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Discerning a Detox Emergency from a Detox Challenge

You are going to face some challenges while detoxing, especially if you are detoxing at home. You will likely feel anxious and uncomfortable. You might feel very sick, like you have the flu. You will have strong cravings and your brain will invent compelling reasons why you need to quit detox and try again later. If you really want to see it through to the end, it helps to know what symptoms are actually dangerous and what symptoms are just the typical misery of detox.

First, some drugs have more dangerous withdrawal. Quitting alcohol, benzos, and opioids can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that may be dangerous. It’s better to detox from these in a clinic if you can. Medical staff can monitor your symptoms and give you medication to decrease the danger and make you less uncomfortable.

If you detox at home, have someone there to help you. The other person can provide a more objective opinion of your condition, keep you from relapsing when the cravings get strong, and get help if things go bad.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can escalate quickly. The most dangerous symptoms, DTs, usually don’t appear until about three days after your last drink. You can, however, experience withdrawal seizures after about six hours. These usually resolve by themselves but about one third of people who experience withdrawal seizures later experience DTs. If you experience withdrawal seizures, you are at greater risk for DTs and you should get help.

If you have just been experiencing normal symptoms–anxiety, irritability, nausea, headache, tremors–for a day or so, you may be fine. If you start experiencing worse symptoms after two or three days, there is cause for concern. These symptoms might include a fever over 100 degrees fahrenheit, severe confusion, hallucinations, and seizures. If you experience any of these go to the emergency room or call 911.

For all drugs, including alcohol, use some common sense. If there is blood in your vomit or stool, if you have abdominal pains, hallucinations, seizures, erratic heartbeat, high fever, or psychosis, you are having a medical emergency and need help immediately.

Keep in mind that in addition to certain drugs–alcohol, benzos, and opioids–having more dangerous withdrawal, there are other complicating factors. The first is how heavily you have used and for how long. The longer and heavier your use, the more on guard you should be against danger signals.

Withdrawal may be more dangerous if you are dealing with more than one thing. It might not just be alcohol withdrawal, but alcohol and stimulants. Or you have a heart condition that could be exacerbated by mild withdrawal. Sometimes addicts have injuries, including traumatic head injuries that can cause complications.

START your recovery at the Gardens Wellness Center in North Miami. Our comfortable environment offers the highest luxuries in detox, making sure you are safe and encouraged to make it through withdrawals. Changing the way we approach detox, our program is focused on holistic care in order to create a foundation of recovery. For information, call:  (844) 325-9168