Detox is the process of getting rid of toxic substances, such as drugs and alcohol, from one's body under the supervision of licensed professionals. The period typically involves abstinence from illicit drugs but may take the form of medication-assisted treatment, where recovery specialists use certain drugs to facilitate safe detox. Generally, detox is the first stage of addiction treatment and recovery. It is not a complete program on its own.
Detox centers in California are subject to Licensing and Certification by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). The DHCS also sets the standards for safe and professional addiction treatment in California.
The period it takes a person to detox from drugs in California depends on the kind of drugs abused. Some drugs quickly leave the bloodstream, while some gradually exit the body system.
According to a 2019 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the average time to detox from heroin is about four to seven days. Meanwhile, cocaine detox is between three to four days.
Certain factors determine how long detox from drugs takes, especially the dosage used, the person’s age, and state of physical health. Likewise, the method of use (injecting, swallowing, or smoking) and the history of addiction influence how long drug detox takes.
Most alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur within the first few days. However, the physical signs begin to subside after about five days.
SAMHSA reports that the average length of alcohol detox in California rehab centers is six days. Still, a person may spend less or more time detoxing based on determinants like medical history, the frequency of alcohol use, and the state of their physical health.
The detoxification process at a California drug detox center comprises three different stages.
Detox takes a toll on the body and mind. So, a medical team must first examine the patient to identify the specific challenges the patient will experience during detox. The evaluation also helps medical professionals design a support plan, especially the appropriate medication if necessary.
During the evaluation, recovery specialists ask about the patient's health history, mental status, and previous abuse treatment or detox. Usually, the specialists also conduct urine or blood tests to assess and measure the presence of abused substances in the bloodstream. Information garnered helps the team set up the appropriate treatment plan.
The stabilization stage is when the patient undergoes detox and medical and psychological therapy. The goal is to help the client pass through detox and make the process as comfortable and safe as possible, despite withdrawal symptoms.
Sometimes, medical professionals allow the involvement of the patient's family members and loved ones to help them through recovery. Although some approaches to detoxification do not support the use of medications, patients sometimes are administered medicine to minimize withdrawal symptoms in medication-assisted treatment.
The final stage in drug detox is preparing the patient for entry into a formal rehab program for addiction treatment. The recovery specialist emphasizes the significance of going for a treatment program to improve recovery outcomes. Also, the clients are informed of available options and sometimes referred to a rehab center.
Medical practitioners sometimes administer drugs while under drug and alcohol detox, and these drugs have side effects that patients should know. Some include:
A patient detoxing from benzodiazepines may experience drowsiness, panic, constipation, confusion, irritability, slurred speech, nausea, and dizziness.
The side effects of detoxing from opioids include vomiting, anxiety, stomach cramps, insomnia, fever, and hallucinations. The drug may also result in flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose.
Cocaine detox may result in depression, anxiety, agitation, increased appetite, etc.
Side effects of alcohol detox about six hours after the last drink include shaky hands, nausea, insomnia, sweating, anxiety, and headache. After 12-48 hours, the patient may experience hallucinations and seizures. Delirium tremens mostly start between 48 and 72 hours after a person stops drinking. Other side effects are confusion, heavy sweating, racing heart, fever, and high blood pressure.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the use of buprenorphine, methadone, and Naltrexone in treating opioid addiction. Nevertheless, medication-assisted treatment in drug and alcohol detox is not compulsory for everyone.
While it is possible to detox at home in California, it is considered dangerous and uncomfortable, especially when withdrawal symptoms set in. So, it is advisable to detox from drugs and alcohol in a detox center under the supervision of medical practitioners who can safely manage the process.
In addition, there is a high possibility that detoxing at home will lead to relapse.
Meanwhile, addiction recovery specialists in California are experienced and highly trained to identify and attend to each patient based on their personal needs. Also, certain centers offer in-home drug detox or ambulatory detox if the patient meets specific criteria.
Rapid detox is an inpatient medication-assisted treatment involving using medication to extract drugs and alcohol from the body while a person is under sedation.
While standard detox takes several weeks, rapid detox takes less than one day. Although rapid detox is a quick fix, success is not guaranteed. Relapse is high, and the patient may experience adverse side effects such as heart attack, psychosis, and withdrawal symptoms associated with the drugs removed.
Besides the health implications, the following are three major things to consider before opting for rapid detox:
Clients affected by mental illness do not get the necessary treatment under rapid detox. Unlike the standard detox, where patients are duly monitored for several days by specialists, individuals are released within hours after rapid detox without proper observation of their mental health. Potentially, rapid detox may worsen mental illness in clients.
Rapid detox does not emphasize aftercare like therapy, leaving patients at the risk of possible relapse. And when this happens, clients mostly overdose since their body tolerance may have reduced due to the detoxification.
The average cost for rapid detox in California is several thousands of dollars more expensive, depending on the addiction type and service provider. Insurance companies do not typically cover the expenses, and most patients have to pay upfront, out-of-pocket.
Additional treatment starts with detox, after which the affected person transitions to managing the newly-transformed healthy lifestyle. After completing the detox program, a person is advised to consider continuing care to sustain recovery and avoid relapse.
After a detox program, it is recommended to register for a residential treatment program. The treatment centers are effective environments that teach techniques to stay sober. Long-term residential treatment offers care 24 hours a day. The therapeutic community is the most common model used in long-term residential treatment. Patients may spend several months under long-term residential treatment.
This kind of treatment is relatively brief but intense. Treatment facilities educate patients about addiction and relapse prevention.
These programs are more flexible, allowing patients to visit three times a week for three to four hours per day. Also referred to as IOPs, this type of outpatient rehab program is held in the evenings allowing convenience for people who are employed or schooling.
12-step programs are peer support groups that help people recover from alcohol and drug addiction and maintain sobriety. The approach is highly recommended and has proven effective in many cases.
Addiction recovery specialists often advise people who have completed detox to consider moving into sober living houses. These houses are supportive and provide continuing care for people transitioning from rehab to real life.
The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) provides information and county access lines for individuals seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction. Anyone seeking a non-emergency addiction treatment may call either (800) 879-2772 (statewide toll-free) or (916) 327-3728.
The agency maintains a directory of Alcohol and Other Drug Program Administrators in California. Interested persons can also find a state-licensed treatment facility through the SAMHSA website.