Purpose of Detox
The purpose of detox programs are to get you started with the healing you need by ridding your body of the substances you have been using – and making it as comfortable and safe for you as possible. With the aid of the medical professionals and supportive staff at Serenity at Summit, you will be stabilized and your body detoxified from drugs and alcohol.
The most important thing to remember about detox is that it is only the first step in your journey toward recovery. In order to have the best chance for long-term sobriety you will need to continue with your treatment. Addiction is a powerful condition that affects you both physically and psychologically. The Serenity at Summit detox will help you deal with the physical aspects of addiction, and continued treatment – like inpatient rehabilitation – and begin to help you with the psychological component of addiction as well. Without continuing the next phase of either inpatient or outpatient treatment to deal with underlying issues and learn new coping skills, you run a very high risk of relapse.
What is Detoxification?
When you become addicted to drugs or alcohol and abruptly stop using, your body will begin to exhibit withdrawal symptoms. You may have experienced this when you have been unable to drink or secure drugs to feed your addiction. Withdrawal symptoms occur because through heavy or prolonged use of a substance, your body becomes accustomed to functioning with the drugs or alcohol in its system. Your body will crave more of the substance, and if it doesn’t receive it, the brain kicks into high gear and you will experience a complete reversal of the feelings you have when you use the drug.
The signs of withdrawal will begin to happen within a short period of time after your last use. Detox is the time period that it takes your body to rid itself of drugs or alcohol and stabilize. It will begin automatically after your last use of the drugs or alcohol. Due to the risks associated with withdrawal symptoms, the health-care professionals at Serenity at Summit will monitor your progress as you detox in a medically-supervised setting.
Withdrawal symptoms affect each individual differently, ranging from mild discomfort all the way to extremely serious effects such as seizure and death. In a medical detox facility, you can be monitored and supported should any difficulties through your withdrawal arise.
Addiction Treatment That is Tailored for You
At Serenity at Summit, we offer you a personalized drug and alcohol program. Because the symptoms of withdrawal and addiction vary by individual, the first step to your recovery is an initial assessment. This provides us with the information that we need to tailor your treatment especially for you. Within the first 24 hours of your arrival, you will meet with medical and clinical staff who will assess you and your drug or alcohol use. In your assessment, you can expect the following:
- Complete Patient History: A medical professional from our staff will obtain your medical, physical, nutritional, and dietary history.
- Mental Health Evaluation: A mental health professional from our staff will perform a full psychiatric evaluation and discuss medications you are currently taking.
- Social Evaluation: A licensed clinician from our staff will complete an integrative bio-psycho social evaluation.
Your Serenity at Summit initial assessment may be lengthy, but it is absolutely essential for us to get to know you and understand your drug or alcohol usage in order to provide you with the best personalized care while you are in treatment.
The First Stage of Drug and Alcohol Detox
The first phase of drug and alcohol detox can be quite intense for many patients. That is why it’s much safer to detox in a treatment center than to attempt an at-home detox. The Serenity at Summit medical and psychiatric staff are in the treatment center around the clock to provide you with effective monitoring and support.
Factors That Affect Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms for most drugs and alcohol may begin within several hours after the last use. Symptoms can vary widely in duration and intensity depending on several factors. The factors that will influence your individual detox experience include:
- How long you have been using. The length of time you have been using can play a big part in the intensity of your withdrawal symptoms. Daily use of drugs or alcohol over a period of several months or more means that you have developed higher tolerance levels to the substance. Higher tolerance usually means that you will suffer more severe withdrawal symptoms.
- The type of substance or combination of substances you have been using. This, of course, depends on the specific combination of substances that you were using. But when you are dependent on more than one type of drug, including alcohol, the type and severity of withdrawal symptoms will be unique.
- The amount of the drug or alcohol you have been using. It’s likely that as you have used your drug of choice, the doses that you consume have increased, which means that your tolerance has increased. Just like with the length of time you have used, the amount you typically use has an effect on the severity of withdrawal symptoms due to your level of tolerance.
- Your medical and mental health. Sometimes when you have been using substances, you may have underlying medical or mental health issues that have gone untreated due to you being in active addiction. If you suffer from conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, or depression, you may find that your withdrawal symptoms are amplified.
- The half-life of the substance you have been using. The half-life of a drug is the length of time that it takes the effects of the drug to be reduced by half. If the drug that you are using has a shorter half-life, then you will usually begin to experience withdrawal symptoms soon after your last dose. Longer-acting drugs will delay the beginning of withdrawal symptoms, sometimes for up to a few days.
Withdrawal Symptoms That Are Common with Most Drugs
While the symptoms of withdrawal may vary depending on the type of substances you use, there are some that are common to most types of drugs. Those include:
- Mood Disturbances – This can include mild to severe mood swings, anger, irritability, and agitation.
- Sleep Issues – Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep despite feeling fatigued is typical.
- Physical Symptoms – Common physical symptoms include shaking, sweating, stomach and digestive issues, and flu-like symptoms.
- Cravings – Most people undergoing detox experience intense cravings for their drug of choice.
In addition to specific withdrawal symptoms, there are a number of complications that occur while in detox – especially at the outset of symptoms. Detox facilities are equipped to handle these types of issues while providing safety and support to all their patients. Some of the possible problems include:
- Physical Violence – Unfortunately, some drugs can cause anger and aggression in the people who use them, and they may pose a risk to themselves, staff, and other patients. If there are people who are a danger to others, they may require sedation or restraint to protect everyone in the facility. These measures are not typically necessary, but they are available should the need arise.
- Psychosis – Symptoms of psychosis can be brought on by the effects of some drugs, like cocaine and methamphetamine. It is a dangerous complication that can cause a person to have extreme paranoia, hallucinations, and delusional thinking. They may even experience a full-blown psychotic break. Some people who suffer psychosis while detoxing do so because they have an underlying psychiatric condition, like schizophrenia. When someone is suffering from psychosis, they are unpredictable and erratic, and it takes professionals who are equipped to handle it to remedy the situation.
- Injury – Some circumstances will cause people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs to injure themselves, or they may have been injured by someone else (physically or sexually assaulted) prior to entering treatment. Injuries such as these need to be treated before addiction treatment is provided.
- Medical Illness – Chronic pain is one of the biggest reasons that people become addicted to substances. They are prescribed opioid painkillers to be able to live with the pain and ultimately become dependent on or addicted to them. As the patient goes through detox, the chronic pain will return along with withdrawal symptoms. So, it is important that these types of patients are monitored and treated for the pain (with non-addictive medications) by medical professionals.
- Self-harm or Suicidal Thoughts – Depression is a common symptom of withdrawal for many types of drugs. In some cases, the depression is severe and may lead to a patient trying to harm or kill themself, or having thoughts about doing so. In situations like this, the patient must be monitored and protected at all times. If suicidal ideations are indicated during the initial assessment, the patient will be immediately treated until those ideations have passed and the patient is stable. Then, the focus can be placed on withdrawal and detox.
Withdrawal Symptoms for Common Substances
Different substances can cause specific withdrawal symptoms in addition to those that are listed as common symptoms above. The symptoms that you will experience during withdrawal from alcohol may be different than those you experience during cocaine withdrawal. The following are some of the symptoms commonly experienced with specific substances.
One in every 12 adults in the U.S. struggles with alcohol abuse or addiction; it is the most commonly abused substance. Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can vary widely depending on the individual and their use of alcohol, ranging from feeling the effects of a hangover to seizures and even death.
Symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Insomnia, nightmares, and headache
- Nausea and vomiting/loss of appetite
- Irritability or mood swings
- Trouble concentrating or thinking clearly
- Muscle aches
- Dizziness, shakiness, or tremors
- Delirium tremens
- Elevated heart rate
- Shallow breathing
- Clammy skin
One of the most severe and dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens. It occurs in people whose drinking has been heavy and has lasted for a long period of time. Delirium tremens, while only affecting about 10% of people who have alcohol withdrawal symptoms, is a medical emergency and can result in death if not treated. It is a condition that affects the nervous system and it can cause hallucinations, seizures, changes in mental function, and sleep that lasts for a day or more.
Benzodiazepines (or benzos, for short) are drugs that are prescribed for anxiety, panic disorders and seizures. When they are not taken as prescribed, it is considered abuse, but even those who do not abuse benzos may still experience withdrawal symptoms when the medication is discontinued. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and include brand names like Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and Zolpidem.
Symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Tension and headache
- Difficulty concentrating and short-term memory loss
- Anxiety, irritability, and panic attacks
- Disturbed sleep
- Heart palpitations or irregular heart rate
- Muscle pain and stiffness
Opiates include heroin and prescription pain medication like Morphine, Oxycodone, Codeine, Methadone, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, and Percocet. Opiates provide users with a euphoric feeling while numbing pain, and are considered highly addictive. Heroin is the fastest acting and has the shortest half-life, which means its effects and the time it takes to leave the body are the shortest. Withdrawal from opiates is often painful and flu-like, but severe in nature.
Symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Intense cravings
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation
- Drowsiness, tiredness
- Decreased libido
- Respiratory depression
- Loss of consciousness, coma
- Confusion, clouding of mental function
- Cold, clammy skin
- Reduced vision
Cocaine and Methamphetamine
Cocaine and methamphetamine are stimulants with a very short half-life. These drugs increase the heart rate and elevate blood pressure. Users of cocaine and meth experience a euphoric feeling, increased energy and aggression, but it is short-lived causing addicts to binge on the drugs. Withdrawal symptoms are likewise short-lived, but can be severe.
Symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Damage to central nervous system
- Anxiety, paranoia
- Skin irritability
- Respiratory failure
- Heart attacks, heart failure
- Respiratory problems, failure
Because of all the possible withdrawal symptoms and the potential for other complications, it is always in your best interest to attend a drug and alcohol detox facility like Serenity at Summit that will ensure your safety.
Psychological Withdrawal During Detox
Even when physical drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms are not severe, the psychological aspects can be. Becoming abstinent from most, if not all, substances will cause some degree of psychological distress as your body goes through withdrawals. The most common psychological symptom and the most likely to cause relapse is cravings.
When you stop using drugs or alcohol, you will likely suffer from intense cravings for the substance. This is especially true as you endure the physical aspects of withdrawal. Cravings are hard to overcome because you know that using your substance of choice again will make the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal go away quickly. This is when you must stay the course, and the support that you receive while in detox will help you with that.
Other psychological aspects include anxiety and depression. As your body works to stabilize itself during detox, your brain chemistry will be off-kilter, and that can cause you to feel both depressed and anxious. Know that these symptoms get better as your body heals. It is possible that you may have underlying mental health issues that are completely treatable, but it’s hard to know until you are detoxed from drugs and alcohol. Again, staying the course is necessary during detox, as is accepting the psychological support that you receive while you are there.
Methods of Drug and Alcohol Detox
You have different options for how you detox from drugs and alcohol. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all detox for everyone. Just as withdrawal symptoms can vary due to various factors, so can the method that you use for detoxing. Some of the different approaches to detox are:
- Cold Turkey – This method may be used at-home or at a detox facility. It just means that you stop using drugs or alcohol without medication assistance.
- Medication-Assisted – This method is completed in a detox facility and includes prescription medication to assist with the symptoms of withdrawal. It can be long- or short-term depending on the medication prescribed.
Cold Turkey Detox
The term “cold turkey” means that you stop using all drugs and alcohol at once, without the assistance of any prescribed medication. Depending on the type of substance you are using, and the length of time and manner in which you have been using it, you may be able to detox safely at home. However, there are some risks in doing so.
Risk of Drug and Alcohol Detox At Home
- Relapse – Suffering through the withdrawal symptoms of detox is not a pleasurable, or even a comfortable experience. You have to deal with both physical and psychological symptoms that can range from mild to severe. When you are in the middle of withdrawal, at the peak of its severity, it is very easy to find yourself considering using again to stop the pain and discomfort. You know what it is that will make the withdrawal symptoms go away, and if you are at home and not in a detox facility where drugs and alcohol are not available, you may not be able to withstand the temptation to use and feel better.
- Overdose – Once you stop using drugs and alcohol, your body will begin to try to stabilize itself. That means that your tolerance to your substance of choice will almost immediately start to change. The amount that you used to use may quickly become an amount that is too overwhelming for your body. If you relapse after any period of time abstaining, you run the risk of overdose because your body is already getting used to functioning without the drug.
- Medical Issues – Some drugs, including alcohol, have very severe withdrawal symptoms. For those symptoms, you need to have access to medical help in case of an emergency. For example, alcohol withdrawal can cause delirium tremens, which if left untreated, can be life threatening. Dealing with delirium tremens at home just isn’t safe. Additionally, people who have been in active addiction for an extended period of time may have underlying medical issues that have been untreated. Withdrawal symptoms can exacerbate those issues and cause medical complications that require professional intervention.
- Mental Health Problems – If you have underlying mental health issues, you may not even know it while you’re using drugs or alcohol. When you abruptly stop using, your mental health issues may become overwhelming. It may be difficult to discern whether your feelings of anxiety, depression, agitation, and irritability are simply withdrawal symptoms, or if they are symptoms of a larger mental health condition.
It is always safer to detox in a treatment facility like Serenity at Summit. If any medical or mental health issues arise there, you will have medical professionals on hand to help you through them. At home, you may suffer extremely negative consequences should those problems occur.
If you are determined to detox without medication assistance, you can discuss that with the Serenity at Summit staff within the detox center, and see if it is feasible for you.
When you attend the Serenity at Summit drug detox facility, your option to have medication-assisted detox will be available to you. You will be given medication to help keep your withdrawal symptoms at a tolerable level and to help you detox safely.
The types of medications that you may be given at the Serenity at Summit detox depends on the substance you are withdrawing from and the severity of your symptoms. Anti-nausea medications like Phenergan and Zofran are commonly used to aid with detox. Over-the-counter medications like loperamide may be given for problems with diarrhea, and aches and pains may be treated with ibuprofen and acetaminophen. These medications are commonly used to ease the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms.
You may also receive, under the care of a Serenity at Summit physician, prescription drugs that will aid in your detox. For example, if you are addicted to alcohol or benzodiazepines, you may be given small doses of benzodiazepines to manage your withdrawal. Or, if you are addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers, you may be prescribed Suboxone to minimize your cravings and help you detox.
If you are given prescription medication for your detox, it will usually only be for a short period of time, like three to ten days. You will then be weaned off of it slowly.
You may also be given nutritional supplements, vitamins, fluids, non-narcotic pain relievers, and other non-addictive medications. The goal at Serenity at Summit is to help you stay as comfortable as possible and to ensure a safe detox.
The Duration in a Drug and Alcohol Detox
The duration of a stay at Serenity at Summit for drug and alcohol detox is considered the amount of time that it takes for withdrawal symptoms to subside and for you to stabilize physically and mentally. The length of time can vary greatly depending on the individual and his or her drug use.
There are typically two phases of withdrawal, the acute and post-acute. The acute phase from most substances is typically a short amount of time, while post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can last much longer. PAWS usually involves the psychological aspects of withdrawal, which may linger long after the body is rid of drugs and alcohol.
General Detox Time Frames for Common Drugs
Different drugs affect the body and mind differently. That makes determining specific time frames for withdrawal difficult. The following are some general time frames, but remember that there are many factors that can cause these time frames to vary widely.
- Alcohol – The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be severe and life threatening, requiring emergency medical attention. They can last anywhere from a few days to months after your last drink, depending on your drinking habits. The most severe withdrawal symptoms, including delirium tremens, seizures, and heart problems are seen in alcoholics who typically drink around 4 pints of wine, 7 pints of beer, or a pint or more of liquor daily for several months or more. The general time frame for the acute phase of alcohol withdrawal can be about two weeks for detox at Serenity at Summit
- Benzodiazepines – The withdrawal from benzodiazepines will usually begin 24 to 72 hours after you stop taking them. They can last up to several months, but most of the physical withdrawal symptoms will subside within a month. You can have withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking these types of anti-anxiety medications even if you have always taken them as prescribed.
- Cocaine and Methamphetamine – Cocaine and other stimulants enter and leave the body’s bloodstream quickly. The highs from these types of drugs are short-lived, often causing people addicted to these substances to use them in a binging manner. The physical detox from cocaine, methamphetamine, and other stimulants is usually short – lasting several hours to several days. But the psychological symptoms, including cravings, can go on much longer.
- Opiates – Withdrawal from opioid drugs like heroin and prescription painkillers can vary in duration. Some opiates have a shorter half-life, so the withdrawal will start sooner. Users who stop taking opioid drugs usually feel the effects of withdrawal begin several hours to a couple of days after their last use, depending on the half-life of the drug they took. Overall, the withdrawal symptoms of opioid drugs can last several weeks, but the physical effects are typically gone after about two weeks.
What to Expect from Serenity at Summit’s Detox Program
When you choose Serenity at Summit for your drug or alcohol detox, you will be cared for by our caring staff of physicians, nurse practitioners, clinicians, psychiatrists, and counselors. Your initial assessment will allow them to create a personalized medical, psycho/social, and nutritional plan for your treatment at Serenity at Summit.
The dedicated staff at Serenity at Summit will work together to ensure that you receive the best personal course of treatment based on your needs. Our approach to addiction recovery is a holistic one. We believe that a comprehensive holistic program – one designed to heal the mind, body, and spirit – will be of the greatest benefit to you and all of our clients.
Holistic Detox – Whole Body Healing
Serenity at Summit offers a unique holistic detox program with a range of therapies and techniques to help the mind, body, and spirit begin the process of healing from addiction. The Serenity at Summit approach not only ensures that your detox will be done as safely as possible, but also that it will lay a solid foundation for your long-lasting recovery. Our holistic treatments address the needs of each individual and they include aspects of nutritional care, proper hygiene, improved sleep habits, and physical activity.
In addition to individual, group, and family counseling, which are integral to your recovery, you may choose to participate in the following holistic treatments:
The goal is to provide you with treatment for your whole self – mind, body, and spirit.
Drug and Alcohol Detox is Only the First Step to Recovery
Going to Serenity at Summit detox and ridding yourself of the drugs and alcohol in your system is a huge step in the right direction. However, it’s important that you remember that detox alone isn’t a sufficient treatment for addiction. Many people who suffer addiction also have underlying mental health issues for which they have coped by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Those mental health issues, whether caused by physical or sexual trauma, grief, violence, or major life changes such as divorce or loss of a job may significantly increase their addictive behavior and lead to dependency and addiction. If you suffer from these underlying issues they must be dealt with after your detox is complete to ensure that you have the best chances for long-term recovery.
That is why it is important to consider further treatment for your addiction after you have completed detox. When you attend an addiction treatment program following detox at Serenity at Summit, you will be able to participate in the following effective therapies and activities:
- Individual and group therapy. This is where the real healing begins. You will work with a Serenity at Summit counselor to determine if you have underlying issues that have resulted in your addiction, and how to deal with them. You will also have to opportunity to participate in Serenity at Summit group therapy, where you will receive and give peer support to others who are in treatment alongside you.
- Family therapy. Addiction doesn’t only affect the person suffering with addiction. It affects everyone around that person – especially his or her family. You and your family will be able to work through some of the damage that was caused by your addiction, and your family will learn what they need to know to be able to support you in your recovery.
- Medical care. If you have medical conditions that need to be managed a new way, you will receive help in doing that. When you no longer need to self-medicate, your recovery will be much easier.
- Serenity at Summit educational classes and lectures. You will learn so much about addiction, how it works, why it happens, and how to be successful in recovery. The goal of addiction treatment is to provide you with the tools you need to live a life of recovery after treatment. You will get those tools in educational classes and lectures held at Serenity at Summit detox.
- Relapse prevention education. You will learn to identify your triggers and what to do when they come up, so that you don’t pick up drugs or alcohol again. You will likely work with a Serenity at Summit therapist to come up with a recovery plan for after rehab.
- Life and coping skills classes. After addiction treatment, you have to learn a new way to live. These classes will help you do that.
Benefits of Continuing on to Drug and Alcohol Rehab
Besides those listed above, there are many benefits that you will receive if you continue your addiction treatment by going to an inpatient rehab. Some of those benefits are:
- Around the clock care and support. When you are in a rehab facility like Serenity at Summit, your emotions are apt to be all over the place. Whether you are feeling fearful and anxious, or relieved and hopeful, there is someone there – someone knowledgeable and qualified to work in the addiction realm – 24 hours a day. It’s comforting to know that you never have to be alone, and that you have ample support to begin your recovery.
- A sense of community. Living full time with a group of people at the Serenity at Summit facility who share your same struggles builds a sense of community and fellowship. Peer support is an important part of recovery, and residential treatment allows for that like no other program. Friendships and bonding happen quickly in rehab, often lasting long after treatment is over.
- Psychiatric care. Many patients who enter Serenity at Summit rehab discover that they have a dual diagnosis. That means that in addition to suffering from addiction, they have a mental health issue like chronic depression, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, bi-polar disorder, etc. This is very common because many people who become addicted to drugs begin using as a form of self-medicating. Once sober, other issues can to be treated improving the patient’s opportunity for successful recovery.
- Outside distractions are eliminated. Because inpatient treatment at Serenity at Summit removes you from your daily life, there are no distractions to take your focus away from recovery. Not having to worry about the challenges you may have day-to-day allows you to build a strong foundation of recovery before you have to deal with them.
- Time to recover. Most importantly, residential rehab at Serenity at Summit provides you with time to focus on yourself and your recovery. In the rush of daily life, it is easy to forego the positive things you do for yourself, instead taking care of problems that come up. When you are in an inpatient treatment program like the one offered at Serenity at Summit, there is nothing that you have to take care of except yourself and your recovery.
- Support after treatment. Once you leave treatment, the support doesn’t end. The residential treatment at Serenity at Summit offers continued support through aftercare. Serenity at Summit staff are always just a phone call or e-mail away long after the alumni has graduated.
Transitioning from Detox into Continued Addiction Treatment at Serenity at Summit
After you complete detox at Serenity at Summit, we will help you get started on the next level of your care. You may be considering continuing your treatment at our Haverhill, Massachusetts location, or we can help you transition to a local addiction treatment program with a new provider.
If you choose to attend the Serenity at Summit inpatient residential program you will find that it is personalized and tailored specifically for you, just like you will find our detox program to be. The Serenity at Summit residential treatment program provides you with a fluid daily schedule that is individualized just for you. Your schedule will integrate overall wellness with a focus on your recovery. You’ll participate in mindful meditation, check-ins, and psycho-educational groups in the mornings. The afternoons are spent in individual counseling sessions, integrative movement, and group sessions. Your evenings will have 12-step meetings and a variety of holistic activities. Don’t worry, you will have plenty of breaks so you are able to unwind and relax.
If you choose to continue your treatment locally, we have our own Summit outpatient facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and we collaborate with reputable inpatient and outpatient addiction facilities throughout the Northeast, so we will help you find the next level of care that is right for you. We do a comprehensive consultation and records transfer with your new facility, and we keep in touch with your new provider. Our recommendation for continued addiction treatment varies by individual. Some clients are ready to go to outpatient treatment, while others will benefit most at a residential facility. Whichever point you are at as you complete detox, we will help you find the same level of continuing care that you experienced at Serenity at Summit.
Don’t Put Off Going to Detox – Start Your Healing Today
Entering the Serenity at Summit drug and alcohol detox facility may be a scary and overwhelming experience. Know that you will receive a wide range of medical and psychological support from the staff at Serenity at Summit that will help protect you from the risks of trying to detox on your own when you attend detox treatment. You will be in a drug and alcohol-free environment, be more likely to complete detox without relapsing, and your physical and mental health will be cared for. Should any complications arise due to withdrawal symptoms, they will be cared for by the trained medical staff at Serenity at Summit to help you through it as comfortably as possible.
Don’t delay going to detox, at Serenity at Summit we will help you start healing from addiction today. We will work to restore health to your body, mind and spirit with our integrative holistic approach to recovery.