News of Lindsay Lohan’s struggle with drug abuse and ongoing check-in and checkout of rehab is just one hyper-example of the constant battle an addict goes through when trying to get clean. However, unlike Lindsay, many addicts who are not arrested or convicted of drug related crimes want to check into a rehabilitation or treatment center, but don’t have the money. Thus, the person must attempt to quit on her own. In fact, the majority of people stop using drugs on their own, without going to rehab or a medical treatment center. If you are one of these lone rangers attempting to stop doing drugs by yourself, you have to have a plan of what you are going to do during your detox and how you are going to stay on track. Knowing how to detox yourself and detoxify your body from drugs and/or alcohol is a key part of this plan.
Here are some basic steps on how to plan your detox:
It is important to literally write down the reasons why you are going to stop using drugs and begin a sober life by detoxifying your body. This is important for two reasons; the first is you are required to recognize how your drug abuse has effected your life, your family, etc. Secondly, you are confirming to yourself the purpose of your detox.
By writing down the reasons why you are quitting drugs, you are also creating a tool that you can use when you are going through a particularly rough moment or day and have a craving. By reading this list, you can remind yourself the reasons you quit and can strengthen your commitment to the detox process.
As noted by Peter McDermott in his 1993 guide to Do-It-Yourself Detox, every drug has different effects and difference withdrawal symptoms that will impact your body once you start your detox. Every person withdrawals in different ways, depending on body chemistry, how long you have used and how much you have used.
List all of the drugs you have been using, ranking them in order of which you have the worst problem. McDermott notes that depending on the drug, it may be advantageous for you to gradually stop using a particular drug with the help of a medical profession. So, if you are addicted to a high dose of prescription drugs, you can talk to your doctor about the best way to ensure sustainable success and to holistically ease off the drug. Going cold turkey may end up causing very intense withdrawal symptoms and a quick relapse.
You may want to know the potential symptoms that you will be experiencing. You can find them here. By understanding more of what you will be going through during detox, you can mentally prepare yourself for what is to come. This helps you set reasonable expectations on the pace of your detox.
The process of drug addiction and drug withdrawal is based on your brain’s production and lack of production of dopamine. When going through detox and getting your brain off of drugs, one of the biggest withdrawal symptoms is depression. It is important to know that this is part of the detox process. Also, your depression may not go away for a very long time. Even when you do activities that are supposed to make you feel happy, you may still feel depressed. Don’t let this discourage you. While you are off of drugs, your brain is repairing itself, enabling you to create more dopamine without the help of drugs. Eventually, you will be able to naturally stimulate your brain without drugs and your depression will fade.
A supportive community to help you through really intense moments is key to a successful detox and long-term sobriety. Depending on the type of drug you are stopping, you should notify your doctor. You should also notify your friends and family members that you are quitting. This is so they know what is going on and why you may not be answering your phone for a while. Their encouragement and positive support will also help you mentally get past hard moments.
Although some people do not like AA or other 12-step groups, especially before, during, and after detox, 12-step groups are great resources as an activity to fill your time and for a community of people who know what you are going through.
Another key to note about the people around you while going through detox is that it is best to be clear of any responsibilities for at least two weeks. This is especially key if you are detoxing from major drugs like heroin or narcotics. If you have children, find a way to have grandparents or a trusted-reliable friend take care of them. This way, you do not have to worry about taking care of them and can focus on getting healthy.
McDermott gives these suggestions to prepare for your detox:
The length of your detox depends on the type of drug you have used and how long you have used it. Although the first 1 to 3 weeks you may have severe withdrawal symptoms, detoxification is a continual process. Initially it is a physical process. However, detox is also a physiological and psychological process as well.
Click here for more suggestions on what you can do to help your detoxification.
Major Source: Peter McDermott. 1993. McDermott's Guide to Do-It-Yourself Detox. Lifeline Project.