Medical detox is the process and experience of a withdrawal syndrome under medical supervision. Medical detox enables people to stop using drugs in a safe and supportive setting, with access to prescription medications and medical staff offered during the detox period.
While drugs are not always used during detox, they are normally prescribed to help manage and speed up the withdrawal process. Detox is the first stage of drug treatment, with further therapy and counseling required to treat the underlying causes of drug abuse and dependence.
Hear all about the many drug treatment options available when you call Arlington Drug Treatment Centers at (703) 463-2418.
The process of detoxification enables patients to stop drug use in a safe environment. While detox does not refer exclusively to the removal of toxic substances in this context, it does provide recovering addicts with an opportunity to get clean and ready themselves for further treatment.
Medical detox programs are available through dedicated detox clinics, with some large drug treatment facilities providing detoxification and rehabilitation treatment under one roof. The term “detox” can also be used to describe treatment for drug overdose, with medications often required to stabilize and support recovery.
Both physical and psychological addictions can be treated through detox, with people experiencing a physical withdrawal syndrome more likely to need a medical detox program. Drugs are commonly used to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, with opioids, naltrexone and benzodiazepines just some of the medications used in different situations.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there are three steps involved in drug detox: evaluation, stabilization, and guiding patients towards further treatment.
Rapid detoxification has been used to treat severe cases of heroin addiction, with heavy sedation used alongside opioid antagonists like naltrexone. While this approach has proved useful in some situations, it is generally believed to be dangerous, expensive and ineffective.
Controversy also surrounds the use of heavy sedation techniques during detox, with some critics saying rapid detoxification is unethical. Rapid detox programs have caused a number of deaths in recent years, with most experts recommending a slow and gradual detox process at a specialized drug treatment facility.
Various medications can be prescribed during the detox period, especially for drugs that produce a physical withdrawal syndrome. The drugs used during detox depend greatly on the substance of abuse, with some addictions requiring an extensive medication period and others needing little more than over-the-counter pain relief pills.
Common detox medications include benzodiazepines like Valium and Serax, opioids like methadone and buprenorphine, and antagonist drugs such as naltrexone. Common medications used for alcohol detox include naltrexone and benzodiazepines, with these drugs used to alleviate potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms and smooth out the recovery process.
Legal opioid medications such as methadone and buprenorphine are used to treat heroin withdrawal, with long-term medication sometimes administered in the case of opiate replacement therapy. Naltrexone is also widely prescribed to treat the heroin withdrawal syndrome, with this drug initially approved by the FDA in 1984 for the treatment of opioid dependence. Benzodiazepine drugs like Valium and Serax are used to treat long-term benzodiazepine dependence, with these drugs administered in the context of dose reduction.
It can be dangerous when a person’s drug intake is reduced or stopped abruptly. A gradual dose reduction over a long time period is often recommended. In the case of benzodiazepine abuse, drugs with a long half-life are prescribed to patients as an alternative to those with a short half-life to enable a safe and smooth withdrawal process.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from drug abuse or addiction problems, make sure to seek help from a dedicated detox clinic as soon as possible. Call Arlington Drug Treatment Centers at (703) 463-2418 today.