Last updated on July 1st, 2019 at 12:52 pm
Detoxification (or detox) is the process of removing toxic substances from the body, such as drugs or alcohol. Detoxification in humans is used for addictions to both drugs and alcohol. An alcohol or drug detox program is the first step in most rehabilitation programs. In order for rehab treatment to have a higher chance of success, the individual struggling with addiction needs to be kept physically stable through detox treatment.
When addiction is more pronounced, a medically assisted detox approach may be implemented to help manage detox symptoms and cravings. Voluntary detox treatment is generally provided at the beginning of inpatient programs at alcohol and drug rehabilitation facilities. These facilities have varying approaches to substance detox depending on the severity of the addiction being treated, how long the patient has been struggling with drugs or alcohol, and the facility’s capabilities.
Self Detox – Not Worth the Risks
Sometimes people will realize their substance abuse issues have reached a dangerous point without an intervention. While it may seem like the logical next conclusion, attempting to self detox from drugs or alcohol without understanding the risks is extremely dangerous. And even if you do know some of the details, there’s no telling what symptoms will manifest during your detox, which could put you in a dangerous situation.
Quitting “cold turkey” is extremely strenuous on the body, more so than going through a standard detox program where countermeasures are in place for severe detox symptoms. You can shock your body, which has become physically dependent on your substance of choice, which could lead to a myriad of health problems. Depending on the substance, those sudden-onset withdrawal symptoms could even be lethal.
If your addiction is severe or has been going on for a long time, trying to stop on your own could be problematic. It is best to try and find a detox facility to guide you through the process if possible, for the sake of your health and safety.
Alcohol detoxification is the preparatory step before a longer treatment program. Detoxification can be safely performed at both inpatient and outpatient facilities, but round-the-clock medical monitoring is recommended for heavy users. In most cases, the detox process involves three steps:
- Assessment. The rehab facility’s medical team will do a comprehensive review of the drug, medical, and psychiatric histories of their patients to get a comprehensive understanding of each patient’s situation.
- Stabilization. The patient undergoes medical and psychological therapies to help them reach a balance of mind and body.
- Medication. Many detoxification programs include medications that mimic the effects of alcohol to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. Medications may also target co-occurring disorders or general discomfort to make the detox process less strenuous on the patient.
Although medically assisted detox limits some of the negative side effects the user experiences, there are some withdrawal symptoms that are unavoidable. Some of these unpleasant side effects may include:
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Muscle weakness
- Mood swings
The initial period of detoxification can vary in intensity depending on the substances the patient is detoxing from and other factors surrounding their substance abuse. Highly trained medical and psychiatric staff members are present to constantly to provide support for patients going through a detox program. For example, opioids tend to leave the system fairly quickly so those suffering from an addiction to heroin or other opioids often experience some of the following withdrawal symptoms in the first 24 hours:
- Excessive yawning
- Muscle aches
- Increasing watering of the eyes
- Runny nose
There are a some drugs that have notoriously trying detox processes, so it’s important to find the right detox program capable of helping you through your treatment plan. Thankfully, most detox windows are anywhere from a few days to a little over a month before symptoms begin to subside.
Most withdrawal symptoms aren’t life threatening, but they can be quite uncomfortable and more severe addictions lead to more severe symptoms, which is why it’s beneficial for these patients to receive psychiatric and medical care while detoxing from drugs.
A number of issues can manifest during the first few days of detox that will need addressed immediately in order to continue to help patients reach physical stability without drugs. Attempting to detox at home is highly discouraged.
Medically Supervised Detox
Medically supervised detoxification is the highest tier of detox treatment, usually reserved for patient’s at a higher risk of severe detox symptoms. Patients who need this level of care require much more supervision and are often on medications to help control the severity of their withdrawals. Like most detox programs, this requires admission into an inpatient treatment center, since this level of care needs 24/7 supervision by a trained medical staff.
We Can Help You Find a Detox Facility Today
When you call us for help with finding an addiction treatment or detoxification program, we’ll start with a complimentary review of your health insurance benefits. If you or a loved one is addicted to a substance that usually requires a detox program, we’ll keep that in mind while helping you search for a rehab facility within your insurance network.
We’ll do everything we can to help get as much of your rehab treatment covered by insurance as possible. This may require you to go through a detox program at a separate facility than your inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
We’ll only pair you with treatment centers that work with your insurance policy and that meet a level of care we deem is acceptable for your recovery needs. Our service specialists are available 24/7 for your convenience. Call us today to get started.