Detoxification, also known as “detox,” is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of drugs. Medical detox safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. It is only the first step in addiction treatment and should be followed by participation in an intensive treatment program to address the underlying issues that led to drug abuse.
Detoxification alone is not treatment and does not address the psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with addiction. Nor does it address patterns of poor lifestyle choices that may have contributed to the development of addiction. However, medical detoxification can be a critical first step in beginning effective addiction treatment.
Why Medical Detox is Important
Medical detox is important because it helps to rid the body of harmful toxins that can cause serious health problems. Toxins can build up in the body over time and cause a variety of issues, ranging from headaches and fatigue to more serious problems like heart disease and cancer. By getting rid of these toxins through medical detox, you can help improve your overall health and well-being.
How Does Medical Detox Work?
Medical detoxification safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. The length of time required for detoxification varies depending on the type of drug abused, how long and how much of the drug was abused, and whether other medical or mental health disorders are present.
Medical detoxification is usually conducted in a hospital or specialized residential facility staffed with physicians, nurses, and other trained professionals who can provide around-the-clock care and monitoring. In some cases, certain medications may be used during detoxification to help manage withdrawal symptoms and make the process more comfortable. For example, methadone or buprenorphine may be used to ease withdrawal symptoms from opioids such as heroin, while clonidine may be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or sedatives.
After successful completion of medical detoxification, it is essential that patients transition to an intensive treatment program where they can begin addressing the underlying issues that led to their addiction. Treatment should be individualized to meet each patient’s unique needs. Most patients will require some form of long-term follow-up care to prevent relapse and ensure continued recovery.
What Happens After Medical Detox?
After completing medical detox, patients will typically enter an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Inpatient treatment programs last anywhere from 28 days to 90 days and provide around-the-clock care. Outpatient programs allow patients to live at home while attending therapy sessions and meeting with counselors several times a week.
Patients who complete a treatment program have a much higher chance of remaining sober in the long-term than those who don’t. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, patients who receive treatment for addiction are less likely to relapse than those who don’t receive any treatment at all.
The Benefits of Medical Detox
Medical detox has many benefits, the most important of which is safety. Because withdrawal and detox can be such a difficult and dangerous process, it is important that it is done under medical supervision.
Another benefit of medical detox is that it allows the individual to begin their recovery process in a safe and comfortable environment. This can make all the difference in whether or not an individual completes their detox and goes on to successfully recover from addiction.
Finally, medical detox can help to ease some of the symptoms of withdrawal, making it more tolerable for the individual. In some cases, medication may be used to help with this.
Medical detox is only the first step in addiction treatment but it can be a critical one. This process safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use under 24/7 professional care. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there is help available. Please reach out for assistance today.