Legal highs are drugs that get their informal name from the fact that many of them can be legally sold if packaged as plant food or bath salts. But just because they are legal to sell does not make them legal to use as recreational drugs. In fact, the recreational use of these substances is generally illegal. Those who use them can eventually become addicted, ultimately leading to a need for legal high detox and rehab.
Any drug with addictive potential will require some sort of detox once the legal high addiction sets in. Just because a substance is advertised as harmless does not mean it is exempt from this basic principle of drug use and abuse. A person hooked on herbal ecstasy is just as much in need of detox and rehab as someone addicted to methamphetamine.
Perhaps you are visiting our site because you’re concerned about a young person using legal high products. If so, there are five important things you need to know about detox and rehab:
Legal highs are known in the clinical setting as new psychoactive substances. The psychoactive component dictates that the drugs have an impact on normal brain function by altering chemical balance and response. They cover the full range of psychoactive effects linked to illegal drugs.
Among those effects is tolerance. Tolerance begins at the moment the brain gets used to being exposed to a particular volume of drugs, thereby limiting any pleasurable response. At the moment that critical point is reached, the drug user must take a larger dose in order to feel good. That larger dose only meets the user’s needs for a short amount of time before the brain once again adapts. Then a larger dose is required, and then another, and another until addiction is complete.
The only way to break the tolerance and addiction cycle is through detox. The brain must be completely deprived of the drug in order for it to return to normal functioning. If use is merely reduced or replaced by a substitute drug, the brain never returns to normal and recovery never occurs.
The detox process can take place in one of two ways. The first is what we know as ‘cold turkey’, a process in which the user is instantly and completely deprived access to drugs. Withdrawal symptoms set in within a few hours, gradually increasing to a peak within a few days.
The second method of detoxing is known as gradual withdrawal. In this sort of scenario, the user would continue to be administered either his/her drugs of choice or prescription substitutes, with doses being gradually reduced until withdrawal is complete. Gradual withdrawal is less intense in terms of withdrawal symptoms, but it also takes longer.
It is not possible for us to give a definitive timeline for withdrawal that would apply to every substance. The first thing to consider is the difference between cold turkey and gradual detox. Cold turkey generally results in shorter detox while gradual withdrawal can take considerably longer. But one must also consider that there are literally hundreds of different legal high drugs out there.
The length of time needed for withdrawal is affected by the drugs being used. For example, withdrawal from a synthetic cannabinoid can be completed in as little as seven days with the right kind of treatment. But withdrawing from a psychedelic could take weeks or, in some places, more than a month. The only way to know approximately how long detox would take in any individual case is to look at norms based on the drugs that person is using.
Our standard model of drug rehab in the UK dictates one of three settings for treatment. First is the outpatient clinic operated by the NHS or a privately owned organisation. As its name implies, outpatient detox requires the patient to visit a clinic every day, according to a prescribed schedule, for the purposes of medical evaluation and the administering of any prescription drugs being used. The patient then returns home.
The second setting is an inpatient clinic where recovering addicts reside during treatment. The patient is given a room where he or she is made as comfortable as possible during the withdrawal process. Health is monitored by nurses and doctors to ensure the safety and comfort of patients. At the end of inpatient detox, the individual may choose to go on to residential rehab or leave the facility altogether.
The third setting is home. People who need more help than outpatient detox offers but cannot afford inpatient treatment may qualify for home detox. In a home detox scenario, the patient remains home and under the immediate care of a family member or friend. A registered nurse pays daily visits to check on health and administer any prescription medications.
The cost of legal high detox depends on where a person seeks treatment. Outpatient treatment offered at an NHS clinic is free to all UK residents. Care obtained through a private facility must be paid for one way or the other. While we cannot give you a definitive price (every private clinic is different), we can say that most clinics accept private health insurance as well as cash, debit cards, and credit cards.
Legal highs are dangerous drugs that should be avoided. If you find yourself already under the control of one or more of them, please understand that the problems you are having will not go away by themselves. A full and complete recovery from addiction requires, at a bare minimum, formal detox treatment. You would probably do well to undergo psychotherapy rehab as well.
We can help you locate and access a treatment programme in your local area. Call us on our 24-hour helpline to get things started. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be on that road to recovery.