Drug and alcohol abuse has become prevalent across the United States, but the entire state of California has been hit especially hard. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the opioid epidemic has battered much of the United States, and an estimated 50,000 people died from opioid-involved overdoses in 2019. The numbers are substantial, and west coast states like California have been taking the brunt due to their proximity with Mexico. 

While the United States government has done an exceptional job stemming the use of prescription opioids, another problem popped up. Mexican drug cartels have been importing cheap clandestine-made fentanyl into the country in significant amounts. Regions like Southern California are stopping points before the drugs are distributed throughout the country, meaning they’re available to users in the area without much resistance. 

Another drug that has made its presence felt in Southern California is crystal meth. It is made in clandestine labs and is mass-produced and shipped across the border to poison anyone it comes in contact with. According to a 2017 study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 1.6 million people reported using meth in the previous year. We assume that figure is much higher today. 

Despite its legality, alcohol is another drug that wreaks havoc on society. With access to nightclubs and bars nearly around the clock in Southern California, it’s no surprise that alcohol is so widely used in the region. With its temperate climate and wild party scene, using alcohol in conjunction with stimulants is extremely widespread. Throughout the United States, an estimated 14.5 million people over the age of 12 had an alcohol use disorder (AUD). The figure includes nine million men and 5.5 million women. 

What all of these drugs have in common is their need for medical detox. Although opioids and meth won’t be fatal during withdrawal, alcohol withdrawal can be deadly. For that reason, if you’re looking for help to overcome a substance use disorder (SUD) and you fear what you might be facing, it’s important to consider getting the help you need from a professional detox center.

California Addiction Statistics

As was mentioned above, the United States as a whole has been trying to manage its drug and alcohol use by delivering people the help they need. California has the largest population in the country, and Southern California alone accounts for 23.86 million people. A report released from the California Health Care Foundation found that eight percent of California’s struggle with a substance use disorder, but only ten percent will get the help they need.

Unfortunately, untreated issues related to substance abuse wreak havoc on Californians. There are an estimated 3,000 deaths related to drug and alcohol use in Los Angeles County alone and more than 132,000 drug and alcohol-related emergency room visits. The numbers are astronomical, and the need for detox and treatment is crucial. 

As mentioned above, due to its proximity to Mexico, Southern California is struggling to contain opioid abuse. In 2018, an estimated 45 percent of all overdose deaths involved opioids. Orange County, which is south of Los Angeles County, has an opioid overdose death rate that is much higher than the state average, and seven out of every ten drug-related deaths involve opioids – of which 80 percent are accidental. 

What Is Withdrawal? Detox? Why Is It Essential?

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The terms withdrawal and detox can be used interchangeably because they both describe what it means to rid your body of toxins that you’ve become psychologically or physiologically dependent on. To put it simply, it’s a set of interventions geared toward managing acute alcohol or drug intoxication and withdrawal. 

Medical detox will take place in a supervised and controlled environment that mitigates the potential risks caused by abruptly cutting your body off from the substances you’ve become dependent upon to prevent potentially life-threatening complications from occurring. 

The detox process involves 24-hour care under the strict supervision of trained medical staff. During a stint in medical detox, you’ll be provided medication that helps alleviate some of the worst symptoms you experience. This is a huge benefit to those who fear the severity of their withdrawal symptoms and avoid stopping their drug or alcohol use. Another advantage is that detox holds you accountable for your actions. When the going gets tough, you won’t be able just to run away and use drugs to numb the pain. Clinicians will hold you to the highest standard and provide a clear path toward sobriety. 

Another advantage of detox is that you’ll meet with a team of certified addiction specialists who will thoroughly assess you to determine your most pressing needs. Some people attribute their drug use to a co-occurring condition, which they might not have known without seeking help. They can recommend specific medication that treats anxiety or depression that you might have otherwise numbed with drugs or alcohol. 

After a thorough assessment, the team will determine your next step, which could be an intensive residential treatment center or outpatient care. Fortunately, detox centers are accepted by most insurance companies and will provide a serene setting with around-the-clock supervision. Detox is likely the first step in a long line of care, and if you’re in California or looking to come to the state for medical detox, you should make the call for help today. 

Not only is detox challenging to overcome without help, but it can also be deadly, especially with certain drugs. For this reason, you should never attempt to get sober without medical help. While you may be able to make it through a few days, you’ll likely give in to your temptations and relapse, which can also be deadly when your tolerance has dropped from your drug of choice. 

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms will occur when you abruptly cease the use of alcohol after prolonged or excessive drinking. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Depending on the severity of your alcohol use disorder, they can also be fatal.

Since alcohol withdrawal symptoms can progress over time, it’s vital to understand whether your symptoms are getting more severe so that you can seek the proper help. The most severe symptoms occur within the first two to five days after you cease alcohol consumption, meaning the first day or two isn’t always the best indicator of what you’ll experience. 

If you’ve been drinking regularly or in excess, once you stop, you’ll likely experience one or more symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. These symptoms will likely appear within eight hours of your last drink and persist for several days. The most common symptoms include:

  • Severe depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Shakiness
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Feeling exhausted
  • Dilated pupils
  • Appetite loss
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Pale skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Tremor
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

For this reason, you should seek out medical detox. If you’re living in Southern California or looking for medical detox on the west coast, help is available to you.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Although opioids aren’t fatal during withdrawal, their symptoms can be extremely intense and are the primary reason why a person will avoid getting sober. Opioid withdrawal symptoms are dependent upon the level of dependency and other factors that include a person’s age, sex, size of their last dose, and type of drug they were using. For example, someone using ten milligrams of hydrocodone as prescribed for a year will experience less severe withdrawal symptoms than a person injecting heroin for the same period. 

Opioid withdrawal symptoms can appear anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after your last dose, depending on the type of opioid you’re dependent upon. The symptoms include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle aches
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Yawning
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea and vomiting

These symptoms will be extremely unpleasant but will start to improve after 72 hours. However, for those who abused opioids, they could also experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which can be an extension of these symptoms for up to a year after they last touched an opioid. Again, medical detox will be the best option in this situation.

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