Medical detox is a vital step in the recovery process from alcohol or drug addiction. Alcohol withdrawal is severe and life-threatening, which is why it is essential that alcohol detox is carried out.
Medical drug detoxification is essential for all individuals who show signs of psychological and physical dependence on any sort of substance. If you believe you or someone that you know has a problem with alcohol or drug use, medical detoxification can help you to better your future and live healthier. A medical detox program offers a foundation where you can create healthier habits. It doesn’t matter where you choose to start your recovery journey, but learning the characteristic of a detox program allows you to find a program that is best suited to your needs.
What is medical detox?
The term “detox” is used in a familiar way to define the cleansing of the body of bad food. What is medical detox, and how does it differ from the common understanding of the term? Medical detox refers to getting rid of toxic, addictive substances from the body under supervision from licensed medical doctors. The team consists of clinical staff, nurses, and therapists. Many facilities employ advanced practice staff, such as physician assistants or nurse practitioners, to provide medical care during the detoxification process.
Like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, addiction is classed as a chronic condition that tends to flare up occasionally but is able to be managed. Medical detox plays a role that is similar in addiction that the emergency hospital department plays in managing long-term medical conditions. Medical detox for addiction provides stabilization for acute flare-ups of conditions that are chronic, but by themselves, it doesn’t change the long-term course of the disorder. For those individuals who seek out residential or inpatient alcohol and drug treatment, medical detoxification is usually the first priority, which begins at the start of the treatment.
Detox itself is not considered a treatment for addiction, but the individuals who are involved in medical detox are more likely to stay in the treatment for a longer period of time and have extended periods of sobriety.
When is medical detox needed?
If the addiction is a prolonged condition, how do we know when a therapy like medical detox is necessary? Is there a way to know who needs to detox? Individuals with compulsions that are considered to be at risk of being dependent on a substance are perfect contenders for a medical detox. The physical dependence on the substance is likely with the following:
- Has been using large amounts of substances often
- Has used a substance over a long period of time
- Required growing amounts of the substance to gain the usual effect
- Experienced a reduced effect from just using the same amount of the substance
- Craving the substance often when there is no access to it
- Several attempts to stop using the substances but failed without assistance
Those who have substance use disorders will quite often seek out the medical detoxification when they feel they are going through the effects of withdrawals from alcohol or drugs. Tolerance is the need for a bigger amount of the substance to achieve the wanted effect, which, along with withdrawals, shows that you have become physically dependant on that particular substance.
Each addictive substance has an individual characteristic pattern of withdrawal symptoms that are the reactions caused by the body that ends up being produced when the substance consumption is lowered or stopped.
What type of drug needs medical detoxing?
If you have become addicted to any of the following substances, then an evaluation is required and a treatment plan organized to deal with potential withdrawal symptoms:
Benzodiazepines: Also known as ‘benzos,’ this type of medication is a sedative that helps treat unremitting seizures and anxiety. This medication has a related chemical effect as alcohol on the body.
Alcohol: Alcohol reduces the activity of the central nervous system, which is responsible for the direct control over your automate body functions such as regulating blood pressure, heart rate, motor movements, and stress responses. When you go through withdrawal from alcohol, it can cause your body temperature to rise, increase your heart rate, high blood pressure, and tremors, plus many more.
One form of alcohol withdrawal known as the most dangerous, is called delirium tremens, which is fatal without intervention.
- Opioids: These are synthetic drugs that function like opiates, and examples include hydromorphone or oxycodone. Because opioids work like endorphins, which are the body’s biological endorphins, frequent consumption of opioids can cause a cessation of the production of endorphins, and this makes the body dependent on synthetic opioids. When these opioids are not forthcoming, it leads to withdrawal symptoms that have been described as having cold skin, vomiting, nausea, anxiety, and muscle pain. Even though opioid withdrawal isn’t fatal, it is very unpleasant.
- Prescription Drugs: Prescription medicines can be used wrongly when trying to get a reprieve from stress. Prescription drugs like sleeping medications and muscle relaxants alongside opioids and benzodiazepines can be abused. For each prescription drug, there is its own set of withdrawal symptoms. The sleeping medications and muscle relaxants function in a way that is similar to benzodiazepines and alcohol.
- Stimulants: Cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine are stimulants but not prescribed. Even the withdrawal symptoms of these stimulants are typically not life-threatening, but they can equally be very depressing.
- Synthetic Drugs: Prescription opioid fentanyl is a notorious example of synthetic even though there are some other examples of the so-called ‘designer drugs.’ Examples of these include krokodil and bath salts. Designer drugs are well known for having destructive withdrawal symptoms that require specialist medical detox services to handle.
What is the duration of medical detox?
The duration and intensity of detox depend on a number of factors like:
- Nature of the substance: The kind of substance utilized with influence on how the withdrawal syndrome is going to be. To demonstrate, alcohol withdrawal indicators can kick fast and last for days.
- Regularity and duration of the use: The longer the duration and higher the frequency of substance use, the greater the tendency to develop a reliance on the substance. Such dependence can be developed quickly with drugs like opioids and benzodiazepines.
- Amount of substance used: The degree of dependence is directly proportional to the amount of the substance that was ingested.
- Other individual parameters: These include genetic makeup, weight, body chemistry, and overall metabolic rate, all influence the onset or intensity of substance withdrawal.
Most medical detoxing can span from four days to seven.
How Safe is Medical Detox?
Medical detox is helpful, effective, and safe for those suffering withdrawals. The phases of medical detoxing sessions are managed by professionals with experience in the management and therapy of addiction. In many instances, withdrawal can lead to rapid changes in body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate, all of which are monitored by the professionals.
What to do After Medical Detox
A practice of alcohol and drug treatment concentrates on the physical and psychological parts of addiction. Medical detox focuses on the bodily effects of dependence, and that means it cannot independently change the progression of addiction. Hence, detox is best when it is a part of a more comprehensive treatment program that adopts a holistic approach to tackling the addiction. Patients who are in detox sessions typically move instantly to partial hospitalization or residential treatment.
Recovery is not impossible. It does not matter the kind of substance that you have been dependent on, medical detox can assist you in regaining your balance. Medical detox is the start of your voyage to obsession healing.