The first step in beating a drug or alcohol addiction is detox, which breaks the physical addiction to restore normal brain function.
Medical detox is the most common and most preferred method of detoxification through drug and alcohol treatment programs. During this process, which is monitored by medical and mental health professionals, medications are provided as needed to prevent or treat uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Medical detox can take place through an inpatient or outpatient drug rehab program. For help finding a treatment center, call Alcohol Treatment Centers Arlington at 817-533-2441.
Withdrawing from substances like alcohol and central nervous system sedatives can be dangerous or even fatal. Symptoms of withdrawal from these drugs may include dangerous shifts in body function, such as an increase in blood pressure or body temperature. About five percent of those who experience delirium tremens, a dangerous condition associated with alcohol withdrawal, will die from it if they don’t receive prompt medical attention.
Medical detox serves to prevent these dangerous conditions through careful supervision and the administering of medications to restore normal body functions.
Detoxing without help is not only dangerous, but it’s largely ineffective as well. Because withdrawal symptoms can be very intensely uncomfortable, many who try to detox at home will turn back to the drug of addiction very quickly to alleviate the discomfort.
Both inpatient and outpatient detox or drug rehab programs offer medical detox.
Inpatient detox is the most ideal setting for both detox and treatment. Patients live at a residential center for the duration of treatment, which offers respite from the stress and triggers of life at home and in the community. Inpatient detox takes place in a warm and collaborative environment with plenty of support from staff and other patients in various stages of recovery.
Outpatient detox can be successful as well, as long as the patient is personally committed to recovery and has adequate support at home and in the community. Outpatient programs enable patients to continue working and meeting other responsibilities, and it offers a higher level of privacy since there’s no extended absence.
Inpatient medical opiate detox is a controversial method of detox for those addicted to opiates like heroin or prescription painkillers. Medical opiate detox involves putting the patient under general anesthesia during the detox process.
Not all patients will experience the onset of all of the various symptoms of withdrawal for any given drug, and the symptoms may range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the addiction and how much of the substance is in the body when detox begins.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include nausea, tremors, anxiety, hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens, or DTs, which can be very dangerous or fatal.
Medications used to treat these symptoms during medical alcohol detox include Chantix to alleviate cravings, Paxil to reduce depressive symptoms, and Neurotonin to treat seizures and help brain function return to normal.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms associated with substances like the prescription drug OxyContin or the street drug heroin include diarrhea, vomiting, body aches, agitation and anxiety, and chills and sweats.
Medications administered to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal during medical opiate detox include Methadone to block intense cravings and suppress the more intense withdrawal symptoms, Subutex to reduce the time it takes to detox, and Clonidine to alleviate anxiety and reduce aches and pains.
Stimulant withdrawal symptoms associated with the street drugs cocaine and meth and the prescription drug Ritalin include intense depression and suicidal thoughts, lethargy, insomnia, and irritability. These symptoms are particularly intense for those detoxing from meth.
Since no medications have been approved to treat these symptoms, physicians may prescribe Paxil or Zyban during medical stimulant withdrawal to reduce cravings and alleviate the intense depressive symptoms.
Sedative withdrawal symptoms associated with drugs like the prescription anti-anxiety medications Xanax and Klonopin include shaking, sweating, anxiety, nausea, and dangerous increases in body temperature and blood pressure.
No medications are available to treat these symptoms, and so medical sedative detox involves tapering off the doses to prevent the onset of these symptoms altogether.