Fear is a very powerful emotion and one that stands in the way of many addicts getting the help they need to overcome their addictions. Many are afraid of reaching out for help as they worry it will make them appear weak. Others are fearful of giving up the substance to which they are addicted because of what it will mean for them.
Still others are afraid of rehab and particularly detox. Most substance abusers will be required to complete a programme of detoxification before they can begin rehabilitation. However, detox has a bad reputation, mainly due to television and film images of characters suffering agonising pain during detox. The reality is far different, however, especially when you detox in a supervised facility.
Does Detox Hurt?
You have probably heard horror stories about how painful detox can be and of how many people cannot make it through. It is true that detox can be frightening if you are unprepared or if you do not have the necessary support.
It is important to remember that detoxification is not the same as rehab. Detoxification is the process of getting sober and eliminating all traces of the substance you were abusing from your body. When you stop taking drugs or alcohol, your body will crave it because it has become dependent on it. When it realises that the usual dose will not be coming, it will react as it tries to readdress the balance, which can lead to a number of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms will vary from mild to severe, depending on the type of substance that was being abused as well as the length of time the individual was addicted.
While most symptoms are mild, there is a risk of more severe symptoms; for this reason, most experts recommend that those detoxing from drugs or alcohol, do so in a supervised medical facility where their safety and comfort will be ensured at all times.
Sticking with Detox
Detox can be tough, and many individuals will feel like quitting. They may experience intense cravings for the substance they have stopped and might feel a very strong desire to leave and start drinking or taking drugs again.
It is normal to experience these feelings during detox, but however uncomfortable you are at this point, you should stick with it because these feelings will pass. In addition, there are a number of things that you can do to make yourself more comfortable or take your mind off the situation.
If you are detoxing in a facility with other people, speak to someone who is further along in the process. This may give you the encouragement to keep going, as you will be able to see first-hand that the process does get easier.
Try to Relax
Although it may be easier said than done, you should try to relax and stop resisting. Remember why you wanted to get sober in the first place and focus on the fact that once you do get clean, you can start to begin the process of rehab. Think of how much healthier and happier you will be when you are no longer a slave to addiction. Think about your future with your family and everything that you can hope to achieve when you are no longer abusing drugs or alcohol.
Relaxation therapies can help; things such as yoga, meditation or acupuncture. Speak to a member of staff about what you can do to help you relax during the process. You may be able to take certain medications designed to help make the whole process easier and more comfortable, so ask staff about this. And remember, in time, you will feel much better.