Alcohol and drug addiction create a long-lasting, detrimental effect on the body, including total dependency on these toxic substances. At this stage, the user becomes totally “hooked”.
However, detoxification, also known as detox, can be the light at the end of this seemingly dark tunnel. It is a processing of self-cleansing in which the human system eradicates traces of alcohol or drugs from within.
As effective as detox may seem, it does not replace the need to visit a drug and substance rehabilitation centre for a full recovery. Inasmuch as an addict would easily opt for detox, such an individual must undergo the process under intense supervision.
Quitting an addiction suddenly can pose potential medical dangers to the user if not managed properly. There is a tendency for the patient to relapse, further increasing body exposure to the risks of overdose. For this reason, quitting cold turkey requires consistent monitoring and efficient recovery techniques.
During such periods, the body becomes intolerant to alcohol or drugs; this is where detoxification comes in, ideally before undergoing rehabilitation. The process helps curtail withdrawal symptoms patients may experience, thereby increasing stability and comfort. This form of treatment improves health and fitness, over time.
However, not many are quick to jump on the bandwagon of detoxification as many are scared of likely withdrawal experiences.
Understanding Inpatient Detox
Inpatient detox is an intensive program designed to help patients cope effectively with withdrawal effects and other medical complications that may arise as the body gradually severs its dependency on toxic substances, like drugs and alcohol.
During this phase, supervision occurs round the clock to ensure that the patient is always in good condition and showing signs of improvement. Withdrawal symptoms vary from one substance to another. To some individuals, experiences may be unpleasant.
Detoxification cannot be done alone, as it can be dangerous to the patient. Hence, there are several detox centres that cater to the needs of patients recovering from addiction. These centres offer varying care programs depending on the duration of addiction, intensity, and location. Mild addiction may on require an outpatient form of detoxification.
On the other hand, critical addiction, with no exception to the heavy use of opioids, need inpatient treatment. For the first three to seven days the patient is placed under medical detox at the detoxification centre. Prescribed medication is administered based on the type of withdrawal symptoms the patient experiences, including discomfort, depression, anxiety, and uncontrolled cravings.
There are professional medical staff available 24/7 to manage severe medical complications and keep the patient’s health stable. Other than intensive detox programs, there are other treatments as well, one of which includes social detoxification – a program based on social support.
However, this type of detox is available to people with improved recovery, but not without the clearance of a medical doctor.
There are specific guidelines that cut across all forms of detoxification. Patients are to adhere to these rules and regulations for their health and medical safety. Some detox centres permit the use of electronic gadgets, while others have restrictions in place (in such situations, there are channels they provide to foster communication with family, friends, and loved ones).
Types of Symptoms Detox Programs Addresses
Detox is the underlying foundation for undergoing full rehabilitation programs, some of which span 30 to 60 days. During the phase, the staff ensures that the individual is medically stable and free from medical complications that may arise from withdrawal. Substance abuse plays a major role in the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms, as some may be potentially harmful and even fatal.
Detoxification from excessive alcohol intake may come with withdrawal symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, tremors, nausea, fatigue, irritability, seizures, nightmares, and delirium tremens.
On the other hand, withdrawal symptoms for opioids detoxification may include agitation, muscle pain, diarrhoea, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, cramping or upset stomach, and sweating. Patients undergoing cocaine detoxification may experience symptoms, like restlessness, agitation, depression, fatigue, discomfort, and nightmares.
Available Detox Medications
During a patient’s stay at the detox facility, medical staff will administer specific medications to help boost the detoxification process, while keeping the individual medically stable.
This detox medication is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that treats withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risks that come with its addiction as well.
Anticonvulsants are mostly targeted at alcohol withdrawal symptoms like convulsions.
This medication is used to treat withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids. Additionally, it curbs uncontrolled cravings for such toxic substances.
Benzodiazepines are sedative drugs that treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, restlessness, and seizures.
This detox medication addresses psychosis – a withdrawal symptom that is associated with drugs. It manages hallucinations, delirium, and other related conditions.
Just like methadone, Buprenorphine reduces cravings and control symptoms. However, it less likely produces euphoric effects, unlike its cousin.
Selecting An Ideal Detox Centre
There are several factors to consider when selecting a detox centre, which include location, drug, specialized group, treatment, recovery duration, insurance, and costs.
Location is an important factor in determining the ideal detox facility. Often, patients prefer centres closest to their homes, so as to be in close contact with their loved ones, whereas others may prefer centres within their travel destinations.
Depending on the substance a patient is addicted to, such an individual may seek a detox centre that has more professional inclination towards treating such an addiction with the right medication.
Patients get better when surrounded by people who share the same interests or belief systems. Finding a centre with people with common identification is beneficial to a patient’s recovery process. In such settings, their presence motivates the individual to get better.
Detox centres that offer round-the-clock supervision, treatment, and follow-ups are an ideal choice for patients who seek medical help.
Some detox centres also spot rehabilitation facilities that help follow up on the medical and mental progress of inpatients; such systems promote long-term recovery.
These medical treatments come at a cost, which implies that having a medical insurance policy can come in handy. Hence, it is important to select detox centres that accept such policies, an example being Medicaid.
Patients without insurance or insurance policies that do not include the treatment they intend to receive would have to opt for detox facilities that provide convenient payment plans. Additionally, they may need to factor costs for other extra amenities the facilities provide.