Addiction to drugs or alcohol happens when a person becomes physically and psychologically dependent on a substance. It is usually a gradual process: as the amount and frequency of use increases over time, the dependence becomes more entrenched. Eventually, the body becomes so accustomed to the drugs or alcohol that it starts to behave as if these substances are essential for survival, in the same way that food and water are essential for survival.
When the body is deprived of something that it needs, it sends physical signals to the individual to let them know they are running low on that substance. For instance, if we don’t have enough water, we get thirsty. If we don’t get enough food, we get hungry. And for people with drug or alcohol abuse problems, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms are a result of the body being deprived of the substance it has become used to, and that it thinks it needs.
In many cases withdrawal symptoms are inconvenient and uncomfortable, but otherwise harmless. Sometimes, though, the process of withdrawal can be both terrifying and life-threatening. A detox centre is a place for addicts to go through the detox process while under supervision. This keeps them safe and reduces the possibility of relapse.
What are the signs of detox or withdrawal?
The way in which detox happens depends on the individual and on the substance being taken. It is more severe for some people than it is for others: the severity depends on the user’s state of physical and mental health, the amount and frequency of drug use, and the number of substances to which one is addicted. The duration of detox also varies, but it generally lasts for three to seven days.