What is medical detox? Detoxification is a process where someone finds freedom from drugs or alcohol so they can start recovery. Detox centers and rehab facilities can make the withdrawal phase easier. They can also get patients ready for their long-term recovery. Medical detox is just the initial phase of any rehab process focusing on addiction recovery. It’s frequently followed up with:
- Behavioral therapy
- Ongoing support
Why Is Medical Detox Useful?
When the human body is dependent on any substance, then removing that substance can result in many different symptoms. These symptoms can be behavioral, psychological, and physical. Medical detox is a safe space where withdrawal from alcohol or drugs can take place under medical supervision. There is sometimes medication administered to alleviate certain symptoms. All this makes detox easier and safer for you or someone you care about.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
Physical symptoms of withdrawal can include shaking, fatigue, sweating, and irregular heartbeat. Illness can manifest as anything from nausea to actual vomiting. Mental symptoms can include depression and hallucinations. Medical detox won’t prevent all of those symptoms, but it is able to minimize their impact while someone detoxes safely and comfortably.
Is Medical Detox Useful in Treating Addiction?
Whether or not medical detox is useful in the treatment of addiction depends on what else happens. It can help in how a person’s body gets cleaned out of addictive substances for a while. Detox also relieves acute symptoms that happen with the process of withdrawal. However, what it doesn’t do is get to the root issues that cause addiction in the first place. Anyone going through detox will have to deal with such issues if they are going to keep their sobriety going. Detox can open the door to therapy with a clean slate, but it doesn’t alter addictive behaviors.
Who Can Medical Detox Help?
When an individual uses drugs or alcohol long enough, they get addicted. Their body is physically dependent on that substance being present. When the brain is used to how drugs impact its cells, it actually adapts in order to function normally. In time, addicted individuals build up tolerance. That means they need to consume bigger doses of alcohol or drugs in order to get the same impact again. Tolerance typically leads to dependence, which is when the human body started needing alcohol or drugs just to function normally. If the addict doesn’t get their fix, then their body will react badly. They start going through the withdrawal symptoms listed above. They also start experiencing cravings for alcohol or drugs if they aren’t getting them. It is possible for the human body to rediscover its ability to function normally without alcohol, drugs, or the cravings for them. Medically supervised detoxification helps patients navigate the withdrawal in a safe manner. Otherwise, withdrawal and cravings can make it very hard for individuals to abstain from their addictions. Detox is sometimes possible in an outpatient context with medication and supervision, but this is usually only possible for mild or minor addictions. Serious substance abuse disorders typically need 24-hour inpatient detox under medical supervision.
Phases of Medical Detox
Most medical detox follows a three-step process. The first step is evaluation, followed by stabilization and then preparation for more treatment. All three need to happen properly and in order for detox to help the broader recovery process. Evaluation typically includes screening for other conditions, blood testing, physical examination, and a questionnaire. Detox personnel use this information to ascertain the level of addiction and formulate a treatment regimen. Stabilization is when patients stop using drugs or alcohol. Medical professionals guide them towards medical stability and the start of physical sobriety. Preparation is when the battle moves away from physical dependence to the mental and emotional side of things. After symptoms and cravings are gone, the work to be done is in the mind. Root issues causing addiction must be identified and addressed, and new coping techniques must be learned.
Do you need help? What about someone you care about? Whether you are losing a battle with addiction or it’s consuming someone in your life you want to see get better, then medical detox might be the start to a better life. If medical detox is something you think you need or might need to arrange for someone you love, then call us. We’re available 24/7 at 833-497-3812 to answer your questions and concerns.