What is Detox Like? The Myth and Reality

When a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol seeks help, the first step in the recovery process is some sort of detox. Medical Detox, as defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is safe management of withdrawal from addictive substances, an action that starts addiction treatment for an addict.

The addiction community sees the detox stage as an addict wiping their slate clean to prepare the body for more positive, healthy changes and the ability to take the first steps toward recovery.

Unfortunately, many addicts have the wrong ideas about detox. Due to myths and misinformation proliferated by various sources like the media and pop culture’s depiction of drug and alcohol addiction, some people get the wrong ideas about what detox really is, and how it can be carried out effectively, hurting the entire addiction treatment industry in the process.

Here are some of the most common myths about detox and why they are misguided and potentially harmful to those with the largest need for treatment:


Detox Myth #1: You Can Detox Effectively Alone

Some addicts think that because studies have shown that the best way to quit smoking cigarettes is by going “cold turkey” (immediately deciding to stop use of a substance) this means that this is the most effective method for other addictions as well. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. The success rate of quitting opiates using this method, for example, hovers around 5 percent.

Not only is detoxing on your own not effective, it can be dangerous, depending on the substance in question. While many withdrawals are not fatal, they can be harmful to an addicts health, and if a patient tries to detox from alcohol in combination with other substances, death becomes a risk that an addict has to consider.

One study published in the journal Alcohol Health and Research World found the data to suggest that 5 percent of alcoholics going through untreated withdrawal experience fatal seizures, often in the most serious stage of withdrawal. Detox without supervision can be extremely dangerous, and in some cases can lead to death.


Detox Myth #2: Most People Can’t Afford Medical Detox

Another reason keeping people struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol from receiving the help they need is a myth that most addicts can’t afford medically supervised detox and treatment. There is a common view of inpatient rehab and detox facilities that dismisses them as only for the richest class in the country, but this is simply not true.

Rehab facilities have a wide range of clients with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Drug abuse simply doesn’t discriminate, and although certain demographic groups are more likely to use (and become addicted to) certain substances, one step inside an addiction treatment center will show you all you need to know about who can afford treatment.

Rehab centers like TTC Care work with patients and their insurers to make sure care can be paid for without extra trouble and stress on the end of patients and their families. If you’re struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, contact us today for a free insurance review.


Detox Myth #3: Detox is Permanent

This misconception about detox is one of the main reasons why addicts find it so difficult to recover. If you think a single detox is the only step to getting clean for life, you’ll be even more discouraged when you relapse, something relapse statistics say will probably happen at some point.

The addiction treatment community, as well as the medical community now views addiction for what it is: a chronic, relapsing disease, similar to heart disease or diabetes. Similar to these other conditions, a relapse is not only possible, but likely, and the key to long-term recovery is making sure this doesn’t destroy your momentum.

Having a supportive community by your side is key to making sure you can effectively treat addiction, a disease that can never be cured, for your entire life. In group meetings or inpatient recovery programs, relationships can be made that can offer you support for a lifelong process wrought with obstacles to overcome.


Detox Myth #4: People Will Judge You For Seeking Medical Detox

Many addicts are afraid to stop using because of society’s stigma about rehab and medical care throughout recovery process. However, society is beginning to change its thinking about addiction. A condition that was once looked at as a weakness of spirit is now seen as it is: a disease that calls for treatment and support for the person struggling with it.

Even if you feel that you’re social group won’t be as supportive, though, the medical system in the United States has safeguards against your private medical information falling into anyone’s hands without your consent. The HIPAA privacy rule, the regulation that ensures that a private citizen’s medical records are kept private, also covers addiction treatment. You shouldn’t be judged for a condition that’s out of your control, but either way, you’re recovery will be kept private.


Detox Myth #5: Detox is the End Stage of Recovery

This is potentially the most pervasive myth that people have surrounding the concept of medical detox. Even if you undergo fully supervised detox at a dedicated recovery facility, this is still only the first step in what has the tendency to be a long process. Here’s the reality of the situation:


Every Addict Recovers in Different Ways

Many of the misconceptions surrounding detox today are due to a fundamental misunderstanding of addiction as a whole. Detox is the first step on a long road of different treatment methods that may work for some addicts and not for others, at least not for a longer time period. Hasty detox strategies like instant detox make the process seem quick and painless, when in reality, these strategies only fit a select few cases of addiction.

NIDA’s definition of detox is clear in saying that while detox technically gets an addict clean, it isn’t effective in keeping them clean unless it’s part of the bigger picture. For most addicts, medically supervised detox is the safest way to get clean, and the process doesn’t end there. Whether by dedicated inpatient addiction treatment, outpatient services or aftercare, detox is just one small part of a larger process needed for addicts to get their lives back on track.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, call TTC Care today. Our Addiction Counselors are standing by to offer you the help you need to recover from addiction and put yourself on the road to recovery. For more information, call (844) 201-3136 today!