What Does Medical Detox Involve?

The Process of Medically Assisted Detoxification

When an individual is severely addicted to drugs or alcohol, they will require a period of medically assisted detox in order to safely and effectively manage their withdrawal symptoms. This is the first step in the entire recovery process and is designed to lay the foundation for a successful recovery from addiction.

Withdrawal can be extremely hard to bear and individuals can experience some hard-to-manage side effects during this time. If not properly managed via withdrawal medication, individuals will endure withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • The chills
  • Shakiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Stomach cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Disorientation

With the assistance of medical detox, these symptoms can be better managed and mitigated.

The Detox Process

There are three main stages of detox:

  1. Evaluation
  2. Stabilization
  3. Transitioning to treatment

Depending on the severity of the addiction, as well as the length of time that the individual has been addicted, the detox process will vary in length and intensity. Patients who endure detox will reside at a treatment facility from anywhere between three to seven days depending on a number of factors such as the type of substance you are withdrawing from.

Patients will be given detox medications by a pharmacist during the detox period. Some of the detox medications that you may take are Methadone, Barbiturates, Sodium Oxybate, Baclofen, and Naltrexone. Detox allows your body to be safely weaned off of the substance of abuse so that the body does not go into a state of shock.

The general timeline for detox is:

  • The beginning of detox: 6 – 12 hours
  • The peak of detox: 1 – 3 days
  • Symptoms subside: 1 week

It’s advised that individuals never go ‘cold turkey’ as this can put the body into a severe state of shock which can be extremely dangerous and can even be fatal. By going through a period of medical detox, you can be sure that you are detoxing in the safest way possible with medical staff available 24/7 in the event that something were to go wrong. Some of the risks of going ‘cold turkey are:

  • Uncomfortable withdrawal
  • More likely to relapse
  • Risk of overdose
  • Can be fatal

If you are addicted to opiates, prescription opioids, or alcohol, stimulants, it is highly suggested that you seek the assistance of medical detox. Detox will help to lessen the side effects that are experienced when the body does not get a steady flow of the substance of abuse.

Getting The Right Help

If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, the safest way for you to get control of your condition is to seek immediate help. Detox will set the stage for a successful recovery as long as you are committed and dedicated to receiving help. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you will be able to live a more content and enjoyable life that is free from the weight of addiction. Help is available near you and there is no need to wait any longer to get the help that you need.

Sources:

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh22-1/44-46.pdf

https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.