Medical detox is a crucial aspect of many drug treatment regimes, especially for drugs that produce a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome. Medical detox is the experience and process of drug withdrawal, with medications and medical support often used to help stabilize patients prior to rehabilitation. Detox centers exist across the United States, with some centers specializing in detox programs and others offering a full range of detox and rehab services.
Medical detox is useful in treating a range of substance use disorders, from alcoholism and prescription drug abuse through to illicit drug addictions. To hear more about this and other treatment methods, contact Drug Treatment Tallahassee at (850) 254-8944.
The process of detox is designed to support drug discontinuation under medical supervision. While detox is somewhat of a misnomer in the context of drug treatment, because it often introduces additional psychoactive substances, it does enable people to stop using the primary problematic substance.
Detox gives people the time, space and opportunity to get clean, with medications often used to alleviate symptoms and reduce the possibility of relapse. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there are three steps in every drug detoxification process: evaluation, stabilization, and guiding the patient towards further treatment.
Evaluation is the first step of detox, with doctors having to perform a range of physical and psychological tests before applying treatment. Blood and urine tests are often performed, so that doctors can see which substances are currently circulating in the patient’s bloodstream. This is a very important step in the detox process, because it helps clinicians to understand the extent of the problem and avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.
Mental tests are also performed during the evaluation phase, with doctors testing for the existence of secondary addictions and dual diagnosis scenarios. Co-existing mental health problems can complicate the detox process, with sequential, parallel and integrated treatment plans sometimes needed for dual diagnosis cases.
The second stage of detox involves stabilization, with medications normally applied during this phase of treatment. While it is possible for patients to stabilize through discontinuation alone, medications are used in most cases. The drugs administered during detox depend greatly on the substance of abuse and extent of addiction, with opioids taken for pain relief purposes and benzodiazepines prescribed to treat alcohol and benzodiazepine abuse.
The third stage of detox involves consultation and guiding the patient towards further treatment, with a range of psychotherapy programs initiated to treat the precedents of abuse and dependence.
Alcohol dependence is accompanied by a potentially dangerous physical withdrawal syndrome, with medications often used to manage the detox and recovery process. Typical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include sweating, nausea, vomiting, shakes, insomnia, seizures, autonomic instability, hallucinations and delirium tremens.
These symptoms will normally start just a few hours after the last drink, with most symptoms dissipating past 48 hours. A protracted, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome is also possible in certain cases, with clouding of sensorium, disorientation, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and insomnia likely along with depression and anxiety disorders.
There are four currently approved medications for alcoholism in the United States: disulfiram, acamprosate, and two forms of naltrexone. Benzodiazepines are also useful in managing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, with long half-life benzodiazepines often used to treat insomnia and anxiety issues associated with the withdrawal process. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be dangerous if not treated properly, with residential detox always recommended for safe and effective alcohol rehab.
If you or anyone you know is living with substance addiction, it’s important to reach out to a specialized treatment center as soon as possible. Contact Drug Treatment Tallahassee at (850) 254-8944.