Drug and Alcohol Detox for Veterans
Addiction is a disorder that affects millions of Americans and their families every day. Despite the fact that there is more awareness about the consequences of drug and alcohol use, more and more people succumb to addiction in ever-increasing amounts. In fact, the CDC’s most recent report on overdose deaths has found the largest month-over-month increase ever seen. This report highlights the importance of addiction treatment programs, like the drug and alcohol detox for veterans, offered at Sunrise, so that our nation’s heroes can get the help that they urgently need.
What is Detox?
Detox is often the first step on the recovery journey. In the simplest terms, detox is the process of removing drugs and alcohol from the body, in order to return it to a neutral, drug-free state. Many people experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using substances that will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- What substance a person was abusing
- How long they were abusing it
- Method of use
- Their unique body chemistry
- Underlying mental health disorders
Entering an addiction treatment facility to undergo supervised detox is often necessary in order to ensure that someone going through withdrawal is supervised for their health and safety, and to make sure that they are as comfortable as possible during the process.
How PTSD Can Complicate Drug And Alcohol Detox For Veterans
Veterans experience PTSD at higher rates than any other single group in the United States. PTSD has an enormous impact on quality of life and can make it even more complicated for veterans to transition to civilian life after service. Once they are out, many veterans find it difficult to cope with things like finding a new home or job, as it often makes their PTSD symptoms more difficult to manage. This leads many veterans to turn to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with symptoms of PTSD.
Unfortunately, attempting to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol can lead many veterans to become addicted as, over time, substance abuse only makes PTSD symptoms worse. And when someone with PTSD tries to stop using, they may experience withdrawal symptoms which can exacerbate their mental health symptoms. Very often relapse is the result.
Detox Withdrawal Timelines
How long it takes to completely detox from drugs or alcohol depends on a number of factors and will vary from person to person. There are some general guidelines that can help you prepare for what to expect during detox.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can appear in as little as 8 hours after your last drink but may take as long as 1 to 2 days. For most people, symptoms peak in 2 to 3 days, but may linger for weeks. The most common symptoms are:
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Shakiness and tremors
- Mood swings
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
For the most severe alcohol addictions, there is a risk of a more serious type of withdrawal called delirium tremens, or DTs. The symptoms for DTs can be more severe, and also include hallucinations, delusions, and even seizures, which can be life-threatening.
Opioid/Heroin Withdrawal Timeline
Most people begin to experience opioid withdrawal symptoms in 6 to 24 hours after their last use. Symptoms can include:
- Runny Nose
- High Blood Pressure
The symptoms are usually the most serious for 2 to 4 days after last use, and can also include diarrhea, dehydration, nausea, and vomiting. Withdrawal usually begins to taper off in 5 to 8 days. Mental health side effects like anxiety and depression can linger for longer periods of time, and cravings can be intense and difficult to manage without treatment.
Cocaine/Crack Cocaine Timeline
Withdrawal symptoms for those addicted to cocaine or crack cocaine often begin within just a few hours of their last use. The most common symptoms are:
- Irregular Heartbeat
These symptoms usually last for 1 to 3 days. The next several days may see an increase in symptoms, including dehydration, insomnia, nightmares, and extreme drug cravings. Symptoms can last anywhere from 10 days to four weeks.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Timeline
Benzodiazepines can cause withdrawal symptoms within just a few hours of the last dose. Most people will notice symptoms that can include anxiety and problems sleeping. Within the first few days other symptoms may include:
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Sweat Excessively
Days 5 to 14 will often include an increase in mental health symptoms, such as worsening depression or anxiety, and insomnia. Many will find their symptoms taper off after 2 weeks, but people with prolonged benzo addiction may find that the symptoms come back periodically for months after their last use.
Marijuana Withdrawal Timeline
For the first day, those going through marijuana withdrawal may experience:
- Drug Cravings
- Problems Sleeping
- Decreased Appetite
During days 2 to 7, symptoms may also include anxiety, depression, or a lack of motivation. After a week, most people’s symptoms will disappear, though cravings may still be an occasional issue.
What Does Drug And Alcohol Detox for Veterans Look Like?
Drug and alcohol detox begins with a comprehensive assessment so that your provider can have a full picture of your symptoms and possible complications like PTSD. From there, your provider will explain to you what you can expect for your individual treatment plan. For most people with addiction and PTSD, the best option is going to be an inpatient detox program, which allows you to focus totally on your recovery plan.
The biggest advantage to an inpatient drug and alcohol detox program is that it means you have 24/7 support. The members of our team are all experts in the care and treatment of addiction. This means that they can give you medications that help manage withdrawal symptoms, and be on hand at all times in case you need extra support or have a medical emergency. If you are addicted to alcohol or opioids, your detox may also include specialized medicines that help reduce symptoms and the intense drug cravings many people experience.
Drug And Alcohol Detox For Veterans
At Sunrise Veterans, our programs don’t include just the run-of-the-mill detox treatment. We specialize in the treatment and detox for veterans, which means that we also take into account the experiences in your life that can further complicate addiction and recovery.
Don’t try to get sober on your own, without proper help addiction, and PTSD symptoms, it can be difficult to maintain sobriety and overcome roadblocks that have kept you from living your fullest life. Contact Sunrise Veterans today to learn more about how we can help veterans just like you to get sober and get the treatment that they need for addiction and underlying mental health issues like PTSD.