A reader writes in and asks: “What will help get through detox?”
That depends on what drug or drugs you are detoxing from. Let’s consider a few different ones.
If you are detoxing from several different drugs, then you should probably just cut to the chase and go right to drug rehab. If you really need help, and you are on several different drugs, then ask for help and seek treatment. It really is the best way for most people in most situations.
Alcohol – if you are coming off of alcohol then realize that this is a potentially dangerous and life threatening condition. You need to seek medical treatment immediately if you start shaking badly. Other than that, you can always avoid some of the pain of withdrawal if you sleep through it, though this will be tough for most people. If you get headaches then you can take over the counter medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen for that.
It is not really recommended that you try to taper yourself down off the booze because most alcoholics will fail miserably at doing this, and still have potential danger when they are fully done with the drinking. Rehab is the best bet if you struggle to get off alcohol.
Opiates – painkillers and heroin are tough to kick because of the nasty withdrawal symptoms, which feel worse than alcohol withdrawal but are far less dangerous. There is not risk of death in opiate withdrawal, but you might feel like you are going to die. In this case you might take some over the counter medication to help with body aches and pains, and you might try a bit of Benadryl to help with anxiety. Never exceed the dosages on the box. You can also talk with your doctor about getting some help for opiate withdrawal, and he might direct you to rehab or he might prescribe some medications that can help.
Again, one of the key concepts in getting through it is to sleep through it. Most people cannot sleep well through withdrawal so you might use a timing system in order to force yourself to sleep. Stay up for a day or two after you stop using drugs and then you will be extra tired and need to sleep for a whole day straight when you are going through the worst of your withdrawals, which usually happen on day 3. If you can sleep through most of it then you can avoid the pain and discomfort of detox.
Anyone who is serious about quitting should talk with your doctor before taking any advice from this article, but also consider going to treatment. At rehab, they will have a doctor who is taking care of your directly, and that doctor likely has more experience with addiction and substance abuse than a regular doctor. Seek professional help if you want the best possible help for your detox.