Side Effects You Might Experience During a Detox

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Drug detox is a safe way for individuals struggling with addiction to cope with withdrawal symptoms and remove the substances from their systems. However, it comes in handy to learn about the range of side effects you might experience during a detox beforehand. However, when done at a reputable Palm Beach detox center, you can be sure the symptoms will be as painless as possible. The staff will be there to guide you through the process and make it bearable for you.

You can always come to us at Bright Futures Treatment Center and expect no less than the best possible care. We also operate as a high-efficient Palm Beach detox center, therefore we invite you to begin your recovery process today. At our center, some of the best addiction recovery experts will come up with the best treatment plan so you can overcome addiction for good. With us at your disposal, you may rest assured that every step you take will be towards sobriety and a new life marked with healthier choices.

The difference between medical detox and self-withdrawal

Medical detox is the procedure that frees the body of an addicted individual from drugs. It’s done in a specialized detox center, with the help of trained staff. By far, medical detox is the most efficient, and also the safest way to remove drugs from the system, without suffering from health complications.

a woman explaining side effects you might experience during a detox
The side effects you might experience during a detox are common bodily responses.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that medical detox is as painful as medical detox. Unlike administered medical detox, self-withdrawal is followed by a myriad of painful symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Paranoia 
  • Excess sweating
  • Constant fatigue
  • Frequent twitching and tremors
  • Muscle pain
  • Reduced appetite
  • Poor motor skills
  • Exacerbated mental disorders (anxiety, BPD…)
  • Manic episodes
  • Mood swings 

When it comes to withdrawal, going cold turkey has counterproductive effects. Addicts who attempt to get off the drugs on their own experience not just physical but also mental discomfort and pain. This, in turn, pushes them further into addiction, considering how self-attempted withdrawals can be excruciating. In cases of severe addiction, self-withdrawal is all but effective. It only pushes an addicted individual back to drug abuse due to the pain experienced during withdrawal. The mentioned symptoms may happen all at once, which makes it unbearable for an addict to function during the day. Medical detoxification, on the other hand, is a lot different. The side effects experienced during detox are bearable and easier to overcome.

Is medical detox mandatory?

According to NIDA, medical detox is a mandatory first step in addiction recovery. As long as high amounts of alcohol and drugs are in your system, it’s impossible to proceed to the next stage of drug and/or alcohol rehab. In order for you to be completely focused and dedicated to recovery, the drug must be gone from your bloodstream.

focused woman writing down the side effects you might experience during a detox
Thanks to the medical staff, the side effects you might experience during a detox can be easier to handle.

Here’s how medical detox works – steps of medical detox:

  1. The patient learns about the procedure and gets a customized plan. Keep in mind that medical detox isn’t a one-size fits all treatment. The clinician must assess the patient’s psychological condition and severity of addiction before determining the level of care.
  2. The staff at the detox center monitors the detoxification process and makes sure that the patient follows through with the protocol. They advise a patient about measured of precaution once the first symptoms show up.
  3. After the detox, the staff at the rehab center prescribes an adequate treatment plan for the patient.

Possible side-effects of medical detox

It’s important to note that side effects aren’t mandatory. They occur depending on the patient’s current condition and various other factors. However, it’s good to know what symptoms might happen so you can mentally prepare for the detoxification process. This doesn’t mean it’s difficult to go through the detox. The side effects represent a temporary discomfort that will disappear as soon as the body becomes free from substances. With the help of the medical staff, the process will be painless.

Changes in brain chemistry

Addiction causes a mess in brain chemistry. Over time, the brain becomes dependent on the substance. Once the drug starts leaving the system during medical detox, another set of changes in brain chemistry is expected. The brain is in a state of shock due to the absence of regularly ingested substances. However, this is temporary, since the body and brain are about to return back to normal. Reversing the damaging effect of drugs and alcohol on your brain is never easy, and takes time.

Impact on mental health

Medical detox can be challenging for people suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders. Since detox changes brain chemistry, it, therefore, affects mental health conditions. Mood swings, drowsiness, irritability, and other symptoms are possible to occur. However, specialists at rehab centers can design a specific detox treatment that makes the whole procedure as painless as possible.

confused girl
Enhanced anxiety and insomnia are common side effects you might experience during a detox.


The absence of drugs will also impact one’s sleep patterns. For instance, those who are used to tranquilizers and painkillers will start to feel more restless, which will impact their sleep. The reason is that the entire biochemistry is shifting. Furthermore, the brain struggles to adjust to the drug-free system after months (or even years) of the constant presence of a drug.


You are likely to experience drug cravings during medical detox due to the drug leaving your system. This is why it helps to consult with your family members and doctors before the detox begins. They will advise you what to do during cravings and therefore get through the detox avoiding relapse.

Physical symptoms

Muscle cramps headache, nausea, and dizziness are likely to occur during medical detox. However, these symptoms are likely to handle better during medical detox, than during self-withdrawal. The medications ingested during medically assisted detox lessen pain severity.

What to do if side effects occur?

The best solution is to follow the prescribed protocol, take medications, and watch your nutrition, and water intake. Do everything that serves your health and well-being. It also helps to have someone close to you you can talk to in moments of crisis. You can also ask them to help you stay accountable during the detox. This way, medical detox won’t be as mentally taxing.

drugs on the table
The side effects you might experience during a detox depend on the severity of your drug addiction.

Before the detox, have a small journal/notebook ready. Writing is always the best way to stay on track with recovery. Write how you feel on each day of detox. Draw a box and put a checkmark inside it. Journaling gives you a sense of accomplishment and keeps you motivated to continue with detox, and therefore rehab. It also keeps you mentally at ease, which is important, especially during the detox period.

The side effects might be more prominent in cases of severe addiction

Long-term addiction to hard drugs takes a lot of effort to undo. When it comes to heroin rehab Florida centers provide, medical detox is the first mandatory step to undergo. However, the common side effects are felt a lot stronger if the level of addiction is higher. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long until the body begins to adapt to the detox. However, it might take a bit longer for the brain to calm down. That’s why each patient gets specific instructions at the rehab center in order to prepare ahead. That way, they can stay motivated during moments of crisis when old drug cravings kick in.

Are there side effects after medical detox?

A small percentage of the population might experience prolonged side effects even after the detox. This, however, depends on the patient’s physical and mental condition. In that case, pharmacotherapy is what addiction recovery experts resort to. It’s done in a careful way so the patient’s drug cravings don’t get triggered in the process. Also, counseling with a licensed therapist can help a patient overcome the side effects and finally begin the next stage of the recovery process.

a girl holding her head
Remember that the side effects you might experience during a detox are temporary.

What to do if you feel hesitant about undergoing medical detox

Rest assured it’s completely ok to have fears about medical detox. If you had an unpleasant experience trying to detox on your own, it’s normal to be hesitant about the medical version of a detox. The following list of reminders can be handy in those moments:

  • Remember that the first step of your recovery journey is a medically assisted detox. Take it as a level you must go through in order to get to the next stage of recovery.
  • The side effects of detoxification are sometimes inevitable. However, medical detox can ease the severity of side effects and make the process painless. In addition, you’re supported by professional medical staff all the way.
  • If the side effects get physically or mentally overwhelming, remember that it’s only a temporary subjective feeling. You won’t pass out, and you won’t lose your mind, as some would say. Long-term dependency on drugs takes time to undo. This is why attempts to shift the body back to normal are shocking in the first days of medical detox.
  • Medical detox isn’t necessarily an excruciating procedure. This assumption, unfortunately, drives many people with a drug problem from seeking help. Even if they occur, side effects won’t have a negative impact on your health. Remember that medically assisted detox is meant to help you, not endanger your life.

Medical detox is necessary in cases of addiction to prescription drugs

One of the common misconceptions regarding detox is that it doesn’t apply to prescription drugs. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Prescriptives like Adderral, Ritalin, and OxyCotin are known as highly addictive substances. The misuse of these substances can lead to overdose and a fatal outcome. If you know someone struggling with addiction to stimulants, painkillers, or sedatives, don’t hesitate to suggest medical detox before going into rehab. As it’s already mentioned, rehab facilities don’t allow participation in other treatments unless the detox is completed first. Prescription substances are neither less dangerous, nor less addictive than heroin and cocaine.

a woman at the meeing
The staff at the rehab facility will come up with a customized rehab treatment after the detox is over.

Fortunately, many notable centers provide the best Florida prescription drugs addiction treatment:

  • Stimulants: Addiction to stimulants is common among people in businesses or academies. High school and college students are another affected group. Due to the high demands the studies impose, occasional all-nighters become more and more frequent.
  • Opioids: Commonly used for pain relief and sleep disorders, opioids can be highly addictive if the dosage increases without consulting the doctor. Opioid addiction is one of the most prominent in the US and can be treated only at specialized facilities.

Is a person drug-free after completing the detox?

After you complete the medical detox, the drug will be gone from your system. However, this doesn’t mean you are fully recovered. Although your body is drug-free after the detox, psychological dependency is still present. Let’s explain with an example. Person X had gone through a medical detox and wants to go back to daily life duties, work, etc. Somewhere along the way, they meet a friend with whom they used to do drugs. Or maybe experience a trauma flashback, which stresses them out. Before they know it, they relapse. The drug is still a go-to solution whenever person X feels any sort of discomfort. Constant relapses lead to a never-ending loop. Furthermore, they lose any hope they can overcome addiction at all.

This example shows that abstinence is impossible to maintain after a medical detox only. For person X to overcome addiction in its entirety, they must undergo various treatments, depending on their condition:

  • Pharmacotherapy in case of combined addiction with a particular mental health disorder.
  • Specific psychotherapy.
  • Group therapy might be mandatory.
  • Additional activities.

Look for a treatment center that offers medical detox in addition to various rehab programs

There are various rehabilitation facilities that offer various treatments for different levels of drug addiction. That being said, you have to search for the right rehab center that provides rehab options and medical detox. If a rehab center is also known as a renowned detox center, give it a second look. Luckily, many rehab centers deploy medical detox as a mandatory first step of a recovery journey. It makes it easier for people suffering from drug addiction to get the care they need.

The therapist speaking to a patinet
Contact rehab centers that provide medical detox and different types of rehab programs that also involve psychotherapy.

The doctors and therapists will decide what kind of treatment program is for you. Each of them is for specific types of addiction. For example, meth rehab Florida programs include specific medications for addiction treatment, as well as psychotherapy. So, before you contact a rehab facility, make sure it offers the treatment you need.

Should you choose inpatient or outpatient rehab?

After the completion of detox, you will go to either inpatient or outpatient rehab. The level of care will be decided by an addiction recovery specialist. Here’s what to expect from both rehab programs:

  • Intensive inpatient rehab Florida centers provide is the best program designed to help patients overcome substance and alcohol abuse within an enclosed facility. Patients go through a series of medical treatments and psychotherapy sessions. Since they live in a secluded facility, patients receive a 24h ongoing care. They are allowed to bring only essential items recommended by the specific packing policy.
  • Intensive outpatient rehab (IOP) is the most flexible way to treat addiction and manage your regular duties. It often serves as a step-down program from inpatient rehab. Since inpatient is more strict, outpatient rehab provides the possibility for patients to practice the mechanisms they learned. They can also strengthen organizational skills, and adjust to a structured life while going to treatments. On the other hand,  you can start right from  IOP Palm Beach treatment centers provide.  The treatments included in IOP are as effective as those in inpatient rehab, with a difference in duration (outpatient rehab lasts longer than inpatient).

If you and your partner both struggle with addiction, you may join a couples rehab in Florida. This special kind of rehab is designed for couples who wish to get well and repair their relationship in the process. It’s important to note that, although it’s a couples rehab, you’ll still have individual sessions with a licensed specialist. The goal is to help you overcome addiction on an individual level, and learn how to help your partner as well. The key is for couples to understand that they have to treat themselves better in order to do the same to the other person. With patience and continuous work, both you and your partner can rise above the addiction and begin a new life.

a guy supporting his partner during therapy session
Recovery takes time, which is why strong support is important.

Why should you consider a sober living home and aftercare after rehab?

After medical detox, and rehab treatments, many patients question what to do next. For some, getting back into society can be overwhelming. However, there’s a solution for this – a sober living home. Spending time in a sober living home gives a patient more time to prepare for upcoming daily challenges. During your stay, you are obligated to follow a strict schedule, morning to evening. Besides the discipline, you also regain a sense of community, as there are others who are staying in sober living houses. Patients who spent a certain period of time in a sober living house have higher chances to stay sober.

In addition to sober living homes, aftercare treatment comes in handy. While not mandatory, continuous care is what actually helps you maintain long-term sobriety. This means you’ll be obligated to visit your therapist every week and work on becoming more and more independent in your new sober life. Since you’ll be facing daily challenges on regular basis, you’ll get a relapse prevention strategy tailored to you. It will help you learn how to bounce back from

Psychotherapy is an important aspect of drug rehab

At modern drug rehab Florida centers, you will receive adequate psychotherapy regardless of the treatment. The point of it is to bring a patient closer to recovery by facing underlying psychological motives that keep them in the addiction cycle. Physiological detox is just the tip of the iceberg (although not less important) when it comes to drug rehab. The real work begins when a patient starts working with a licensed psychologist. This is why various therapies are implemented in drug rehab. Each of them helps overcome general obstacles tied to addiction, and focus on a specific problem:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is used worldwide. Its flexibility allows addiction psychiatrists to adjust it for addiction therapy. That means the approach to patients facing addiction will be different. The methodology, however, remains the same. The first stage is uncovering underlying causes (trauma, negative beliefs stemming from the upbringing, etc.) step by step. The therapist is there to help the patient face the negative consequences of the behaviors driven by unresolved trauma. Over time, the patient regains a sense of responsibility for their life. The last stage is easier but equally important. This is where the patient begins to think of starting a new project hobby, and doing what gives them joy.
  • Similar to CBT,  Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for addiction has the purpose of helping patients overcome mental obstacles, and overcome addiction. However, DBT methods go the extra mile. DBT for addiction is designed for patients prone to extreme behaviors and viewpoints. That’s why another goal is to show the patients how to cope with the daily challenges after they get discharged. As the therapy progresses, patients begin to understand how extreme behaviors contribute to their addiction.
patient psychotherapist explaining side effects you might experience during a detox
Psychotherapy is essential to any type of rehab program.

Additional therapies

There are other types of therapies you can count on during your rehab:

  • Family therapy – Support from loved ones means a lot in times of challenges that come with recovery. Hence why family therapies incorporated into rehab programs increase the chances of recovery. When a patient feels supported along the way, they are more likely to stay on the right track.
  • Couples therapy – Relationships especially suffer due to one’s addiction. That’s why many rehab facilities implement therapy for couples.
  • Group therapy – When therapy is taking place in a group setting, it’s easier for patients to find the support they need during their recovery journey. When one of the members shows progress, it’s easier for others to follow through. Patients in group therapies motivate each other.

What if a patient suffers from co-occurring mental health disorder?

Today’s rehab facilities deploy an array of treatments with the goal to help a patient establish physical and mental well-being. In case you worry whether the treatments affect your mental health condition, rest assured that won’t be the care. The implementation of Dual Diagnosis allowed addiction recovery experts to diagnose and curb addiction and mental health problems at the same time. There isn’t a one-size treatment. Instead, each patient gets an individual plant that is customized according to their needs.

girl in gray sweatpants and sweatshirt sitting on the floor
Medical detox paired with Dual Diagnosis treatment can help patients with addiction and mental health disorders.

Ways to finance inpatient and outpatient rehab

The law sees addiction disorders as important as any other mental health issue or sickness. That being said, you can fully rely on insurance coverage plans. But the question is: How to get insurance coverage? 

When searching for insurance, always go with questions such as does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover alcohol rehab? In this case, the answer is positive. Why? Because Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the few major insurance plans. It’s also among the most sought-after insurance plans, and a great number of people can apply for it. Searching for the major insurance plans is also a good first step.

Check the amount of insurance coverage

It’s also important to check to which extent your chosen insurance plan covers your rehab. The coverage might differ from state to state. While at some institutions you can get full coverage, in others you can cover the expenses only partially, with the same insurance plan. So, make sure to do some research before you apply for any of the insurance plans. Ask does Aetna cover alcohol rehab in your state and what treatments are included.

Don’t forget to contact a rehab facility you’re considering prior to applying for insurance. For example, ask them is drug rehab covered under FMLA at their center. If the answer is positive, put that specific rehab center on the list.

Make sure you qualify for an insurance

After you check does Humana cover alcohol rehab (or drug rehab), ensure you’re an eligible applicant. Every insurance plan has specific criteria, terms, and conditions you should get familiar with. Never apply for any insurance coverage before checking if you tick all requirements from their list. Also, don’t hesitate to contact the insurance provider for additional clarifications.

Also, pay attention to other insurance plans you might qualify for. For instance, ask does Cigna cover rehab at the center that interests you. Also, inquire about other minor insurance options you may qualify for.

a guy signing an insurance
Research various insurance plans before you apply for any of them.

Ask for help when applying for insurance

Let your close family members or friends help you find the right insurance plan for you. The search process and documentation required can seem too much, which is why extra guidance is more than welcome. Advisors at rehab centers are there to assist you with the application process and make it a lot less complicated. Also, in case your proposal gets rejected, they can advise you to apply for other compatible insurance plans. So, make sure to learn about various insurance plans, and ask, for example, does AmeriHealth cover rehab at facilities you want to contact. That way you’ll increase your chances of getting potential full rehab coverage and handle the rehab financially without a headache.

Reasons to look for a rehab center that offers additional activities

The way rehab programs are conducted changed in the past few decades. Nowadays we have rehab centers that, besides medical treatments and psychotherapy, also implement additional activities. Some rehab facilities also include gyms, which is perfect for those who opt for inpatient treatment. While they live in a residential facility, patients need some activities to spend time on and connect with others. That’s why group hiking and kayaking tours are standard in many rehab centers that approach addiction treatment more holistically.

Another way to spend time at a rehab facility is through practical workshops. Art therapy is one of the most implemented ways to help patients rediscover their creative streak. This is why it’s beneficial to join a rehab facility that offers additional activities that increase chances for recovery. Plus, you get to connect with other people on the same journey as you! All activities – whether outdoor or indoor – take place in a calm, supportive, safe, and non-judgemental environment.

patient man meditating in his living room
Meditation, Yoga, and other supplementary treatments increase the chances for recovery.

Final words

The common side effects you might experience during a detox shouldn’t scare you from going into rehab. The procedure is administered by clinicians, so you have the least painful withdrawal. This gradual process doesn’t shock your body and mind (unlike self-withdrawal) and prepares you for the next steps of your recovery. That’s why rehab centers offering medical detox are your best option. You can always come to us at Bright Futures, where the entire team of addiction recovery experts and staff will have your needs taken care of. The door to our facility is open for you and/or your loved one whenever you’re ready to make the move toward addiction-free life.

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