A Drug Detox Center is More than a Medical Facility

For many addicts, a drug detox center is more than just a place to stop using in comfort and safety.  It’s a symbol of the tragedy that drugs have made of their life and the site where they offered up their first surrender.  Detox is where so many addicts have thrown up their hands and said “I’ve had enough.”  It represents the moment when they knew, some for the first time in their lives, that their drug use had spun out of control.  It’s moment of incredible power.

But the value of this surrender only becomes evident in retrospect.  When they’re actually in the detox center, the addict often feels little beyond pain and regret.  This is of of course understandable, considering what most addicts have experienced prior to detox.  But eventually, once recovery has begun its transforming work, they realize that detox is the first committed step to a better life.


Overview of the Detox Process

 Symbolism aside, detox serves a very specific medical purpose – to wean patients  off of drugs and alcohol safely.  Professional detox always happens in a hospital setting.  Physicians and nursing staff assess the patient’s health before the process begins.  Once  the patient is deemed medically stable, the staff begins the actual detox.

Methods vary according to the substance and the amount used, but patients generally receive a series of prescription drugs that is gradually reduced as the detox progresses.  The patient is monitored closely during the process.  Although the patient is bound to experience mild withdrawal symptoms, the detox drugs help keep this discomfort minimal.

Eventually, when the patient is no longer in danger, the detox drugs are stopped.  The patient is ready to be released a few days later, hopefully into the care of an inpatient treatment facility.  The process usually takes between 5-10 days, depending on the patient’s condition.  The patient leaves the detox with a clean bill of health and a clean slate to write their new life upon.


Safety, Commitment, Symbolism

             It is absolutely crucial that a long time drug or alcohol undergo a professional detox.  If not, the withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.  When performed by professionals, the detox process is completely safe and proven to work.  Patients emerge from detox centers healthy and eager to being the recovery process.  This is because they now have a chance to rebuild their lives.

This new outlook is just as important as a clean bill of health.  Detox is a sign of the addict’s commitment to sobriety and a powerful symbol of what surrender can do for a mind in pain.