What Drug Detox is Really Like
Knowing what to expect can help enhance your chance of finding sobriety
When one person who went through detox as part of the Malibu Beach Recovery Centers program, she indicated that she didn’t actually remember much about the first days of detox. As she moved through the program, she developed a greater appreciation for the simpler pleasures in life, such as good food and noted that it tasted better than it had in a long time. Eventually she was successful in her recovery because she truly embraced the program and allowed it to work the way it was intended to.
For some, drug detox and recovery are more difficult. One woman worked very hard to get into Malibu Beach Recovery Center’s Program. Her addiction was putting her marriage and her relationship with her child at risk. She finally began the program without understanding what she was up against, and unfortunately she dropped out of the program during a critical time.
A Civil War in the Brain
There are two main parts of the brain that motivate the decisions that people make in their lives. The first to develop is the Limbic System, which is the unconscious part of the brain that develops during the first 15-18 years of life. The Limbic system is primitive and irrational and is driven by a desire to do whatever is going to feel good in the moment and is unable to understand the potential negative consequences of the behavior.
The Limbic’s opponent is the frontal cortex, which matures during the late teen years and in early adulthood. It is this part of the brain that connects to the world. It finds a sense of morality, takes responsibility, learns to empathize with others and develops love and spirituality. The frontal cortex finds pleasure in things that exist naturally in their world and in their life, because it is these things that naturally releases dopamine to support pleasurable feelings. The frontal cortex is the part of the brain that is supposed to be in control, and going through the detox process allows that part of the brain to take back its rightful place. Ideally that happens and the limbic system in the brain stops responding to drugs and alcohol as ways to feel good. One of the doctors at Malibu Beach Recovery Center calls this “pleasure deafness.”
In many cases, the limbic system can put up a real fight. If dopamine levels are very low because of the drug use or because of poor nutrition and exercise habits, the frontal cortex has a harder time regaining control. The limbic system will not just crave alcohol or drugs as a means to feel good, but associates the substances of the addiction as essential to survival.
This civil war of the brain is one that can go either way, but the Malibu Beach Recovery Centers do everything they can to tip the odds in the favor of self control, true emotions, and a better life.
Give and Take
Many people see detox only as something that takes bad things out of the body, but this is an incomplete approach. Giving it something to replace the toxic substance is a crucial part of the equation. That is why Malibu Beach Recovery Centers puts such a strong emphasis on nutrition, exercise, and supportive counseling not just during the initial detox phase, but throughout the treatment process and the rest of the person’s life. It includes flavorful and nutritious recipes that include healthy ingredients such as garlic, grapefruit, green vegetables, walnuts, and turmeric that have been shown to help replenish dopamine levels and restore a balanced brain chemistry.
Many detox programs seek to rid the body of the substance that is causing the primary concern, but allows it to be replaced by “lesser evils” such as caffeine and nicotine. Some look to provide emotional support, but don’t incorporate nutrition and exercise into the equation. Another one of the doctors at Malibu Beach Recovery Centers, Dr Elson M. Haas calls detoxing “cleaning up our body and life.” In order to have the best chance of success, all of this needs to be included in addiction treatment.