Why a drug detox is necessary to recover from addiction
Detox is short for detoxification. Detoxification is the removing of toxins (poisons or harmful things) from the body. Medical detox means that the detoxification process is done under medical supervision. However, the product of a successful medical detox is not the total elimination of all the toxins from the body or the elimination of any cravings for the drug or alcohol. The product of a successful medical detox is that the person, in a more comfortable way, no longer has any medical risks caused by no longer taking the drug or drinking alcohol. The person is then ready to go into a drug or alcohol rehab facility or, if the person was just dependent, return to their life.
How drug and alcohol dependency happens
When a person is taking a drug or alcohol into their body, there are both mental effects and physiological adaptations by the body. The drugs and alcohol stimulates reactions in the body that were formerly produced by other natural substances, like dopamine. Over time and use, the body produces less and less of the natural substances and begins to rely more and more on the alcohol or drugs. Because all of us have different metabolisms and different DNA, the amount of time before these changes occur varies widely.
Once a person has become dependent (they will have withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug) or addicted (they are taking the drug or drinking alcohol primarily for the way it makes them feel), they are going to experience mild to severe discomfort and pain when they attempt to stop taking the drug or drinking alcohol.
If a person is dependent/addicted to opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, oxycodone or methadone or to an opiate like heroin, the withdrawal may not be life-threatening, but it is usually so painful that the U. S. government estimates that 95% of the people who try to stop taking these opioids on their own fail to complete their withdrawal. To address the safety issue and the discomfort/pain issues of drug and alcohol withdrawal, many people are turning to medical detox.
Alcohol and drug detox protocols
Because all of us have different metabolisms, and current health situations, a properly designed medical detox protocol is not followed exactly for each patient. A good medical detox protocol is a guide that contains alternative procedures if the patient reacts differently than other patients.
A good medical detox protocol does not have “one size fits all” procedures, but instead it provides procedures to ensure that each patient is most comfortably and safely detoxed from the alcohol or drug.
The standard medical protocol for an alcoholic utilizes a drug that is given to eliminate the seizure risk. Once the person is no longer a seizure risk, the person should be given less of the drug each day until they are no longer taking the drug. This is called a taper. Some people will be able to taper off the drug faster than others. The speed of the taper should be adjusted for each person.
A person withdrawing from alcohol or an opioid is normally very dehydrated, and a good medical detox protocol will address this. They are normally vitamin- and mineral-depleted, and a good medical detox protocol will also address this. They may experience other withdrawal symptoms that will make their detox very uncomfortable if not handled.
Types of drug and alcohol detox programs
Patients admit into an inpatient medical detox facilities and stay in the facility until they complete their detox. Some facilities bill themselves as medical detox facilities but only provide lodging. The only interaction with medical professionals is when the patient is taken to the medical professional’s office.
If it is a true medical detox facility, then the person is under medical supervision for 24 hours a day. At a medical detox facility, the person is given medical drugs and/or natural products to assist their withdrawal. If the person has a problem during their detox, the problem can be addressed and handled instantly. Because the patient is under the care of medical personnel around the clock, the detox can go much faster and it is normal for people to complete their withdrawal from alcohol or other drugs in between 6-14 days. Once they complete their detox, they are able to return home or go for further treatment.
Rock Recovery Center works with a wide variety of detox programs for clients looking to admit into treatment. Depending on what your medical needs are, we will help you select the proper detox facility for you or your loved one to enter prior to admitting into our program. Contact us today for more information.