The Harsh Reality of Addiction and Drug Detox

Women curled up on the floor thinking about addiction and Drug Detox

A young man overdosed in a gas station from shooting heroin in the bathroom.

A married couple was found nodded out on the side of the road with their child in the backseat.

The boy I sat next to at my high school graduation was found dead by his little brother with a needle in his arm.

These are all true events that have happened in my hometown over the past few years, and things are not getting any better.

Addiction is an internal condition, invisible to the naked eye. It is happening all around us and without proper knowledge of what addiction is and how drug detox should work. I don’t see the situation improving.

The Opioid Epidemic

In 2015, there were 52,404 lethal drug overdoses. Prescription painkillers seem to be the leading cause of overdose. Prescriptions took 20,101 lives in 2015, followed by heroin, which took 12,990 lives.

To make things even scarier, it’s not just adults who are getting hooked on opiates. In 2015, 122,000 adolescents (ages 12-17) reported being addicted to prescription pain relievers, and 21,000 admitted to heroin use.

These are your children, nieces, nephews, cousins, and grandchildren who are getting hooked on these dangerous drugs. If these statistics aren’t enough to scare you, then see the rest of them for yourself from The American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Drug Detox and Withdrawal

If you or someone you love are detoxing from prescription drugs or heroin, don’t expect the road to be an easy one.

Getting clean from these extremely addictive substances is not as simple as saying “no”. Physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion will often result in fighting for a dose of those drugs again.

It all starts with the withdrawal.

When a drug user decides to put down the pills or the needle, the first 72 hours will be the most difficult due to the withdrawal symptoms. These uncomfortable symptoms are what trapped the user into the cycle of addiction because the drug of choice would always make them subside.

Some withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Watery eyes
  • Cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Goosebumps
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors

As you can see, drug detox is not pretty.

However, don’t let this get in the way of you or your loved one’s recovery. You are not alone in this!

Thousands of people overcome drug addiction every year! Check out this article on detox diligence to help start your recovery on a positive note.

Relapse Reality

The physical aspect of detox seems like a walk in the park compared to what users have to go through mentally and emotionally. The harsh reality of recovery is that 90% of opiate users end up relapsing.

Often times drug users will try to fight their fight alone, or simply not allow their minds and bodies enough time to heal after a short stay at a rehabilitation center.

This may seem discouraging and hopeless, but a lot of recovered drug users seem to believe that relapse is part of recovery.

Fortunately, there are extensive support systems and medical professionals that put drug users first. The road to recovery is not easy, but it is possible to succeed with the proper help and education.