Category Archives: Detox

The Dangers of Rapid Detox

This entry was posted in Detox and tagged , on by .

Drinking Detox Drink

One of the most difficult parts of recovery is that it takes work. Once you develop an addiction, you will be more at risk for becoming addicted again. Fortunately, this risk is reduced as you move further out in your recovery.

Detox works in a similar way. Some addicts want to move through the withdrawal process to skip over the uncomfortable symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no quick solution to withdrawal. Rapid detox from drugs and alcohol is dangerous and can actually complicate a healthy recovery.

Let’s learn more about the dangers to rapid detox and the safer, more effective options available.

How Did Ultra-Rapid Detox Get its Start?

Rapid detox was developed over 20 years ago as a way to help addicted soldiers. Patients were sedated for several hours and given the drug Naltrexone, which was implanted into the body. The Naltrexone gradually released medication into the body to block the receptors that are responsible for getting high. Therefore, if a person slipped up and used heroin, the drug would have no effect on them.  

What are the Dangers of a Fast Detox?

Rapid detox was marketed as a fast, painless way to go through detox and end addiction. However, rapid detox is not a dream come true. In fact, ultra-rapid detox still includes all of the painful, uncomfortable opiate withdrawal symptoms, including stomach cramps, muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea. The only difference is that addicts aren’t awake for all of it.

Worse yet, when patients do wake up, they are hit hard with violent withdrawal symptoms as well as the effects from anesthesia. Patients usually remain in bed for several days following the treatment. Heavy sedation, adverse effects and allergic reactions are also major risk factors.

Rapid Detox: Not a Cure for Addiction

Another issue that is not addressed in rapid detox is what led the person to abuse drugs and alcohol in the first place. Even if you were to go through the detox process without any issues, the underlying reasons for the addiction are not addressed. Do you suffer from depression? Do you have trouble managing your anxiety? Do you have physical abuse or trauma in your background?

By not working through these issues, there’s a strong possibility that you will return to using drugs as a form of coping. To recover from addiction and any co-occurring disorders, you need ongoing counseling and support.

Safer Alternatives

A person who detoxes isn’t relieved of addiction. Detox is just the first step in getting the body strong enough to go through counseling. The safest and most effective way to detox is in a medically supervised setting.

The River Source offers around-the-clock care while our patients go through the detox process. You will never be alone, and we will effectively manage your symptoms as they arise. Once withdrawal is complete – usually 3-7 days depending on your addiction and its severity – we can start you on a treatment plan that includes counseling and holistic therapy.

If you or a loved one is battling a drug or alcohol addiction, detox is the first step to recovery. Don’t believe the quick fixes that are out there. Not only are they misleading, but also they can compromise a healthy recovery. Call The River Source and let’s go through this process together in the safest and most effective way possible.

What are the Risks of At-Home Detoxes?

This entry was posted in Detox and tagged , on by .

Addicts often like to believe that they have things under control. The same mentality can be present when it’s time to detox. Addicts tend to think that they can stop using drugs or alcohol on their own. The prevalence of detoxes in our society doesn’t help, either. With so many different drinks and pills on the market, people have the illusion that they can manage detox in the comfort and privacy of their own home.

Unfortunately, at-home detoxes can be dangerous and sometimes deadly. The process is intense and uncomfortable. It is best done through a licensed detox facility that provides medical supervision around the clock. This arrangement isn’t a luxury for the most elite addicts. It’s an essential requirement to getting clean and sober.

Let’s explore the risks of at-home detoxes and why they should be avoided.

Debilitating Withdrawal Symptoms

Some withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, but they aren’t deadly. Others can be fatal. Alcohol is the most dangerous drug to detox from. Users cannot stop cold turkey. Sudden cessation can lead to hallucinations, convulsions and seizures. Withdrawal from heroin is also extremely difficult and potentially unsafe. Withdrawal symptoms can lead to respiratory complications and seizures.

High Risk for Relapse

Addiction is not a character flaw. Once a person has detoxed from drugs or alcohol, it’s not their “choice” to return. Unfortunately, if addicts don’t receive counseling and therapeutic help from a licensed treatment center, the risk of relapse is very high.

Many addicts who have tried to detox at home ended up relapsing immediately. Either they couldn’t tolerate the withdrawal symptoms or they were surrounded by too much temptation. Keep in mind that when the body goes through detox, its tolerance is lowered. If a person relapses and takes the same dose as when their tolerance was high, they could die from an accidental overdose.

Compounding Mental Health Issues

Cocaine is a drug that has severe psychological effects. If an underlying condition is present, such as depression or PTSD, this will only complicate the withdrawal process. Doing an at-home detox doesn’t address psychological or emotional effects, and it does not take into account mental health conditions. A person detoxing on their own can be at risk for suicide or other harmful behaviors.

Short-Term Results

Addicts need time to heal. Even if an addict is to succeed at home, they don’t have the tools and resources that they would if they sought treatment from an addiction treatment center. The next time the recovering addict is dealt stress or an anxious situation, would they know how to handle it? Chances are high they would revert back to their self-destructive tendencies.

In the end, at-home detoxes are rarely effective. Addicts can benefit from a comprehensive treatment program that includes safe, medically supervised detox, counseling and an aftercare plan. Not only does this make the treatment process more manageable and rewarding, but also it increases the chances for long-term recovery.

How Long Does Drug Detox Take?

This entry was posted in Detox and tagged , , on by .

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 25 million Americans over 12 years of age used an illicit drug in the month before the 2011 survey. This means that almost 10 percent of the population over the age of 12 could be classified as a current drug user. This number is starting, because addiction has serious mental, physical, interpersonal, professional, and legal consequences.

Drugs and alcohol change the way the brain functions. When someone takes one of these substances, their brain releases a flood of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, resulting in feelings of relaxation and euphoria. These sensations are known as a high. With continued abuse of these substances, a person’s brain changes, causing dependency and tolerance. Both dependency and tolerance are key components of addiction.

Once someone is dependent on drugs or alcohol, they will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop taking the substance. Withdrawal symptoms are sometimes so unpleasant that a person might return to drug or alcohol use as a way to avoid them. However, returning to substance abuse, also known as relapsing, can be dangerous and it does not help a person overcome addiction.

Drug detox can help patients manage their withdrawal symptoms before moving on to the next stage of recovery. Many people want to know, “How long does it take to detox from drugs?” The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the type of substance that person is addicted to. By understanding how long detox takes, individuals can prepare for the detox process.

Drug Withdrawal Timeline

Part of the detoxification process is having to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms occur when someone stops taking a substance that their body and mind have come to rely on. These unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous, symptoms include both physical and psychological symptoms that vary depending on the type of substance the person has become dependent on. The withdrawal timeline also varies based on the type of substance used. The body absorbs and retains different drugs for different amounts of time. Some substances may leave the body more quickly than others, causing withdrawal symptoms to appear within hours of the last dose.

The length and severity of withdrawal symptoms tend to vary from person to person. In addition to the type of substance, some factors that influence the intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms include the method of consumption (injecting, smoking, snorting, or swallowing), the dosage, the length of abuse, the person’s family history, and the person’s overall mental and physical health.

Take the following example of two people. The first person has injected large doses of heroin for several years on a regular basis. They have underlying mental health issues and a family history of addiction. The second person has taken a significantly smaller dose of heroin for a much shorter period of time. They also have no co-existing mental health disorders and no family history of addiction. Of these two people, the first person is much more likely than the second to experience intense withdrawal symptoms for a longer period of time.

The Drug Detox Process

Although it may be possible to detox from some substances at home, it is helpful to undergo some form of medically-supervised detox to make withdrawal safer and more manageable. There are a number of options available for drug detox, both inpatient and outpatient. Additionally, there are many approaches to detox, including medical detox and naturopathic detox.

Patients have the option to undergo outpatient or inpatient detox at a drug and alcohol treatment center. The benefit of selecting an inpatient detox program is that the person will have access to 24/7 medical monitoring and support in a temptation-free environment. Doctors can also devise a schedule to slowly wean the patient off of the substance they’re addicted to.

Inpatient treatment is often best for patients who have been unable to complete the detox process in the past. It is also recommended for people who are detoxing from drugs with more dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Someone who is addicted to alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opioids should always undergo medical detox to ensure that they can safely get these substances out of their body.

With the most severe withdrawal symptoms, inpatient detox in a hospital setting may be the best option. Certain substances can produce life-threatening withdrawal symptoms like seizures, high-blood pressure, fever, and an erratic heart rate. When these symptoms occur, hospitalization may be the best way to keep patients safe and comfortable.

How Long Does Cocaine Detox Take?

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that quickly enters and leaves the bloodstream. Although cocaine can increase a person’s blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, many people take the drug because it results in euphoria, feelings of high self-confidence, and heightened energy levels. A cocaine high is short-lived, but the drug is still very addictive.

There are two forms of cocaine. The first type is a powdered form that people can inject, smoke, or snort. The second form is crack cocaine, a rock form of the substance that people typically smoke. Of all of these methods of consumption, injecting and smoking the drug tends to produce more intense highs and faster crashes.

When it comes to cocaine detox, a person can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms in three phases. The initial crash period occurs nine hours to four days after the last dose of the drug. Symptoms during this time include agitation, depression, excessive sleeping, and increased appetite. The next stage is the acute withdrawal period and it lasts for one to three weeks. During this time, the person experiences anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and drug cravings. The final stage is the extinction period, which lasts for several months and involves depression and cravings for cocaine.

Since the withdrawal symptoms from cocaine are primarily psychological, they are not considered life-threatening. However, a patient should receive psychological support during the detox and recovery process to manage drug cravings and other psychological symptoms.

How Long Does Heroin Detox Take?

People who are addicted to heroin start taking the drug because it produces feelings of euphoria. Heroin is a very addictive substance that takes effect very soon after a person takes it. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 517,000 people abused heroin in 2013.

When a person stops taking heroin, the withdrawal symptoms they experience tend to include psychological and physical, flu-like symptoms that come in two stages. During the early stage, people experience agitation, anxiety, insomnia, muscle aches, runny nose, sweating, watery eyes, and yawning. The late stage of withdrawal symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chills, and dilated pupils.

Heroin tends to leave the body rapidly, so people who are detoxing from heroin experience withdrawal symptoms within 12 hours of their last dose. These symptoms often peak at 24 to 48 hours, but they can last anywhere from one week to a few months.

How Long Does Prescription Painkiller Detox Take?

Prescription painkillers are prescribed by a physician to treat severe pain after an injury or surgery. Like heroin, prescription painkillers produce feelings of pleasure and euphoria. These addictive opioid drugs are also problematic, because 1.8 million Americans struggle with an addiction to prescription painkillers like OxyContin, methadone, and morphine.

The symptoms of withdrawal from prescription painkillers tend to mimic the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. At first, a person will experience agitation, anxiety, insomnia, muscle aches, and sweating. Later in the withdrawal process, they will experience abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and chills.

When someone is detoxing from prescription painkillers, they can start to experience withdrawal symptoms within 8 to 12 hours after their last dose, with the symptoms peaking at 12 to 48 hours. These withdrawal symptoms typically only last 5 to 10 days. However, methadone follows a slightly different timeline. Methadone withdrawal symptoms start 24 to 48 hours after the last dose, peak within the first few days, and last for two to four weeks.

How Long Does Benzodiazepine Detox Take?

Benzodiazepines, also known as “benzos,” are a group of prescription drugs that are used to treat anxiety, panic disorder, and seizures. Sometimes, a doctor might also prescribe benzodiazepines as a muscle relaxant or a sleep aid. Drugs in this class include Ativan, Valium, and Xanax.

Since benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants, they activate gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA). GABA acts as a natural sedative, which makes people feel calm. While this effect is useful for treating certain psychological conditions, it carries the potential for abuse.

When a person detoxes from benzodiazepines, they can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms within one to four days after their last dose. As the brain tries to rebalance itself, GABA levels drop, resulting in anxiety and insomnia during the early stages of withdrawal.

Other symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal include difficulty concentrating, headaches, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, irritability, muscle pain, nausea, panic attacks, short-term memory loss, sweating, tension, and tremors. These symptoms typically peak in the first two weeks, but they can last for months or years if the person does not receive proper treatment. This is known as protracted withdrawal, but therapy and psychological counseling can help.

Some people may experience even more serious symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal, including delirium, fever, hallucinations, and seizures. These symptoms can be life-threatening, because they have the potential to result in a coma or even death. Due to the risk of such dangerous withdrawal symptoms, drug treatment professionals recommend that all patients who are trying to recover from benzodiazepine abuse undergo medically-supervised detox.

How Long Does Alcohol Detox Take?

Alcohol is the most abused substance in the United States. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), one in every 12 adults struggles with alcohol abuse or addiction. People who have been drinking heavily for a long period of time have the highest risk of experiencing life-threatening alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

When someone tries to stop using alcohol, the symptoms of withdrawal can range from mild symptoms that resemble a hangover to coma or even death. Approximately, 3 to 5 percent of people will experience the most serious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, including delirium, fever, hallucinations, seizures, and severe confusion. This group of symptoms is known as delirium tremens (DTs), and they can be fatal without immediate medical intervention. Keep in mind that DTs may not appear until several days after a person’s last drink, making it very important to carefully monitor patients who are detoxing from alcohol.

During the process of detoxing from alcohol, a person will likely experience withdrawal symptoms within eight hours of their last drink. The most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms are extensive and include anxiety, dehydration, depression, dizziness, elevated heart rate, fatigue, headache, insomnia, irritability, lack of concentration, loss of appetite, mood swings, muscle aches, nausea, nightmares, shaking, shallow breathing, sweating, and vomiting. A person can expect the physical symptoms to peak within 24 to 72 hours, while the psychological symptoms and cravings for alcohol can last for a few weeks.

Is Detox Enough to Recover From Addiction?

Once someone knows how long it takes to detox from drugs, they can prepare themselves to successfully complete the detox process. It’s important to realize that detox is only the first step in the recovery process. Psychological counseling and ongoing support are also necessary to recover from an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

It can be difficult, and sometimes even dangerous, to deal with withdrawal symptoms alone. The River Source treatment center offers a holistic approach to treating withdrawal symptoms and addiction. Our drug and alcohol treatment professionals provide behavioral and pharmacological therapies in a supportive environment to help patients detox. After the detox program, each patient begins counseling to learn new coping strategies, before leaving the center with a long-term care plan to help them stay clean and sober for life.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, The River Source can help. Contact us today to learn more about our approach to treating addiction and how we help patients overcome the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal.

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol?

This entry was posted in Detox and tagged , , on by .

Detoxing from alcohol can be a long process that is different for everyone. A number of factors impact the length of detox and the severity of withdrawal symptoms, such as how long the person has been drinking and if they combined alcohol with other substances. The most important element is that a person detoxing from alcohol does so in a safe, medically supervised environment. This can make all the difference in the recovery process.

In this article, we will cover what a typical detox process entails it and the factors that influence it. We will finish the post with options for treatment. Let’s begin!

What Happens During Alcohol Detox

Detox from alcohol can begin within hours from taking that last drink. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are most intense for heavy drinkers, though you don’t need to be an alcoholic to experience them. Withdrawal syndromes can be life-threatening, which is why detoxing in a 24-hour medically supervised facility is ideal. 

The reason why withdrawal symptoms start is because the body is no longer receiving the chemicals that it is so dependent on. When a person drinks on a regular basis, a chemical addiction is formed. If the person stops giving the chemicals to their body, the neurotransmitters are sent into shock. In other words, alcohol withdrawal symptoms are a result of suppressed levels of neurotransmitters.

The most common alcohol detox symptoms include:

  • Depression

  • Irritability

  • Mood swings

  • Anxiety

  • Fatigue

  • Sweating

  • Vomiting

  • Nausea

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Dehydration

  • Seizures

  • Tremors

How Long Does it Take to Detox From Alcohol?

As mentioned previously, the duration of alcohol detox varies for each person. Alcohol withdrawal typically begins within 8 hours from the last drink, but it can occur days later. Symptoms peak around 24-72 hours and then subside. Acute withdrawal symptoms are the worst, with the risk of seizures being the biggest concern.

Here is what you can expect from a typical alcohol detox process.

  • First hours. Cravings are usually the first sign that people notice when they haven’t had their next drink. They are the body’s way of “looking” for the drug. This is the beginning of the detox process. Additional symptoms in the first day of detox include anxiety, depression, irritability, physical sickness, insomnia and tremors.

  • 24-48 Hours. If withdrawal symptoms are not treated, more severe symptoms can continue such as hallucinations and seizures. A rapid heart rate and chest pain may also arise, as well as delirium tremens.

Some alcoholics see a sharp decline in withdrawal symptoms after 48 hours. Some do not. Recovering alcoholics need close monitoring in the early days of withdrawal. It’s common for cravings and physical symptoms to worsen, and seizures and tremors can be life-threatening. Even after 48 hours, the risk for confusion and cardiovascular complications is elevated.

There are additional symptoms that can have a delayed onset. While these symptoms are most likely to occur within 48-96 hours from the last drink, they can show up as many as 10 days later.

  • Body tremors

  • Agitation

  • Fever and sweating

  • Extreme confusion

  • Disorientation

  • Rapid mood changes

  • Hallucinations

  • Seizures

The only way to detox safely is to receive supportive care from a treatment facility. Mortality rates from delirium tremens is high, which is why alcohol detox should never be done at home. This is extremely dangerous for the recovering addict, and it puts unnecessary stress on anyone taking care of the person.

Factors That Can Influence Alcohol Detox

When thinking about how long does an alcohol detox take, multiple factors are considered. Some recovering alcoholics see a decline in withdrawal symptoms after a few days and are able to move onto treatment. In other cases, recovering addicts will continue to suffer from seizures and tremors in the weeks following detox.

Let’s look closer at the factors that may influence the alcohol detox timeline.

  • Alcohol consumption. Has the person recovering from alcohol use been drinking for several months? Several years? This makes a difference. The longer a person has been abusing alcohol, the longer it takes for the body and brain to recover.

  • Amount of alcohol. How much alcohol has the person been drinking? Some alcoholics binge drink and may consume 10 or more drinks in a single night. Others don’t reach this point but will drink every day in moderate amounts. The more a person drinks, the longer the detox process usually is.

  • Nutritional considerations. When a person drinks over an extended period of time, their body starts to change. Some heavy drinkers lose weight, while others gain weight. Also, alcohol impairs nutrient absorption by damaging the cells in the lining of the stomach. The more rundown the body is, the longer it usually takes to recover.

  • Poly-drug use. If the person often combined alcohol with other substances such as marijuana, cocaine or prescription drugs, this can also complicate the detox process. People with poly-drug addictions may experience withdrawal symptoms from both the alcohol and the other drug.

  • Co-occurring conditions. Having an underlying condition such as anxiety, bipolar or PTSD can change the detox and recovery process. The person must have this disorder treated to reduce the risk of relapse. It takes time to get the symptoms under control, but they can be treated during detox.

Is a Detox Alcohol Program Enough?

In order to get sober, you must go through the withdrawal and detox process. However, detox alone is not enough. Imagine being released back into the world with the same temptations and stressors as before. You would lack the skills and ability to know how to handle these stressful situations without falling back on alcohol. This is why treatment immediately following detox is necessary.

At a program like The River Source, patients receive a full continuum of treatment. They start with detox, move onto treatment and are sent home with an aftercare plan. Let’s go over the stages of the detox and treatment process for alcoholism at our naturopathic treatment facility.

  • Detox. During detox, patients’ symptoms are successfully managed using a combination of holistic therapy and medication. Each patient receives a unique detox regimen based on their individual factors. Some of the therapies used include oral vitamin therapy, nutritional IV therapy, massage therapy, physical manipulation and dry sauna therapy. This process usually lasts 5-10 days.

  • Treatment. When the detox process is complete, a full recovery can begin. During treatment, patients participate in individual, family and group counseling. Counseling sessions are designed to help patients better understand themselves, their personal risk factors for addiction and how to manage stress. Counseling also helps patients work through family problems and form healthy connections with others.

  • Continuing Care. When treatment is complete, there is still work to be done. Each patient receives a personalized continuing care plan that outlines healthy practices to follow such as attending 12-step groups, seeking counseling and taking care of their nutritional needs with diet, exercise and sleep.

Benefits of Choosing a Naturopathic Detox Program

Naturopathic medicine focuses on the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions through therapeutic methods that rely on the body’s natural healing processes. A naturopathic treatment program is ideal for treating alcoholism because addiction is a lifelong disease. Recovering addicts are always in recovery, which means they must take optimal care of themselves and learn when to say no.

The River Source is a naturopathic healing program that focuses on the mind, body and spirit. Through the years, we’ve learned that addiction cannot be treated using a single approach. Instead, addiction is best addressed when all parts of the human spirit are addressed and addicts are taught how to successfully manage stressful situations using self-taught techniques such as meditation.

Here are the benefits to choosing a naturopathic detox program like The River Source.

  • Healthy meals. In naturopathic detox facility, balanced, well-rounded meals are provided. Because addicts are often malnourished, eating healthy foods with essential vitamins and minerals are necessary for replenishing the body.

  • Physical activity. Addicts rarely participate in healthy activities like hiking, swimming or running. In naturopathic treatment, addicts can enjoy light exercise. Physical activity releases natural feel-good chemicals in the brain that can combat stress and anxiety.

  • Meditation sessions. When addicts return to their normal lives, they must have outlets to release stress. During treatment, meditation and mindfulness are practiced. Many people find that they enjoy these sessions and can use them effectively by the time they return home.

  • Complementary therapy. Additional therapies are offered such as massage therapy, acupuncture and art/music therapy. At The River Source, we offer a wide range of therapies so that patients can explore what works for them.

  • Scenic locations. The River Source is located in sunny Arizona. It’s helpful for people to get away from the distractions of modern life. The desert and rolling hilltops also help recovering addicts connect with nature and practice spirituality.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse, call The River Source. We have convenient detox and treatment programs that have high success rates. We believe that our holistic focus and naturopathic therapies are responsible for much of this success, as well as our rigorous continuum of care.

Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

Are you addicted to cocaine? Do you know someone who is? Making the decision to quit is powerful, life changing and potentially life saving. Before you can start a treatment program, you must get clean. This requires going through the withdrawal process. It’s important to be informed on the cocaine withdrawal timeline so that you can prepare yourself for the changes that lie ahead. While it’s impossible to know for certain what your detox experience will be, aligning yourself with the right treatment center gives you the greatest chances for success.

How Long Until Cocaine Withdrawal Starts?

Cocaine is an effective stimulant. It also has a very short half-life. It takes just hours from the last dose to begin feeling withdrawal symptoms. The first symptoms you will feel include agitation, fatigue, increased appetite and vivid dreams. In fact, if you’ve ever gone too long in between cocaine uses, you’ve probably felt some of these symptoms. When you used again, the symptoms went away.

By not continuing the use of cocaine, withdrawal symptoms will last for about a week or two. Other symptoms can linger indefinitely. Some recovering addicts report that they deal with cravings for cocaine all their lives. This is why it’s important to realize that addiction is not a disease that you are automatically healed from. You must work actively at your recovery to limit temptation and avoid relapse.

What the Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline Looks Like

Let’s break down the various cocaine withdrawal stages so that you know what to expect. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when learning that withdrawal symptoms can last for months or years. Knowing what to expect and how to manage these symptoms will offer reassurance to continue your recovery.

  • First 24-72 Hours. Within the first 24-72 hours, it’s normal to have that “crash and burn” feeling. The brain becomes severely sleep deprived. Your body will feel fatigued, but it’s difficult to get rest. It’s also common to feel depressed and remorseful. If you do get rest, don’t be surprised if you wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep at all.

  • Week 1. In the first week, you can expect to feel some improvement. Once the cocaine is out of your body, the cravings may feel more manageable. Symptoms still persist, however, and include agitation, unpleasant dreams and increased appetite.

  • Week 2. The second week can feel like you’re going backwards. The cravings for cocaine may start to return, and they are often coupled with agitation and depression. Some recovering addicts have vivid dreams and think about using again.

  • Week 3-4. In weeks three and four, symptoms are still present. This is the time that you may experience mood swings. Sleep problems and depression are also common. The best way to manage these withdrawal symptoms is to exercise and eat a healthy diet.

  • Weeks 5+. Intense cravings can continue during this time. In fact, some recovering cocaine users say that cravings can pop up suddenly – not just in times of stress. The brain will continue to heal, and you may need counseling and medication to treat depression.

How Long Does Cocaine Withdrawal Last?

Cocaine withdrawal is not as intense as withdrawal from other substances, but it has its own set of challenges. Substances like alcohol and benzos cause severe physical withdrawal symptoms, whereas cocaine has lesser physical effects. That said, cocaine detox has the strongest psychological withdrawal symptoms that can last for years.

The brain has to recover after using cocaine, even if it was just abused for a few months. Consider that the neurotransmitters in the brain – norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin – are significantly depleted. This is why you’re left feeling depressed, tired, irritable and empty. While it may seem impossible to feel joy from normal, everyday pleasures, you will be able to one day. Don’t let these feelings deter you from your decision to stop cocaine.

What Impacts the Length of Cocaine Withdrawal Stages?

The amount of time that symptoms persist is different for everyone. It’s based on how long the cocaine was abused and how much you were taking with each dose. If you were a heavy cocaine user, it’s possible for withdrawal symptoms to last for two years or more. If you were not a heavy user, the symptoms may only last for six months.

Let’s look closer at the factors that may influence the stages of cocaine withdrawal.

  • Length of use. If you abused cocaine for a short time, withdrawal symptoms may be shorter. If you abused cocaine for a longer period of time, more cocaine is built up in the body. Therefore, withdrawal symptoms are expected to last longer.

  • Size of dose. How much cocaine was typically used is also a consideration. Using more of the drug means that your brain is used to intense highs and will take longer to recover.

  • Drug purity. Pure cocaine may be an addict’s dream, but it’s harsher on the recovery process. Cocaine that is cut with fillers isn’t as potent. Of course, this doesn’t make it safer, as drugs can be cut with toxic ingredients like rat poison. If you were used to getting very pure cocaine, however, the cocaine withdrawal time may last longer.

  • Environment. How you used cocaine can also play a role in your recovery. If you used drugs to escape from stressful situations, stress may trigger the urge to use again. Because cocaine has significant psychological withdrawal symptoms, it’s imperative that you learn to manage stressful environments. Otherwise, relationship troubles, family issues, etc. will continue to lead to cravings.

  • Co-occurring conditions. Another component that can affect your recovery is having a co-occurring disorder, such as depression, anxiety or an eating disorder. The same is true if you have a polydrug addiction. Expect the withdrawal process to be lengthened as a result.

Managing Symptoms of PAWS

PAWS (post acute withdrawal syndrome) is common for people who have abused cocaine for an extended period of time. Symptoms of PAWS usually surface around three to six months after stopping cocaine. Don’t be discouraged if these symptoms do arise. Addiction counselors and doctors are aware of PAWS and can help you work through your hard days.

Symptoms of PAWS vary among individuals, and they can present themselves as cognitive, physical or emotional problems. Some of the most common symptoms of PAWS include depression, anger, memory problems, sleep disorders, impaired concentration and emotional sensitivity or numbness. Remember, your brain is healing and needs time.

To reduce PAWS symptoms, here are some of the things you can do:

  • Avoid unnecessary stress and demands

  • Continue therapy and 12-step groups

  • Adopt healthy habits, such as exercise and meeting new friends

  • Practice compassion and gratitude

  • Plan ahead when going out

  • Ask for help when you need it

When is Medical Detox Necessary?

If you are addicted to cocaine, The River Source recommends seeking medical detox and a treatment program. While it’s possible to detox from cocaine on an outpatient basis, most cases of cocaine addiction are not cut and dry. Usually addicts have other co-occurring conditions that must be addressed as well as addictions to other substances. Addressing only the cocaine withdrawal stages in an outpatient program is not enough.

Detoxing from cocaine in a safe, supportive environment will also make the withdrawal process more manageable. Medications are available to treat insomnia, depression and anxiety. However, there are no FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine withdrawal. Some research in animals shows favorable results with buprenorphine and naltrexone, but they have yet to be accepted as appropriate treatments for cocaine addiction.

Another benefit to committing to a detox and treatment program is that you are taught how to cope with stressful environments. If you used cocaine as a means to escape from stress or anxiety, you must learn new ways to handle these emotions. A residential treatment program offers the safe, sober and supportive environment you need to heal and learn essential life skills.

If you have struggled with drug addiction in the past, or you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts and behavior, DO NOT detox from cocaine on your own. Get help from a medically supervised detox center such as The River Source. We have beds available, so call us today.

How to Get Through Cocaine Withdrawal Cravings

Cravings are arguably the most difficult part of the cocaine withdrawal process. But cravings do not last forever. They come in waves, generally building up, reaching a peak and then calming down. Rather than giving into the craving, find healthy outlets for dealing with the waves. Keep your head up and know that they will pass. The way to do this is by keeping yourself busy and distracting your mind from the desire to use.

When in treatment, it’s easier to distract yourself because you are in a new environment with less temptation. When you return to your home, the desire to use cocaine becomes stronger because you are triggered by things of your past: places, people, music, smells, etc. Use the tools you learned in recovery to help you deal with the cravings. This may be meditation, yoga, journaling or exercise.

After completing treatment, also build a strong support network that you can rely on. If you feel like using, connect with your 12-step sponsor or another trusted friend. Also make sure that you continue treatment for co-occurring conditions, if you have them. Letting depression or anxiety go untreated will only make your cravings that much harder to control.

Need Help? Call The River Source Today

The River Source is a trusted treatment center for substance abuse. We have worked with many patients who have struggled with cocaine and have seen long-term success with their recoveries. Our holistic approach that gives attention to the mind, body and spirit provides the groundwork for our success. Call us today to learn more about seeking personalized treatment at The River Source.

Breaking Down the Most Common Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Methadone is used to treat opiate addiction, but it can be very addictive on its own, especially when it is taken frequently and in high doses. As a result, some patients recovering from an opiate addiction may end up trading their addiction to opiates for an addiction to methadone.

Statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) show how common methadone abuse and addiction is in the United States:

  • In 2012, about five million people reported abusing methadone at some point in their life.
  • Almost 4,700 calls to poison control centers involved methadone use in 2012.
  • Nearly 67,000 visits to emergency rooms were tied to methadone use in 2011.

When someone takes a high dose of methadone on a regular basis, they can quickly develop a tolerance to the drug. Tolerance simply means that a user needs more of a substance than before to achieve the same effect. Over time, a person can also become dependent on methadone, which means that they need to take the drug in order for their body to function normally and not experience withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms occur when someone stops taking a substance that their body has come to rely on in order to function. As the substance leaves a person’s system (a process known as detoxification, or detox), their body tries to establish normal functioning again. However, withdrawal symptoms occur during this process, which can make recovery difficult for patients who are trying to reclaim their lives from addiction.

Since the symptoms of methadone withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, doctors recommend that patients undergo detox in a supervised medical environment, either in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Medical professionals can monitor a patient’s withdrawal symptoms and help control their severity in such an environment.

Before you attempt to stop taking methadone, it’s important to understand the symptoms of methadone withdrawal and how to manage them. This knowledge can help make the detox process more manageable and your recovery more successful.

Breaking Down the Most Common Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

The symptoms of methadone withdrawal are much like withdrawal symptoms people experienced when they stop taking other opiates like heroin and morphine. However, unlike the withdrawal symptoms of other opiates, the withdrawal symptoms of methadone are generally less intense. Most patients report that their symptoms are moderate and feel like having the flu.

The symptoms of methadone withdrawal tend to start 24 to 30 hours after the last dose of the drug, and they can last for a few weeks or longer. The most common withdrawal symptoms from methadone include:

  • Psychological symptoms like agitation, anxiety, depression, difficulty focusing, hallucinations, irritability, paranoia, and restlessness.
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.
  • Other physical symptoms like chills, cravings for methadone, dilated pupils, fever, goosebumps, insomnia, muscle aches, rapid heartbeat, runny eyes and nose, sweating, tiredness, and yawning.

The withdrawal process for methadone is different for everyone, because the duration and symptoms vary depending on the length and severity the addiction. For example, if you have a more severe methadone addiction, you will likely experience more intense symptoms than someone who has a more mild addiction to the drug.

Your body chemistry and tolerance level will also impact the length and severity of your symptoms. Additionally, if you are addicted to methadone in addition to other substances, you may find that the withdrawal process is longer and more severe.

Finally, attempting to quit methadone abruptly (or “cold turkey”) can cause more painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. As a result, doctors recommend gradually tapering your dose of methadone under close medical supervision to make withdrawal symptoms more manageable and bearable.

Methadone Withdrawal Timeline

The symptoms of methadone withdrawal usually appear within 24 to 30 hours of the last dose of methadone. However, since it can take anywhere from 15 to 60 hours before the substance leaves your system, some people don’t experience withdrawal symptoms until several days later.

Once the symptoms of methadone withdrawal begin, they typically last three to six weeks. However, it can take longer for someone with a more severe addiction. The first seven to 10 days of symptoms tend to be the worst. At the peak of withdrawal symptoms, you’ll feel like they have the flu and experience the troubling psychological symptoms mentioned above. Luckily, these symptoms will slowly fade over the next few weeks of the recovery process.

To give you an idea of what to expect during methadone withdrawal, here’s a timeline that briefly summarizes the symptoms of methadone withdrawal at each stage.

  • The First 24 to 30 Hours: You’ll likely start to experience methadone withdrawals symptoms within 24 to 30 hours of their last dose. The first symptoms to appear include physical, flu-like ones such as chills, fever, muscle aches, and a rapid heartbeat.
  • Days 2-10: At this point, you’ll often find that methadone cravings are quite strong. They will also start to develop psychological symptoms ranging from anxiety and irritability to hallucinations and insomnia at this point. The physical, flu-like symptoms will also still be present for about a week.
  • Days 11-20: During this time, the physical symptoms will start to fade; however, cravings for methadone will remain strong. Additionally, you may start to develop symptoms of depression. In fact, some people may experience severe depression and feel a complete lack of motivation or pleasure.
  • Days 21+: While depression may remain, its symptoms should only appear intermittently for the next few weeks. Any remaining withdrawal symptoms should be very mild at this point in the withdrawal process.

The symptoms of methadone withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, which can make some people want give up on the detox process in an attempt to avoid the discomfort of the symptoms. However, you should resist this impulse, because it can lead to a vicious cycle of withdrawal and relapse.

Methadone withdrawal can be difficult, but there’s no need to do it alone. Working with doctors, therapists, and support groups at a drug treatment center can help you overcome methadone withdrawal symptoms and begin the recovery process to achieve long-term sobriety.

Treatment for Methadone Withdrawal and Addiction

When seeking treatment for methadone addiction, it’s important to find a program that is designed to provide methadone detox and counseling. These two components of the treatment process are related, because counseling cannot begin until a patient has detoxed from methadone.

Although methadone withdrawal can occur at home, it is safest and most effective when it happens in a drug treatment center or a hospital setting. Regardless of where you decide to detox, you should remain under the supervision of a doctor who can treat your withdrawal symptoms to prevent them from becoming dangerous or life-threatening.

The medical detox process for methadone will involve slowly reducing your dosage of methadone over the course of a few weeks. It does take longer to detox using this method, but it also reduces the severity of methadone withdrawal symptoms.

Your doctor can also prescribe medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms. These medications can shorten the withdrawal process and relieve some of the related symptoms, making it easier to recover from a methadone addiction. Some of the most commonly prescribed medications for patients undergoing methadone withdrawal include:

  • Buprenorphine reduces the symptoms of withdrawal and it can reduce the length methadone detox.
  • Clonidine reduces psychological symptoms like anxiety and agitation and treats physical symptoms like cramping, goosebumps, muscle aches, runny nose, and sweating.
  • Zofran can prevent dehydration by reducing nausea and vomiting.
  • Baclofen can reduce the pain of muscle aches.

If your addiction is severe, your physician may recommend a treatment known as guided methadone therapy, which involves prescribing methadone. It might seem counterintuitive; however, this treatment can help you slowly reduce your methadone use. Since methadone is long-acting, the methadone levels in your system decrease gradually as you break down the substance. As a result, taking more methadone and then slowly reducing your dose can actually reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Keep in mind that methadone therapy is only available if you’re in a government-approved treatment program. In such a program, your doctor will monitor your intake and response to methadone to make sure that the detox process is safe and effective. This eliminates the risk of overdose and methadone abuse. Your doctor will continue the treatment until your body no longer needs methadone.

Once the detox process is complete, the next stage of treatment can begin. If you attend a drug treatment center, you will benefit from the expertise of physicians and therapists who are dedicated to developing personalized treatment plans to promote long-term sobriety for each patient.

If you are suffering from a severe methadone addiction, it’s best to attend an inpatient drug treatment program that lasts anywhere from 28 to 90 days, while outpatient treatment can be an effective option if you are dealing with a more mild addiction to the substance. Regardless of the setting you select, you will undergo some form of psychological counseling to help you overcome your methadone addiction. Some common forms of counseling include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps patients understand the causes of and trigger for their methadone use. It also teaches patients how to modify their thoughts and behaviors to maintain long-term sobriety.
  • Motivational interviewing (MI) helps patients find internal motivation to avoid using methadone in the future.
  • Contingency management (CM) gives patients positive external reinforcements that serve as rewards for healthy behaviors during the recovery process.
  • Family counseling is designed to involve all relevant family members in the recovery process. This form of counseling helps family members learn their role in the patient’s methadone use and helps them find more effective communication skills.

Emotional support is just as important as detox and psychological counseling. For patients who struggle to find support from family members and friends who might not understand their addiction, attending a support group can be very effective. By speaking with other people who are recovering from a methadone addiction, you’ll realize that you aren’t alone in your journey for sobriety and you’ll also have partners to help you stay on track when temptation strikes.

Preventing Methadone Relapse

Some people are tempted to fall back into methadone use, often due to the symptoms of methadone withdrawal. However, as unpleasant as withdrawal symptoms are, it’s critical to remember that methadone use is much more dangerous than the symptoms of withdrawal.

Methadone use can result in life-threatening problems, including difficulty breathing and a slow heart rate. It can even sedate a person to the point of coma or death. Additionally, people who use methadone after detoxing from the substance have a higher risk of overdosing on the drug, because they have a reduced tolerance for it. In comparison, the greatest risk of methadone withdrawal is dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting. However, this risk can be managed by your doctor.

While overcoming an addiction to methadone can be difficult, it’s not impossible. The symptoms of methadone withdrawal can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but they far outweigh the risks of continued methadone use. The best way to recover from an addiction to methadone is with help from trained medical professionals and a strong support network. Together, these resources can help you take control of your life and achieve freedom from methadone addiction.

The River Source takes a holistic approach to treating methadone addiction. In a supportive and professional environment that provides behavioral and pharmacological therapies, our goal is to help patients detox from methadone and involve them in effective inpatient treatment programs. After inpatient treatment, every patient leaves The River Source with a long-term care plan to help them stay sober for life.

If you or a loved one is suffering from methadone addiction, The River Source can help. Contact us today to learn more about our unique approach to treating methadone addiction and how we help patients overcome the symptoms of methadone withdrawal.