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DRUG DETOX AND WITHDRAWAL

DRUG DETOX AND WITHDRAWAL

Drug detoxification (detox for short) is typically the first step of a rehab treatment program for a person in active addiction. During this critical time in the recovery process, medical professionals give monitored, around-the-clock, specialized care as the toxic substance(s) is removed from the body and withdrawal symptoms are managed.

Detoxification aims to minimize the effects of the harmful substance while managing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms the user may have. These symptoms, which are non-life-threatening in most cases, occur when use is abruptly stopped or greatly reduced. A person may enter detox before withdrawal symptoms start or after they are fully underway.

The care a client receives at this time may include medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms. This period can last anywhere from seven to 10 days, sometimes longer. Much depends on how far along a person is in withdrawal, what kinds of symptoms they have, and the severity of those symptoms. Other factors include the method used to consume the drug (whether it was crushed, smoked, swallowed, injected, or snorted), the frequency of use, family history, and other physical and mental health factors.

Throughout drug detox, the symptoms of withdrawal will occur in two phases: acute and post-acute. The acute phase can entail physical and psychological symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, joint pain, anxiety, insomnia, and depression depending on the type of drug that was abused.

Because of the severity of these symptoms, medically-assisted detox helps to treat and relieve the client from the symptoms of the withdrawal phase. For example, benzodiazepine tranquilizers are used to numb the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine and methamphetamine addictions.

The post-acute phase of detox is the most difficult stage. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can occur during this phase. The symptoms of PAWS affect memory, sleep, the ability to cope with stress, emotional stability, and physical coordination. Similar to the treatment of the acute phase of detox, the post-acute phase incorporates clinical methods for the safety of the client.

Drug detox is highly important and widely viewed as the beginning of an extended drug rehabilitation program. It is not designed to replace drug addiction treatment that addresses the whole person. It is just the first step.

In addition to stopping drug abuse, the goal of treatment is to return people to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community.

WHY IS A MEDICALLY MONITORED DRUG DETOX RECOMMENDED?

medical detox

Quitting any substance cold turkey, or abruptly, after using it for some time is not recommended. Doing so can lead to serious injury, relapse, overdose, or even death, especially in cases where withdrawal symptoms are severe. This is particularly true for withdrawals involving opiates, benzodiazepines, or alcohol.

Although detox is the initial treatment process, clients are recommended to continue rehab services at a licensed residential facility for long-term recovery. When the body is rid of the effects of drug use, then the psychological effects can be treated with behavioral therapy and counseling.

Completing a medically-monitored detox at a licensed facility with trained professionals is recommended over other options, such as at-home drug detox or drug detox kits. Other options outside of a medical detox may be ineffective and put the client’s safety and well-being at further risk.

DRUG DETOXIFICATION IS A THREE-STEP PROCESS

drug detox

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are three steps of drug detoxification. The steps, which are based on the recommendations of a consensus panel, are evaluation, stabilization, and fostering entry into drug treatment. At the end of the process, the client is advised to enter the treatment program that best fits their needs.

Testing occurs at this stage to:

  • Check for abused substances present in the bloodstream to measure concentration and assess level of use
  • Screen for mental and physical co-occurring conditions
  • Evaluate a client’s medical and psychological conditions and their social situation to determine the proper level of treatment after detoxification. The initial substance abuse treatment plan for the client is based on this evaluation.

Clients are assisted through their acute intoxication and withdrawal with the goal being to attain a medically stable, fully supported, and substance-free state. Medications may or may not be administered in this stage. Also, in this step, clients are familiarized with what to expect in treatment and what their role is in treatment and recovery. The involvement of the client’s friends, family, employer and others might be sought as well.

During this step, the client receives information and help with preparing to start a substance abuse treatment program. The importance of staying the course to complete substance abuse treatment continuum of care is emphasized at this stage.

TYPES OF DRUG DETOX

types of detox

Detox programs vary to suit the needs of different clients. Some of these may use methods and therapies that are more alternative and nontraditional approaches to drug treatment.

Outpatient detox programs take less time than inpatient detox programs and are designed for clients whose withdrawal symptoms are mild to moderate. They can last for several months and require regular check-ins.
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Inpatient detox programs take place at residential rehab treatment centers, hospitals, dual-diagnosis treatment facilities, and medical detox centers, and treatment centers that offer holistic and alternative treatments among other places. This kind of program ensures clients receive 24-hour medical care and monitoring. A therapeutic follow-up program may be recommended.

Other drug detox programs include:

This approach may offer yoga, acupuncture, meditation, and art therapy to help clients naturally cope with withdrawal and treatment. Overall, holistic therapy aims to treat the individual as a whole in body, mind, and spirit.

At a luxury treatment center, clients can go through detox and rehab within a retreat that offers amenities and individualized care.

These programs incorporate spiritual beliefs with medical practices to help manage addiction and dependence.

GET DETOX TREATMENT FOR ALCOHOL NOW

detox treatment

Without detox, finishing a treatment program successfully can be difficult. Call our 24-hour helpline at (855) 619-8070 to discuss your treatment options with one of our agents and get the substance abuse treatment that’s right for you.

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