For many gay and lesbian individuals, the drug detoxification process is the first step in addiction treatment and marks the resolution of the physical addiction to drugs. During the drug detoxification process, the body begins to eliminate addictive drugs and their toxins from the system. Additionally, as the body moves through the cravings and physical symptoms associated with the withdrawal phase, brain chemistry begins to become restored for the first time since addiction set in. As a result, gay and lesbian individuals recovering from drug addiction find themselves free from physical cravings.
Important Truths About Gay and Lesbian Detox Process
Despite the freedom that drug detoxification affords, many gay and lesbian individuals harbor fears about the detox process itself. In fact, misconceptions abound about the way that drug detoxification works – particularly in cases of gay and lesbian drug detox programs. Unfortunately, fears about drug detoxification can serve to obstruct gay and lesbian individuals’ desire for drug addiction treatment. Below, we’ve covered some of the most relevant aspects of the drug detoxification process, including withdrawal, cravings and medical involvement.
- Recovery Begins After Drug Detox
Despite the misconception that recovery is achieved once drug detoxification is completed, drug detox marks only the beginning of recovery. Drug detox helps eliminate the cravings for drugs, but the underlying psychological, emotional and social needs behind gay and lesbian drug use still need to be addressed. Through dedicated individual counseling sessions and the implementation of group therapy, many gay and lesbian individuals can experience emotional healing in addition to the physical healing that drug detox provides.
- LGBT Tolerance Matters During Detox
Levels of compassion and tolerant attitudes matter significantly during gay and lesbian detox. Patients are at their most vulnerable when their bodies are experiencing pain or discomfort. With the addition of withdrawal symptoms and psychological fluctuations such as mood swings, personality shifts, irritability, delirium or even psychosis, gay and lesbian individuals need care that displays both expertise and freedom from prejudice.
- Short Withdrawal Phase
Many individuals assume that the withdrawal phase of gay and lesbian drug detoxification is harrowing and never-ending. On the contrary, most withdrawal symptoms only last one to two weeks at maximum, and some periods of withdrawal end within days of enrollment in a drug addiction treatment center.
- Dangers of “Cold Turkey” and Self-Detox
Those who seek to detoxify from drugs suddenly (known as “cold turkey” abstinence attempts) or alone can encounter a host of physical and mental difficulties. Solo drug detoxification has an incredibly dismal effectiveness rate, largely due to persistent cravings and poorly managed withdrawal symptoms that lead the user back into drug use. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms can have lasting – or fatal – consequences if not treated promptly and correctly. Gay or lesbian individuals who do not receive the drug detoxification assistance they require can incur mental health problems, physical problems or even death in severe cases.
- Addiction to Detox Drugs
Some gay and lesbian drug detox programs employ the use of prescription drugs in order to eradicate cravings. In fact, the use of methadone has become widely used in mitigating withdrawal symptoms from heroin abuse. These cases, known as “medical detox” instances, often can give way to a second addiction to the treating drug. In fact, where secondary addictions develop, gay and lesbian individuals quickly become stranded without recourse – and with little beyond a second drug dependency.