One of the biggest surprises experienced by people wanting to get help for their addictive disorder is the revelation that they will need to detoxify from alcohol and drugs before treatment can even begin. And, upon learning this, the most frequently-asked question is:
“Can’t I detox at home, by myself? Do I REALLY need medical help?”
The answer is “YES”, for several reasons.
First Things First – What Is a Drug or Alcohol Detox?
A drug or alcohol detox is when a substance abuser stops drinking alcohol or using other intoxicating substances in order to give their mind and body the needed time to purge itself. Only when a person is no longer under the physical and mental effects of drugs and alcohol can they be clearheaded enough to receive the messages and do the work of recovery.
What is Withdrawal?
One of the hallmarks of a medical diagnosis of addiction is a physical dependence on their drug of choice. This means physical and chemical changes have occurred within the brain, with two results.
First, the dependent person becomes unable to function at all unless they are under the influence of that substance.
Second, when the substance is discontinued, they suffer painful – and sometimes dangerous – symptoms of withdrawal that can be so profoundly uncomfortable as to make the person start drinking and using again.
Can’t I Just Go “Cold-Turkey”?
It takes more than willpower to overcome addiction.
Your addiction-altered brain craves alcohol and drugs so badly that it triggers withdrawal symptoms that can sabotage your recovery before it has even begun. This fact alone is enough reason to detox with the help and support of trained medical specialists.
More importantly, however, some substances change your brain so radically that unsupervised withdrawal can be deadly. Abruptly quitting alcohol or benzodiazepine tranquilizers like Xanax, Valium, and Ativan can cause shock, seizures, or death.
Medical supervision during detox keeps you comfortable AND safe.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and YOU
Lastly, doctors have a tool at their disposal that is unavailable to you as a private citizen – anti-craving medications. Now that science has definitively identified addiction as a disease of the brain, MAT can reduce cravings and alleviating symptoms of withdrawal, allowing you to focus on your sober journey.
Although Lasting Recovery outpatient drug and alcohol rehab in San Diego does not provide detoxification services, they can refer you to qualified local services. Upon completion of detox, Lasting Recovery stands ready to help you truly begin your return to sobriety.