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Substance Use Detox

Detoxification from substance use is probably one of the most difficult parts of recovering from a substance addiction for any addict.  Detoxing is the complete removal of the addictive substance from the addict’s life.  The detox process can result in withdrawal symptoms due to the built up tolerance of the substance.  Abusing addictive substances rewires the brain, making changes to the neural circuitry of the reward center in the brain.  Using greater amounts of the substance becomes necessary for the addict to function both physically and emotionally.  The cycle of substance abuse is hard to escape without help from others. There are many withdrawal symptoms that can make it tough to quit substance use immediately.  The physiological and emotional symptoms experienced during the detox stage are unpleasant and it can take a long time for a recovering addict to not feel cravings for the substance anymore.  Some of the physiological symptoms of withdrawal include nausea, hallucinations, and tremors.  The emotional symptoms of withdrawal include a distancing from family and friends due to anxiety and irritability. One common method for treating those who are detoxing is to take them to treatment centers that specialize in withdrawal care.  Treatment at these centers lasts for about a week and then recovering addicts are often transferred to a long term rehabilitation center where they learn the coping skills necessary to prevent future relapses.  Recognizing triggers and learning to fight temptations are some of the most common coping skills that therapists at treatment centers teach to recovering addicts. The support recovering addicts have in aftercare will help them stop a relapse from becoming another instance of re-occurring substance abuse.  Having this kind of support is important to ensure that a recovering addict does not feel alone in the struggle for recovery.  Networking during detox is possible in a variety of ways.  Recovering alcohol addicts can meet others facing similar struggles at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.  Many recovering addicts receive support from people they meet during group therapy at substance abuse treatment centers.  These are the same people recovering addicts have already shared their stories and pasts with, so this is an essential part of creating a support base. Preventing future relapses is the main goal of recovery.  Some research shows that a relapse can make the brain and body of a recovering addict revert back to the condition it was in during the regular abuse of the substance.  This makes it difficult for a recovering addict to not fall back into a system of abusing the substance each time there is a relapse.   Recovering addicts can best prevent future relapses by being aware of triggers and avoiding them, keeping in mind the consequences of using, and educating themselves further on the effects of substance abuse, staying busy and maintaining connections with a of social support, and remaining constantly vigilant in their commitment to having a better life.  A relapse after detox does not have to be a slip back into abuse when these measures are taken.