Detox services are provided within the safe environment of any reputable clinic. When necessary, home-based medical detox can be facilitated by fully-qualified staff.
It is advised that individuals do not try and detox on their own. Drug and alcohol experts around the world agree that detox is a medical emergency due to the potential for serious injuries or death. Detox should always be done under the care of trained medical professionals only.
What is Detox?
In terms of addiction recovery, detox is a process that allows the body to withdraw from addictive substances and cleanse itself from the chemicals left behind. Detox can be conducted quickly (often called rapid addiction detox, including Amino Acids Detox), using the old-fashioned cold turkey method, or more gradually with the use of special medications.
Certain substances like alcohol and benzodiazepines are candidates for a more gradual detox. The effects these substances have on the human body require more careful management because of the health implications they present. When gradual detox is recommended, it is always with the best interests of the recovering addict in mind.
Make it a point to speak with your GP or another health professional you trust.
Which Substances Require Detox?
Addiction Helper works with clinics to carry out safe, medically supervised detox from a long list of substances including illicit drugs, prescription and over-the-counter medications, alcohol, and so-called ‘legal highs’ involving synthetic drugs or household solvents.
Whether medically supervised detox is necessary will depend on your circumstances. You will be assessed in terms of the seriousness of your addiction, how long you have been addicted, the quantity of addictive substances you are taking on a regular basis, and your current health. Addiction treatment specialists can advise you further in this area.
The following is just a short list of some of the substances you can detox from:
- Alcohol – Common alcoholic drinks such as spirits, cider, lager, beer, and wine. Truth be told, most chronic alcoholics do not necessarily have a specific drink they focus on. The only requirement is that there is alcohol involved.
- Illicit Drugs – When talking about illicit drugs, we are referring to those that are illegal to possess or use. Examples include heroin, coca, crack, cannabis, crystal methamphetamine, amphetamines, hallucinogens, and MCAT.
- Legal Highs – The category of legal highs is unfortunately growing, due to the creativity of some individuals in discovering new things to abuse. Examples frequently seen in the UK include butane gas, bath salts, glue, plant food, and household solvents.
- Prescription Drugs – Prescription drugs can be especially problematic because they are legal in their original dispensing. Nonetheless, you can be addicted to prescription drugs like codeine, morphine, benzodiazepines, tramadol and various sleeping pills.
- Over the Counter Medications – OTC medications run the gamut from antihistamines to cough syrups and cold and flu remedies. Although many people believe you cannot be addicted to over-the-counter medications, it is simply not true.
There are many more types of substances to which one can be addicted, this is just a short list. If you have even the slightest suspicion that you or someone you love might be addicted, please do not hesitate to call our helpline and speak to one of our addiction treatment counsellors.
When Should You Seek Help?
If you exhibit any of the signs of substance abuse or addiction (see the lists below) then it is time to seek help. Our addiction treatment counsellors are available 24 hours per day, every day of the year. There is no legitimate reason to wait until tomorrow.
Please understand that the longer you wait the more damage is being done by drug or alcohol addiction. Please also understand that no good can come from it. Every day you continue your addictive behaviour is another day you are ruining your own life as well as the lives of those around you. If you wait long enough it could end up costing you your life.
The following symptoms and signs are typical of an abuse problem:
- you use alcohol or drugs more than once or twice per week
- you engage in binge drinking more than once every couple of months
- you engage in drug or alcohol use to feel better
- you engage in drug or alcohol use because others are doing it
- you know you should stop but you do not really want to.
The following symptoms and signs are typical of an addiction problem:
- you use drugs or alcohol as soon as you get up for the day
- you plan your day around drug or alcohol use
- you worry about having enough drugs or alcohol available
- you’re willing to go to great lengths to procure drugs or alcohol
- you’re spending more of your budget on drugs or alcohol
- you feel as though you can’t cope without using
- you need to use more to achieve the same effect
- you ignore concerns others raised about your drug or alcohol use.
If you recognise any of these symptoms in yourself, you should seek help right away. If you are visiting this website on behalf of a friend or loved one, it is equally important for you to take action if you recognise the signs or symptoms.
The sooner help is accessed, the greater the chances the addict will be successfully treated. However, the opposite is also true. The longer treatment is delayed then the more difficult it is to achieve long-term sobriety.
Where is Detox Carried Out?
Detox is conducted at both NHS and private clinics throughout the UK. The majority of detox procedures occur within the rehab clinics, as this is the safest way. When detox is provided by a certified clinic, a team of professionals are on hand to monitor the addict throughout the duration of the process.
Furthermore, private rehab clinics offer more than just detox. Each person is provided compassionate care from the support staff as well as peer support from others also going through treatment. Both types of support can be immensely helpful in staying motivated and focused throughout the detox and rehab process. Moreover, when support supplies the necessary motivation for detox, it can motivate toward long-term abstinence.
Some clinics also offer detox as an outpatient service. This means you will attend the clinic on a daily basis to receive medication and track your progress. As long as the clinical staff sees no danger to your well-being, this type of detox is allowed to continue. Should your outpatient detox present some sort of medical emergency then you may be advised to switch to an inpatient detox.
The important thing is that detox is monitored by medical professionals regardless of where it’s carried out. As stated earlier, this is the best way to ensure a safe detox process that mitigates the risk of serious injuries or death.
When is Home Detox Recommended?
From time-to-time, there may be a circumstance where an individual is not able to leave his or her home for detox in a hospital or private clinic. In such cases, some clinics can facilitate a home detox programme. Be advised that home detox is only offered when it is appropriate.
Clinics can facilitate home detox by arranging for a registered nurse to monitor and supervise your care. That nurse will be experienced in proper and safe detox methods. Rest assured that your safety is their primary concern, so it can be arranged for the nurse to stay in your home while you are undergoing detox. The nurse will always be available to make sure withdrawal is appropriately managed, including helping to mitigate detox symptoms.
What Happens After Detox?
For some people, detox is sufficient to help them permanently overcome drug or alcohol addiction. These types of clients will typically receive some sort of follow-up care once detox is complete. Follow-up care is designed to make sure relapse does not occur.
Follow up can be provided in any of the following forms:
- Group Support – Organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous and narcotics anonymous are examples of those providing group support. You’ll find many of these organisations use the popular 12-step programme that encourages recovering addicts to take ownership of their circumstances.
- Short Term Counselling – Even when detox is highly successful in breaking addiction, recovering addicts usually need at least some short term counselling to address future temptations and social pressures. Short term counselling usually takes place at the office of a professional.
- Family Counselling – Families are often just as affected by addiction as the addicts themselves. Therefore, family counselling is an important tool used to help pick up the pieces after detox is complete.
When detox alone is not sufficient for long-term recovery, an addict might then participate in a rehab programme lasting between 4 and 12 weeks. Long-term rehab is provided under both outpatient and residential models. In the case of outpatient rehab, counselling and support services are accessed through a variety of resources, including the NHS, local and international charities, professional counsellors, support groups and private clinics.
Long-term rehab at a residential clinic provides a full range of therapies in a single setting. This type of long-term care is always the best option for the chronic alcoholic or addict who has been at it for a while. It is usually the best option for dual diagnosis patients as well.
What is a Dual Diagnosis Patient?
There are times when alcoholism or drug addiction will occur simultaneously with some sort of mental or anxiety disorder. A good example would be an alcoholic who has also been diagnosed with clinical depression. Both conditions present a dual diagnosis.
Under a dual diagnosis scenario, it is unlikely NHS alcohol detox alone will be sufficient for total recovery. The problem with dual diagnosis is that each of conditions needs to be treated simultaneously, in a way that does not make the other condition worse. This is a delicate balance of give-and-take, which is best left to experienced professionals.
A dual diagnosis scenario usually requires long-term rehab. Moreover, even after the addiction portion has been fully conquered, treatment for the mental or anxiety disorder is often a life-long process. A dual diagnosis scenario is one in which detox alone is simply not suitable.