Common Myths About Drug Detox

If illicit substances have clenched their suffocating fists around your day-to-day life, it may be time to consider drug detox. While the tediousness of verifying insurance benefits and reviewing detox facilities with a fine-tooth comb can send any substance use disorder sufferer running back to toxic coping mechanisms, the payoff is well worth the initial sacrifices.

Although, it’s vital to recognize that convincing yourself or a loved one to go through the drug detox process is no small feat. In some cases, horror stories chronicling withdrawal symptoms can dissuade a substance use disorder sufferer sitting on the fence. Similarly, the long list of detox myths circulating online or within inner circles can leave addicts digging in their heels, willingly setting back their recovery timeline. 

Whether you’re gearing up to start your detox journey here or just want to separate fact from fiction, it’s essential to learn some of the common myths surrounding detoxing. 

If you decide to go into a detox program, everyone in your life will know about it

People may hesitate to enter a detox program because they’re worried everyone in their life – including future employers – will find out about their detox. However, like any medical service, substance abuse treatment is also protected under HIPAA. 

No detox facility can share information about your treatment with others, and violating the HIPAA act can lead to legal action. 

You don’t need professional help to detox 

It’s not uncommon for addicts to use this myth to serve their narrative of denial. While the idea of self-detox can sound less demanding than entering a detox program and consulting the professionals, nothing is easy about self-detox. Coping with the pain, nausea, and panic attacks characteristic of detox miles away from the nearest medical center can even be life-threatening, meaning the safest way to detox from your addiction is with professional help. 

While self-detox can lead to extreme discomfort or worse, a rehab or detox facility will have the resources to help manage that discomfort and help you withdraw safely, guaranteeing success in the long term. 

You won’t get into a good detox program if you’re not rich

It’s a common misconception that only the wealthy can afford to detox with professional help. Regardless of your financial circumstances or where you live, you’re likely to find at least one program (and usually more) that can meet your needs and help you detox effectively. 

Not only do most detox programs accommodate their patients with payment plans, but as a medical service, many health insurance plans at least partially cover substance abuse treatment. 

Going into a detox program requires you to leave your entire life behind for months

Another way that many people talk themselves out of detox is the fear that they’ll have to leave their life behind for months or longer. Fortunately, going through detox doesn’t mean that you’ll have to quit your job and can’t see your friends and family for months. 

Depending on the program and the severity of your addiction, there are plenty of outpatient programs or plans that you can use, which allow you to complete the program and safely detox while you’re still living at home. 

After you’ve detoxed, you’ll have to rely on willpower to stay clean 

Some addicts may put off going to detox because they’re worried about the aftermath. Once they’ve gone through detox, they may be worried that they’ll have nothing but their own willpower to combat the addiction. 

Going through detox is only one part of recovery. After you’ve gone through withdrawals, you can still expect to receive plenty of peer support, aftercare services, and even intensive counseling to help you stay drug-free. 

The pain of going through drug detox will last forever

Detox can be incredibly uncomfortable, and while you’re in the midst of it, it can feel as if the pain or symptoms you’re experiencing will last forever. Ultimately, telling yourself that the pain won’t end can make detox harder and deter you from pursuing drug detox in the first place. 

Most of the time, the initial detox takes between five to seven days, although the timeframe can vary based on the type of drug, how long you’ve been using a substance, and your own age and health. While the physical symptoms of severe detoxes may last longer, no detox is going to last forever or for the rest of your life. 

Detox can be completely pain-free with medication

In many cases, medications may be used throughout detox to manage discomfort and other physical symptoms. While it’s normal for these medications and other services to ease the pain or discomfort you’re feeling, it’s unrealistic to assume that your detox is going to be completely pain-free. 

Going through detox will cure my addiction

Another unrealistic perspective that some addicts carry is that going through detox is the only obstacle to their recovery. With misconceptions occupying precious mental space, individuals pursuing recovery may wrongfully assume that their substance use disorder will be cured once they’ve gone through withdrawals. While detox is an essential part of your recovery, it’s not the only component. 

Recovery is a long process, and there’s more to treating a disease like a drug addiction than just physical symptoms. Once you’ve detoxed, you’ll still need to continue to treat your addiction with the help of professionals and a great support system. 

Final thoughts

From misconceptions that you’ll have to spend months in a rehab facility to unrealistic ideas that detox pain will last forever, there’s a sea of drug detox myths to wade through. To ensure long-term recovery success, adjust expectations surrounding the detox process and proceed with a resilient attitude.