For many alcohol and drug abusers, the decision to get sober is followed by a difficult period of time where the risk of relapse runs high: detox. Drug and alcohol detoxification is often so uncomfortable that many users end up returning to the substance just to avoid the discomfort. Unfortunately, the only way out is through. And though it may seem daunting, it is possible to make it through the detox period and get one step closer toward a life of sobriety. For the best chance of success, avoid the following during drug detox:
Avoid proximity to drugs and alcohol
The detoxification process affects both the brain and the body. Physical cravings, mood swings, nightmares, anxiety, insomnia, and other difficult withdrawal symptoms are to be expected during detox. But just knowing to expect this discomfort does not make the process any easier. Most people suffering from drug and alcohol detoxification just want the discomfort to go away, and accessibility and availability of drugs and alcohol significantly increases the risk of relapse. Staying away from bars and parties, and clearing your home of alcohol and drugs will help minimize the temptation to self-medicate and relapse.
Many addicts suffer their addiction in isolation. They hide the extent of their alcohol or drug use to those around them. The make excuses for absences from work, lie about having the flu after a binge, and generally keep up a façade that their addiction is either non-existent or not all that bad. And when they decide they want to get sober, many addicts try to go at it in the same way – all alone. Attempting to detox alone can result in dangerous medical complications and also has a high risk of relapse. A detox overseen by a medical team within a community of others who relate to your struggles can go a long way toward helping you achieve recovery.
Avoid other users
While some drug and alcohol users hide their addiction, for others, their substance abuse is a shared social experience where activities with friends center around drug or alcohol use. We mentioned above that it’s important not to isolate during the drug detox process, but it’s important to note that other users do not make a good support network when you’re trying to get sober. If these are people you consider good friends, you may be tempted to join them in their drug or alcohol use in order to maintain a familiar connection. Detox is the first step in getting sober, and it’s important that the people around you can support you in establishing your new normal.
Avoid junk food
While sugar and junk food may help momentarily curb cravings for alcohol and drugs during the detox period, a healthy diet will has a higher likelihood of minimizing some of the withdrawal symptoms. Eating fruits and vegetables, lean meats and proteins, and drinking plenty of water will replace the toxins you’re purging with healthy vitamins and minerals that strengthen your immune system and ease you through detox.
Detox is a difficult process and is often accompanied by low moods or anxiety. And while you may think that spending your time napping or watching TV feels like self-care during the detoxification process, a lack of mobility can actually exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety. Mild to moderate exercise can go a long way toward minimizing physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Walking, hiking, swimming, yoga, and other forms of exercise will release endorphins that combat stress and anxiety and boost your mood.
Avoid stressful situations
Many substance abusers use drugs or alcohol to cope with stressful situations and difficult emotions. The detox process is stressful all on its own, even without additional challenges that life often brings. In order to minimize the risk of relapse during the detox period, it’s best to avoid situations and people that trigger stress. If you can, avoid travel, moving, difficult people, and other stressors. Of course, life won’t stop just because you’re detoxing, so it’s important to learn ways to cope with stress as it arises. Meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques can go a long way toward helping you cope with stress through detox and beyond.
Inpatient treatment for drug and alcohol addiction at Alvarado Parkway
At Alvarado Parkway Institute, we understand the physical, emotional, and mental challenges involved with drug and alcohol detox. Our inpatient treatment team provides around the clock care, monitoring and managing withdrawal symptoms to help those with addiction disorders to achieve stability and start on the road to recovery. An intensive level of treatment in a safe, controlled environment eliminates the exposure of outside influences, allowing each patient to focus on their recovery. If you or someone you know is in need of a safe and effective addiction treatment program, call Alvarado Parkway Institute today.