Substance abuse requires intensive treatment to repair the patient both physically and psychologically. Detoxification is one of the first steps that a patient must complete before continuing their journey toward recovery. The detox process can be difficult and requires professional medical management.
What Is Drug Detoxification?
Detoxification is a process of allowing the body to remove all traces of the drug from the system. The process can take several days and is usually accompanied by a number of physical symptoms that can be overwhelming for the patient. Medical assistance can help to alleviate some of the symptoms so that the patient can continue through this period and on to the more intensive work of the recovery process. Detoxification alone cannot prevent further substance abuse. Detoxification must be followed by counseling, lifestyle changes, treatment of underlying psychological issues and sometimes, medication.
Why Is Detoxification Necessary?
The patient cannot begin their road to recovery until they begin to restore both physical and psychological stability. Any traces of the substance can mask underlying problems and inhibit the ability of the body to restore itself to a normal equilibrium.
Types of Detoxification
Detoxification can be done on an outpatient basis if the patient cannot leave work and if his addiction can be treated by medication on an outpatient basis. Though this type of detox is rarely advised, it can be an option for some situations. Inpatient detox is much more common for abuse patients because it can provide both medical and psychological support to help prevent relapse during the detoxification process. Detoxification from opiates may include the use of medications to help alleviate the most severe symptoms. Alcohol detoxification can entail severe physical symptoms that can be life-threatening and may require intensive medical treatment. Some drugs, such as crystal meth and cocaine, can cause severe psychological problems, such as depression and suicidal ideation. These symptoms require careful psychological treatment and, possibly, medications.
Methods of Detoxification
Detoxification can be done a number of different ways, depending on the severity of the addiction, the dose of the addiction and the type of substance used. “Cold turkey” allows the patient to go through the withdrawal without providing anything more than medical supervision in case of emergency. Short-term medical detox uses non-addicting medications on a short-term basis to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal with medical personnel nearby. Long-term medical detox is often used for heroin or prescription painkiller abuse. Methadone or Suboxone is administered to relief the most serious symptoms. These medications are then reduced gradually.
Drug Addictions Requiring Detox
Many drugs cause addiction so severe that detoxification is necessary. Alcohol, heroin, oxycontin, Vicodin, hydrocodone, Valium, Xanax, methamphetamines and cocaine all require detoxification before intensive treatment of the abuse problem can begin. Some drugs cause severe physical reactions during detox. Others may cause profound psychological reactions. In both cases, professional support can help to reduce the symptoms during the withdrawal process.
Symptoms of Detoxification
Detoxification can be a difficult physical process for the patient. Muscle and bone pain is common during the withdrawal period. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea also occur. Chills, restlessness and depression can also be symptoms of withdrawal during the detoxification process. Mood disturbances and sleep problems are common during the withdrawal process and may require medical or psychological treatment. The type of drug used affects how severe and how long the withdrawal period lasts.
Finding A Drug Detoxification Facility
Those people who are looking for a drug detoxification facility for themselves or for family members have a range of choices available to them. Some detoxification centers separate from treatment centers. Others combine detoxification and treatment facilities in one location. A good detoxification facility should have personnel who are specially trained in substance abuse and detoxification issues with a good track record of success.