Drug and Alcohol Detox
Detoxing from drugs and alcohol can be dangerous. A medically assisted detoxification can reduce withdrawal symptoms and ensure safety.
What Is Detoxification?
Detoxification, or detox, is the process of removing drugs or alcohol from the body. The purpose of detox is to safely manage withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking drugs or alcohol.
Everyone has a different experience with detox. The type of drug and how long it was used affect what detox will be like.
Medications used in detox help keep former users comfortable while the drugs leave their body.
It can take days or months to get through withdrawal symptoms for most drugs. The length of withdrawal depends on the type of drugs and how heavily they were used.
Speak with someone who can help you find a medically assisted detox now.
Can I Detox at Home?
Choosing to detoxify at home can be deadly. Quitting “cold turkey” or without medical supervision can lead to serious issues such as seizures and severe dehydration.
There are inpatient and outpatient detoxification programs that help prevent dangerous complications. People with severe addictions should seek inpatient detoxification because withdrawal can be fatal. Inpatient detox includes 24-hour support and monitoring.
The Process of Detoxification
Everyone’s detox needs are different. The drug detox process helps addicted people get personalized treatment. In most cases, the process involves three steps:
- Evaluation – The medical team screens incoming patients for physical and mental health issues. Doctors use blood tests to measure the amount of drugs in the patient’s system. This helps determine the level of medications needed. There is a comprehensive review of drug, medical, and psychiatric histories. This information sets up the basis for the patient’s long-term treatment plan.
- Stabilization – The next step is to stabilize the patient with medical and psychological therapy. The goal of stabilization is to prevent any form of harm to the patient. Doctors can prescribe addiction treatment medications to prevent complications and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
- Preparing Entry into Treatment – The final step of detoxification is preparation for a treatment program. Doctors familiarize their patients with the treatment process and what to expect. Inpatient rehab offers the best chances of success after detoxification. If detoxification takes place in an inpatient program, this last step is crucial to keep patients on track.
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Side Effects of Detox
The process of drug detoxification can be painful and dangerous. This is why medical detoxification is so important. Detoxifying with medical supervision allows patients to do so in a safe and comfortable environment. The extent of supervision is different in inpatient and outpatient rehab.
A medically supervised detox prevents dangerous complications of drug and alcohol withdrawal. Although medical detox limits the symptoms of withdrawal, some are unavoidable. Some of the most common side effects may include:
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Muscle weakness
- Mood swings
Drug Detox During Pregnancy
A pregnant woman has a strong motive to quit drugs for her baby’s sake. Detoxifying, especially if done cold turkey, can cause stress on the unborn child such as preterm labor or severe fetal distress.
Detox with medical supervision is an absolute must for pregnant women. The goal of detox for pregnant women is to prevent relapse and manage pain.
Detox specialists can keep babies safe and healthy by treating pregnant women in detox.
Doctors often prescribe medications to stabilize pregnant women in detoxification. Alcohol and opiate detoxification usually pose the most risks to unborn children.
Detox by Drug Type
Detoxification is more difficult for some people depending on the drugs they used. Depending on the drug, withdrawal symptoms may be more physical or more mental.
Cocaine withdrawal, for instance, is psychological. Detoxing involves managing initial cravings and anxiety. Alcohol withdrawal includes physical symptoms that can cause seizures or death in some cases.
Detoxificaiton often includes medications that mimic the effects of drugs to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Medications may also target co-occurring disorders or general discomfort.
Drugs that are most dangerous to detox from, and often require medication, include:
Rapid and Ultra-rapid Detox and Risks
Rapid detoxification is a method of removing substances from a user’s system faster than regular detox. Advocates of rapid detoxification say it’s a faster way to get the drugs out of the body while avoiding painful withdrawal symptoms.
Rapid detox can be dangerous as well as expensive. In rapid detox, the addicted person is sedated with anesthesia and given medications that replace the drugs in the body. This method was originally developed for people addicted to opiate drugs such as heroin and painkillers. The risks of rapid detox often outweigh the benefits.
“Ultra-rapid detox” programs can take as little as a few hours. According to the Coleman Institute, approximately 1 in 500 people die from ultra rapid detoxification.
Traditional rapid detoxification programs take about two to three days to complete and are less dangerous, but are still more expensive than a typical detox. It can cost up to $10,000 and isn’t generally covered by insurance.
Life After Detox
Detoxification is just the first part of addiction treatment. Detox on its own is usually insufficient for a successful recovery. Addicted people need to treat the psychological part of their addiction. They can accomplish this with counseling, support groups or an inpatient rehab program. An addiction specialist will help you transition into your new treatment plan.
Call us now to find a treatment center near you.