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When a loved one is struggling with any kind of illness, it’s only natural to want to help them. When that illness is drug or alcohol addiction, however, it can be tough to know where to start. Full recovery is possible, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Addiction recovery is a journey with several steps—and the first of those steps is detox.

What is Detox?

But what is detox, exactly? Simply put, it’s the process in which the mind and body are rid of harmful toxins. If your loved one is going to be freed from addiction to drugs or alcohol, it’s vital to have a clean slate—to begin rehab without any drugs or alcohol lingering in the system. This detox process will take anywhere from three to 10 days, depending on the nature of the addiction—and it’s not without some potential risks.

Withdrawal and Detox

The big risk in detox is withdrawal. Drugs and alcohol can exert such an impact on the body that eliminating them creates havoc.

Withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person, but some of the most common ones include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Excessive hunger
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy
  • Shakiness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Agitated, excitable, or irritable behavior
  • Hallucination or severe anxiety
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to pain

These symptoms can be extreme. In the discomfort of withdrawal, it’s not impossible for the individual to reach for drugs or alcohol, hoping it will help them feel “normal” again—thus undoing their detox process. And if they reach for a higher-than-intended amount, it could result in an overdose, or even death.

Seeking Clinical Detox

Because of this, it’s important to help your loved ones seek detox in a clinical setting—somewhere with medical supervision. Not only does this ensure their safety, but it may also mean access to non-addictive medications that can ease the pain. And, clinical detox can often be faster than home-based or “DIY” withdrawal. Finally, a clinical detox makes it easy to transition into an in-patient rehab program.

What should you look for in a clinical detox program, though? Some guidelines include:

  • First and foremost, make sure the detox center offers treatment for the type of addiction your loved one is experiencing. Some detoxes will focus on opioid addiction, for example, while others are more wide-ranging.
  • Also make sure the addiction detox center you choose for your loved one is accredited by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • Ask about the medical qualifications of the staff. Seek a detox center where there are nurses or other clinical professionals on-site 24/7.
  • Don’t forget to ask about insurance! Most detox facilities will accept many different forms of insurance.
  • Inquire about whether the staff customizes its treatment approach to meet the needs of the individual—always a sign that you’re dealing with true professionals.
  • Finally, ask about options for transitioning into rehab. Make sure you’re taking the long view of addiction recovery.

Learn More About Addiction Detox from Experience Recovery

Detox is a vital first step in the recovery journey—and the best way to help your loved one is to explore local options for clinically-supervised detox centers. Experience Recovery is proud to offer a full range of addiction detox services to individuals throughout Los Angeles and Orange County.

We’d love to talk with you more about what you can expect from our detox program. Contact us today to start the conversation.