Detoxing from heroin, while somewhat less dangerous than detoxing from alcohol or benzodiazepines, is definitely an unpleasant experience. Long-term use of any opioid drug gets the brain used to depending on an outside source for “pleasure” feelings, while releasing more “alertness” chemicals to counter the depressive opiate effect.
U.S. News & World Report rates San Diego among the country’s 25 best cities to live in. The “Plymouth of the West” has over 250 sunny or mostly sunny days a year, 70 miles of beach-filled coastline, over 90 museums, 43 certified farmers’ markets and a world-famous zoo.
As many as 32 million Americans may be in need of alcohol detox. Only about one in five, however, actually seek that detox. Possible reasons: denial, pride, fear of being labeled “alcoholic,” fear of having to give up drinking permanently—and fear of not being able to pay for treatment. That’s not an unjustified concern: initial detox plus a month of rehab can run from around $7,500 to over $20,000,
Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” are depressant drugs that relax the central nervous system and are prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, sleep problems and seizures. Unfortunately, most people quickly build up tolerance to benzos, and a carelessly managed prescription can easily turn into addiction. Anyone whose doctor recommends benzodiazepines is well advised to ask about alternatives, and—if going through with the prescription—to avoid taking benzos with any opioid drug and have a plan for discontinuing the medication within several weeks.
The first step in addiction recovery involves weaning the body from immediate dependence by stopping (or slowly reducing) drug intake. There are a variety of common terms for this process: withdrawal, purging, cleansing—and the term favored here at Inland, “detoxification” or “detox.”
Detox not only goes by many names, it comes in many forms.
We hear a lot these days about the “opioid crisis” and the responsibility the medical community bears for prescribing painkillers too readily. But opioid painkillers aren’t the only prescription drugs that can cause addiction: patients taking benzodiazepines, tranquilizers prescribed for short-term treatment of anxiety or insomnia, can become addicted in less than a month.
Although “rapid drug detox” is rightly controversial when it refers to chemically induced withdrawal under general anesthesia, anyone with a drug dependency problem should be detoxed as “rapidly” as possible. When you suspect you have an addiction, the temptation is to tell yourself, “I can handle it, it’s not that bad” and (if you decide to do anything about it at all) to assume private responsibility by setting limits on how much you’ll take and when.
The journey of a thousand miles may begin with one step, but an adult with a 2.3-foot walking stride will put approximately 2,295,651 additional steps into that journey. Anyone with nit-picking tendencies is better off not knowing that; you can waste a lot of energy constantly checking the distance you still have to go against how “up to it” you think you are.
If you struggle with alcoholism and are thinking of checking yourself into an alcohol detox center, you may be unsure what to expect. Will they give you medication to ease withdrawal? (They might.) Will they demand you abstain from all “substances,” including medications prescribed for unrelated conditions? (Not likely.) Will they be condescending or scold you for being a “drunk”?