If you have been drinking heavily or using drugs for a long time, stopping suddenly can be dangerous. This is because your body has become accustomed to having alcohol or drugs in it, so it cannot function normally without them. Quitting cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, shaking, sweating, and nausea.
In severe cases, you may even experience hallucinations or seizures. While detox is beneficial, you shouldn’t attempt this on your own. You should only detox under medical supervision. Doctors will help you taper off drugs or alcohol, get a medical evaluation, and provide you with adequate support during withdrawal.
Detox can be a challenging process, but with the right medical environment, it can be your first step toward recovery. Professional detox programs will help you through the withdrawal process safely and comfortably. Additionally, doctors offer support and resources to help you stay sober after you leave the detox center.
What is Medical Detoxification?
Detoxification, or detox, is the process of detoxifying the body of drugs and alcohol. When people who have been heavily using these substances stop, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. To manage these symptoms safely, they may have to undergo detoxification under medical supervision. Symptoms of withdrawal can range in severity and include nausea, vomiting, tremors, and anxiety. It is also possible to experience more serious symptoms, such as seizures and delirium.
A detox program can help manage these symptoms and make withdrawal more comfortable. It may be necessary to take medication to ease withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing is just the first step in the recovery process, but it’s often a necessary one if you have been addicted for a long time. After detox, the underlying causes of substance use disorders need to be addressed before you can achieve long-term sobriety.
Types of FDA-Approved Medications Used to Detox
Detox has several goals, including making sure the person is as comfortable as possible. Some facilities use comfort medications. Since each individual’s detox experience is unique, the detox facility will work with the individual to find the most appropriate combination of medication to reduce or eliminate the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
Examples of detox medications include:
- Methadone. This is an opioid that helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms. It’s not a perfect solution because it can be addictive, but it can be helpful in the short term.
- Clonidine. This helps with anxiety and hand tremors.
- Diazepam. This relieves muscle spasms.
- Hydroxyzine. This is an antihistamine that helps with anxiety and intense itching skin.
How Long Will It Take to Detox?
The length of a detox treatment can be affected by a variety of factors, such as the kind of drug used, the person’s physiology, and whether they’re willing to work through their withdrawal symptoms with the assistance of a professional.
For example, alcohol withdrawal usually takes a week or less, while Benzodiazepine withdrawal can last several weeks. It is essential to realize that detox is only the first step in recovery; after detoxing from drugs or alcohol, users will need continued treatment to remain sober over the long term. If you are struggling with addiction, seek treatment from a qualified provider. Remember, detoxing on your own can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
The Medical Detox Process
Detox preparation is designed to prepare a patient physically and mentally for their rehab program, which will include education about addiction, individual and group therapy, and new life skills, such as how to improve social relationships, assert boundaries, or communicate clearly. An evaluation by a medical team usually precedes the detoxification process. A doctor will evaluate the patient’s physical and psychological well-being as well as their level of addiction. The next step is stabilization.
Doctors will monitor the patient’s vital signs and administer any necessary medical care. Once the patient is stable, doctors can begin the treatment process. This may simply involve tapering off drugs or alcohol, or, in more extreme cases, it may involve more intensive measures such as detoxification under anesthesia.
A drug or alcohol detox program can be a great first step on your path to recovery if you’re ready to get sober. Call us at 844-639-8371 to get started. You can ask our counselors any questions you have about what happens during detox or where to go for treatment.