By Steps to Recovery on November 7, 2012
Drug detox is one of the biggest obstacles between active addiction and recovery. Although detox is a strenuous and painful process, there are many myths about drug detox that may deter a drug addict from even attempting to get clean. These myths about drug detox do not do anyone any good, so we are going to go through and decipher the myths from the truth.
1. “This pain is going to last forever!” This is a myth that drug addicts tend to tell themselves which makes the detox process much more difficult. Typical drug detox takes between 5 and 7 days. Obviously there are some variables as far as drug of choice, amount and length of use, as well as age and physical health. However, by no means is the physical pain of detox going to last forever. By taking a more realistic perspective on severe detox symptoms we are able to realize that a week of withdrawal can save us from a lifetime of pain.
2 “I can do this on my own!” The famous myth of being our own doctors. Patients going through detox sometimes believe that they can medicate themselves the same way from the comfort of their own home and beat their disease single handedly. Acting as our own doctor is never a good idea. The simple fact is that addicts suffer from a disease of their brain, and therefore the idea that they can fix their problem using their own thinking, which caused to problem to begin with, is delusional thinking. The simple truth is that addiction and detoxification are medical conditions that needs to be treated by professionals; just as any other disease.
3 “Detox is the only obstacle to recovery.” What most drug addicts fail to realize is that detox is just the first step in the long road of recovery. Simply getting over physical withdrawal symptoms does not mean you have defeated your addiction. It simply means you have taken the first step and gotten through the physical sickness. Patients will still suffer from Post Acute Withdrawal Sypmtoms for a lengthened period of time and will have to deal with their thinking and continue to treat their disease. Sure, it is true that detox is a physically challenging and scary process; however, it is important to realize we suffer from a disease of the brain that takes much longer to treat than just 7 days of detox.
4. “If I take a prescription drug as directed it’s ok.” This tends to be one of the larger myths when it comes to addiction these days. With prescription drug abuse numbers soaring, this is a great justification for addicts. Most will say, “Well, I got it from my doctor so it must be ok.” This statement could not be further from the truth. Prescription drugs are among the most abused and most dangerous substances available today. Prescription pain killers and medications such as xanax are among the most popular. Prescription pain killers are being abused at an alarming rate and have nearly the same effect as heroin. Both are highly addictive, gain a tolerance and can cause painful withdrawal symptoms. Prescription drugs are no safer for a drug addict than any other narcotic. They are just as dangerous and maybe even more so because of an addict’s ability to justify using these substances.
5. “I am going to die.” In the addiction field we hear this quite often from patients going through painful detox. Truth of the matter is that if a medical professional is detoxing you, this statement is not true. Alcohol and benzodiazepine detox can cause health issues such as tremors, seizures, and if untreated, death. However, if detox is handled in a professional facility by a medical staff, the patient will not be at risk of death.
6 “Medication will make the process pain-free” Medications are usually a key component to drug detoxification. However some patients believe that medication will bring them a pain free detox. No detox from any substance is ever pain-free. In a professional medical setting prescriptions can be administered properly to ease the discomfort of detox. Medications are used to alleviate symptoms but can not completely eliminate all discomfort.
Misinformation regarding drug detox, including these myths, can be very dangerous to addicts. This is why it is so important to do research prior to making any decisions in treating an addicted person. A patient will need all the information, support and love from their family and therapeutic staff to properly treat their disease. Get help now for yourself or your loved one!