction for good, both physically and emotionally.
Making the decision to get treatment is tough by itself. Deciding on detox is potentially even more difficult. But this isn't a decision you have to make alone. Let us help.
Our goal is to help you successfully stop using drugs without worrying about relapsing. We will make sure you get whatever treatment you need - even if we're not the ones to provide it. When you beat addiction, it's a win for all of us.
Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.(425) 629-0433 Contact Us