How improperly detoxing may harm your body

Anyone who struggles with addiction may come to a point of realization that a form of detox from drugs is necessary in order to overcome drug dependence. The idea of a proper drug rehab center may feel intimidating or the cost may be burdensome. The stigma surrounding addiction or the time away from family or work may be other factors that make a detox at a drug clinic seem close to impossible. It may seem more practical to attempt to detox by oneself, but this does not come without considerable risk.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to detoxing from drugs, there are some methods of drug detox that are considered generally safer than others. Not only is a detox from drugs such as opioids safer in a medical setting, but there is also a much higher chance of successfully achieving sobriety. It is always recommended to detox under the supervision of medical professionals.

When individuals choose to detox by themselves instead of undergoing a drug detox program or medical-based alternative such as the one the ANR Clinic offers, they may consider tapering or quitting opioids cold turkey.

Tapering off of drugs means gradually decreasing the dosage over time until no longer using the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal are likely to be less severe than if you were to stop taking drugs completely today, without allowing the body to adjust to the new, smaller dosages. However, withdrawal symptoms should be expected regardless. Some commonly experienced symptoms when tapering off of opioids may include:

  • Mood swings/irritability
  • Cravings
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Flu-like symptoms  

It is important to note that when tapering off of pain medication under the supervision of a doctor, the doctor will create a tapering schedule to minimize these symptoms. He or she will also closely monitor your blood pressure levels, perform urine and blood sample testing, and prescribe any additional medication or protocol to help manage side effects of tapering off opioids.

Tapering off opioids at home does not take the same precautions and can result in doing more damage to the body. Consulting with a medical professional is an important part of beginning a journey to recovery.

Quitting cold turkey is, inarguably, the most severe way to quit an opioid addiction. While it is usually not deadly, individuals who have become dependent on opioids can experience some intense symptoms of opioid withdrawal when choosing this method of detox.

The above listed symptoms of withdrawal when tapering including more severe ones such as the following are all possible when quitting opioids cold turkey:

  • Hallucinations
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting induced dehydration 

Being dependent on an opioid means that the physical chemistry of the body has changed to find a new equilibrium. Suddenly stopping a drug that has been taken in increased dosages over an extended period of time is not ever recommended.

Death can be a secondary consequence of quitting drugs cold turkey. For instance: losing consciousness while driving due to a blood pressure change, or becoming severely dehydrated to the point of organ failure can not be ruled out as possible side effects.

It is important to note that quitting methadone cold turkey has a higher likelihood of resulting in death as seizures, difficulty breathing, and heart problems can arise. 

Lastly, there is rapid detox.
Rapid detox is not necessarily an “improper” method of detox, but it is considered an incomplete detox by our standards.

Individuals who enter a rapid detox program still must suffer the consequences of opioid withdrawal syndrome. Having a medical team available is one benefit as they may be able to prescribe medication to manage withdrawal symptoms.

While the idea of being addiction free within 24 hours, promised by rapid detox programs across the country is appealing, it is simply untrue. Rapid detox leaves individual’s brains in a state of imbalance. The ANR clinic has identified this imbalance in the endorphin-receptor system as the biological root cause of opioid dependence. Sending individuals off believing they are “cured” of addiction after a rapid detox is irresponsible and potentially dangerous as the likelihood of relapse and overdose increases.

Furthermore, it is important to realize that rapid detox cost is not just about the expensive monetary aspect, but also comes with considerable risks.
In addition to its inefficacy, rapid detox can lead to coma or even death. 

A better treatment than tapering, quitting cold turkey, or rapid detox is now available to individuals who want to be free from opioid addiction.

The ANR Clinic exists to bridge the gap between modern medicine and opioid dependence. Individuals who find themselves addicted to opioid painkillers such as oxycodone or Fentanyl, or opiates such as heroin, have the option to not only avoid experiencing active withdrawal, but to also address the physical imbalance that is driving the cravings for these drugs.

Improperly detoxing can not only harm you, but can lead to death in some instances. Choosing to get clean and sober from narcotics is a huge, life-changing decision. It is vital to understand all of the options available for overcoming opioid dependence, as well as weighing their benefits and risks in order to make the most informed decision. 

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