Detox – the Reality versus the Myth

What is a detox?

Addiction is a disease with many symptoms that may affect each individual person in a unique way.

Addictive drugs and alcohol make changes to the way the brain processes emotions and regulates mood. Continued abuse of drugs or alcohol interferes with the motivation and reward chemistry and circuitry in the brain, resulting in drug cravings and dependence. Once a dependence on a substance has formed, withdrawal symptoms will start when the substance is then removed.

The removal of this substance is the beginning of the detox. The symptoms that follow will vary from person to person and the acuity of those symptoms will also vary.

The length of time it takes your body to detox from recreational drugs or alcohol varies depending on the drug you have become addicted to, and on your individual addiction history.

In almost all cases, an inpatient option for detoxification from substance abuse often provides the safest way of withdrawing. Medical detox is the optimal choice in helping to make withdrawal as smooth as possible for most addictive drugs and for keeping you safe.

Physical withdrawal from a chemical addiction can be a frightening and difficult experience, which is why many people opt for an inpatient program. Arriving onsite at a treatment centre to detox can be terrifying as its likely you will feel overwhelmed at this time. We understand that and our team of experienced and empathetic experts are here to support you and to try to guide you through it. One day at a time.

Our program supports recovery from addiction in a safe, medically managed drug detoxification plan. Doctors and nursing staff are able to monitor overall health while the body is detoxes and, if necessary, offer appropriate medication to support a more comfortable and controlled detox and recovery.


The severity and duration of withdrawal is influenced by the level of dependency on the substance and a few other factors, including:

·                   Length of time abusing the substance

·                   Type of substance abused

·                   Method of abuse (e.g., snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing)

·                   Amount taken each time

·                   Family history and genetic makeup

·                   Medical and mental health factors

Withdrawal occurs because your brain works like a spring when it comes to addiction. Drugs and alcohol are brain depressants that push down the spring. They suppress your brain’s production of neurotransmitters like noradrenaline. When you stop using drugs or alcohol it’s like taking the weight off the spring, and your brain rebounds by producing a surge of adrenaline that causes withdrawal symptoms.

This is why, at South Pacific Private, we provide a safe, medically supervised detox. The symptoms of withdrawal can range from milder to more severe and it’s critical that a multi-disciplinary experienced team are on hand to manage this for patients and to support them through the process as the symptoms can, on occasion, be life-threatening.  Our clients are closely monitored during their detox by a team a trained nursing and medical staff 24 hours a day.

Physical withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Shakiness – tremor
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or blackouts
  • Increased craving for the substance(s)
  • Agitation / irritability
  • Appetite disturbances
  • Joint pains
  • Flu symptoms
  • Fever
  • Mood swings

Experiencing detoxification in a treatment centre such as South Pacific Private can also help with issues surrounding emotional dependence. Why? Because, the detox environment is a supportive, drug-free environment where peer and therapist support is available 24/7.

Contrary to the way that detox is often presented in the media, it’s not a ‘quick fix’ where you simply get ‘dry’ and then walk away. South Pacific Private’s program is designed to support emotional and physical recovery from an addiction. We are a trauma-based therapeutic treatment centre with an emphasis on recovery, families and a multi-disciplinary approach. Getting ‘dry’ is the first step on a journey towards transformation and awareness. It’s the first step towards living a life beyond your wildest dreams; unencumbered by addiction, depression, anxiety or PTSD.

What happens when I arrive to detox?

When you first arrive, you will go through an intake process.

You will complete both a medical and a general administrative admissions process. During this process you will be asked questions on your drug history and prior use. It is important to answer all questions as honestly and completely as possible. Once you have completed the intake process, you will be given a tour of the detox facilities by a current patient (a buddy tour) so you can easily locate everything. You will then be taken to your room. A nurse will help you unpack your belongings.

You will also receive a complete physical exam by a GP to identify any underlying conditions that should be treated during detox from drugs. Detox from alcohol and opiate detoxification can take several days to several weeks depending on the severity of the addiction, and whether or not you suffer from more than one addiction. You may be given medications to help you deal with the withdrawal symptoms and to help lessen your cravings.

Once you are physically able, you will begin attending group therapy sessions with your assigned primary therapist. These sessions offer support during your rehabilitation and recovery post detox. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) will help you identify and cope with triggers that cause your addiction or mood disorder.

Group therapy allows other individuals in the facility to meet in a small group setting that is facilitated by a professional. Individuals within the group are encouraged to share stories and to help one another during the treatment process.

Family therapy is also used at South Pacific Private and is a cornerstone of our treatment. It helps family members deal with the destructive behaviour of the addict and helps the family to understand their legacy and the enabling or otherwise behaviours that have occurred. It also enables the whole family to use common language and shared understanding moving forward. Family therapy identifies common warning signs and gives families a plan of action on what to do should a relapse occur. It also helps families learn how to be supportive during rehab and recovery.

After the detox process is complete, you will already feel and look significantly healthier.  However, it’s important to remember that this isn’t the end; it’s actually the beginning. This is the beginning of your recovery and the beginning of the next chapter of your life.

After working with each individual during detox, our medical professionals will have a strong understanding of your needs, and can support your transition into this next stage.

Detox is tough, but addiction is tougher. Don’t hesitate to seek help today and put yourself on a path to recovery. 

Call South Pacific Private today on 1800 063 332 to get support.