Medically-Assisted Drug And Alcohol Detox Programs
Medically assisted drug and alcohol detox programs are in place to ensure individuals can safely rid their bodies of substances in order to prepare for formal treatment.
Medication-Assisted Detox For Drugs
Drug and alcohol use disorders in the United States can penetrate all levels of social demographics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2017, 11.2% of people 12 and older misused illegal drugs in the past month.
In the same year, 22,246 people died from alcohol-related liver disease.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration terms the number of people estimated in a 2015 national survey as receiving treatment and the number who don’t believe they need treatment as a “gap.” The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found 2.3 million people ages 12 and older received treatment, which makes up 11% of the 21.7 million people who needed treatment. This leaves 19.4 million people who remain untreated.
For some people, addiction affects more than their mental health (causing symptoms such as cravings and a compulsion to seek and use the drug). Prolonged substance use can also lead to physical dependence, caused by certain drugs. For people with a physical dependence on substances, medical detoxification is sometimes recommended after a clinical assessment.
Detoxification is the process of ridding the body from the chemicals and toxins that have attached themselves to the brain, internal organs, and systems due to substance use. In a medical setting, someone undergoing detox will be overseen by medical personnel. Trained medical professionals will closely monitor heart rate patterns, blood pressure, and stress on the client. Medical detox refers to controlled and medically-supervised withdrawal.
Medical detox is often the first step before the recovery process can begin. The result of a successful detox protocol is that a person no longer has any medical risks caused by ending drug and alcohol use. Based on a physical assessment done by a medical professional a person may be referred toa medical detox program before they can enter an addiction treatment facility. This ensures that they will not experience physical withdrawal symptoms that could be uncomfortable or even dangerous when in treatment.
Medically-assisted drug and alcohol detoxification programs are in place to ensure individuals can safely prepare for formal treatment.
Formal treatment uses therapeutic modalities to heal the mind, body, and spirit. Therapies will help a person rethink mental approaches through individual and group support, gain strategic tools to approach future interactions, and relearn social bonds and enjoyment of interests. Family therapy and techniques to combat substance use cravings are also part of formal treatment.
A safe and comfortable medical detox lays the foundation to begin formal treatment. After a medical detox the mind will be more clear and most of the physical symptoms of withdrawal will be over.
The right medical detox strengthens the addiction recovery process and having all tools available for you or your loved one is of the highest importance at LGBTQ+ RECOVERY NETWORK
For clarification as we discuss further, medical detox or drug detox refers to all substances, including alcohol.
What Is Detox For Addiction?
Someone going through detox will be overseen by medical personnel. Trained medical doctors will closely monitor heart rate patterns, blood pressure, and stress on the patient.
Medical detox is the first step in the recovery process. The result of a successful medical detox is that a person no longer has any medical risks caused by the cessation of drugs or alcohol. Many people will need to attend a medical detox program before they can enter an addiction treatment facility. This ensures that they will not experience withdrawal symptoms that could be uncomfortable or even dangerous when in treatment.
Why Medications May Be Necessary During Detox?
Not everyone will require detoxification to enter an addiction treatment program. Certain substances may only cause psychological addiction, and for those addictions, detox may not be necessary.
Other substances, such as alcohol and opioids, can cause severe physical dependence. Once a person is dependent on such substances, he or she cannot function normally without the drug. They may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be life-threatening. A medical detox program allows a person to detoxify in a safe environment with a greatly reduced risk of health complications.
Effects Of Withdrawal
Effects of withdrawal will vary by the substance used, duration of use, and the person, but general withdrawal symptoms may include:
- irritability or sleep issues
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- severe cravings
- appetite loss
- disorientation, mental confusion, or hallucinations
- anxiety or depression
- night sweats, chills, or clammy skin
Different drugs will cause widely different effects, some of which can have negative consequences. Alcohol withdrawal, at its most severe, can cause a dangerous syndrome known as delirium tremens. For reasons such as these and others, it is important to undergo drug detox in a supervised environment.
Abuse Of Drugs That May Require Detoxification
Not everyone seeking addiction treatment will need to attend a medically-supervised detox program. Essentially, any drug could require detoxification, as detox is simply the process of ridding a person’s body of a substance. However, certain drugs can lead to uncomfortable or even dangerous withdrawal symptoms depending on the level of addiction. Some drugs greatly increase the risk of health problems during detox, and addictions to these drugs necessitate medically-supervised detox.
Drug addictions that may require medical detox include:
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Overall cleansing of the body to restore it to a more natural physical state is the goal for detox.Because of withdrawal discomfort or other medical concerns, supervised use of medications, intravenous fluids, vitamin therapies, and dietary needs are managed during this phase.
Medications used in detox are different than prescribed medications that may be used for longer-term treatment. Medications, such as Suboxone or naltrexone, may be prescribed by the physician to assist with the detox process and prevent relapse. The goal is to use this only as an interim solution during the weaning process.
Other medications sometimes used to treat opioid detox are methadone, buprenorphine, and lofexidine. For alcohol detox, naltrexone may also be used, along with disulfiram and acamprosate.
Other measures to aid in symptom relief can include massage and acupuncture as a more holistic approach to pain management associated with withdrawal.
There are factors to consider when asking how long detox takes. What substance was used and for how long? Were other substances mixed in, such as pain medications and alcohol?
Alcohol withdrawal has three phases and lasts about one week overall. If completed in a medical environment, the process may not be as lengthy or elicit as many symptoms as may occur by abruptly quitting.
As your body processes its last drink, several hours will pass and sleeplessness and nausea may set in, with irritability. Depending upon your alcohol intake over time, withdrawal symptoms will last longer and be more varied, possibly life-threatening. About one to three days after your last drink, you may experience an elevated body temperature, confusion, high blood pressure, and an abnormal heart rate. For those with a higher dependency, after four days, they may also experience a fever, hallucinations, and seizures. Symptoms will gradually reduce within a week.
Drug withdrawal has a lot to do with the type of drug misuse and how it affects brain chemistry. For most people using marijuana,, sleeping pills, and hallucinogens, withdrawal symptoms peak and taper within one to two weeks. Sleep issues such as insomnia and inability to concentrate can last longer.
Opioids and heroin can cause those in recovery to have irritability and continued cravings for months. This is a large factor contributing to the percentage of people who return to using to find relief from the seemingly endless symptoms. They may also experience depression as a result.
Stimulants such as cocaine and meth may cause a continued craving for several months as well.
Because of the many physical impacts detox can bring upon a person, it is highly recommended to be completed at an inpatient facility with medical supervision of a person’s vitals and safety.
Some programs offer in-home care with medical supervision, which can be expensive and not as effective in helping the person complete the detox process.
Self-detox can be dangerous and your medical provider should be consulted before considering this route.
Once detox is completed, a person may feel better and want to move on with their life. However, it is highly likely they will repeat this cycle of use until the underlying contributors to their addiction are addressed through drug/alcohol treatment and with a strong aftercare plan to maintain recovery.
Detoxification is the process of ridding the body of the chemicals and toxins that have attached themselves to the brain, internal organs, and systems due to substance misuse. This supervised withdrawal is achieved in a controlled, safe environment.
Take the example of a person having 1.5 ounces of liquor. In general, the liver can process one standard drink per hour (5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer). Many people with a built-up endurance will overpour at home. Sometimes a bartender will do this as well.
This back-up of alcohol from over saturation will accumulate in body tissues until enough time passes to process a little more, and on and on. It may have been one hour since your last drink, but alcohol remains in your system longer. A blood test can show the presence of alcohol up to 12 hours later. A bout of binge drinking can show alcohol in a urine test up to three days later and if regularly consumed at high levels, up to five days.
After years of misuse, alcohol can wreak havoc on your overall health. The gentle process of flushing out toxins, rebuilding up of vitamins, and a stable level of hydration with fluids will take time but is beneficial in the long run.
As the brain chemistry rebalances, your impaired cognitive abilities will begin to build strength. This strength in body and mind is what will be important during treatment to come.
Someone going through detox should be overseen by medical personnel. Trained medical doctors will closely monitor heart rate patterns, blood pressure, and stress on the patient. We provide round-the-clock medical supervision in a comfortable environment to remove toxins from the body after years of misuse, with a plan to enter treatment afterward.
Medical News Today – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/310066.php
National Institute on Drug Abuse – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration – https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/benzo.pdf
U.S. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000764.htm
U.S. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm