Detoxification, or “detox” for short, is the first step in the addiction treatment process. It lasts for a period of three to seven days and is intended to purge the patient’s body of all drug residues and help them safely withdraw from their drug of choice. Withdrawal symptoms may begin within three to twenty-four hours of the patient’s final dose, and they may last for weeks. To prevent serious harm or discomfort, and to ensure that the patient’s body is evacuated of all poisonous substances safely and naturally, detox is a must. The process is fairly straightforward: patients take up residence a detox facility, where they may share a room with another patient. Here, their bodies and minds readjust to life without drugs. Since withdrawal symptoms can be severe, medication is often administered to the patient. Meds help to beat back cravings and minimize or prevent drastic or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. This “step-down” process reduces the physical rigors of withdrawal and guarantees the patient’s safety.This is also why going “cold turkey (attempting to detox at home, unsupervised by any medical personnel) is extremely dangerous. Without the 24-hour monitoring which trained clinical staff can provide, and the tapering medications they offer, a patient faces the prospect of an uncomfortable and painful experience. Typical withdrawal symptoms (for various types of substances) include anxiousness, emotional agitation, sleeping trouble, psychosis, headaches, rashes, dry mouth, cramps, priapism, constipation, nausea, vomiting, sweating, seizures, convulsions, and delirium tremens (DTs), among others. In the case of alcohol withdrawal, the symptoms may be life-threatening. The odds of a relapse are also much higher with home detox, as there is no follow-up—at a rehab center, detox precedes a complete regimen of therapy and counseling designed to help a patient confront the mental issues which caused the addiction in the first place.If you or a loved one is physically addicted to a substance and needs to get clean, or you’d like to learn more about how detox works, the knowledgeable professionals at Addiction Drug Rehab Chicago can answer your questions. Give them a call at (312) 638-6880 today.
Approved Detox Medications
To counter the severe symptoms of withdrawal, the following medications may be used:
- Buprenorphine – This opioid drug is used to step down heroin addicts and assuage cravings.
- Methadone – Also used during opioid detox.
- Naloxone – Used in the case of opioid overdose, as it blocks the opioid receptors in the brain.
- Antabuse (disulfiram) – This drug blocks the absorption of alcohol, and causes alcoholics to experience unpleasant symptoms like sickness, cramps, and vomiting if they take a drink.
The Hazards of Relapse
While detox rids the body of its physical dependence on a drug, it does not fully treat addiction. Cravings will still arise in the patient’s mind, and their underlying psychological issues are still unaddressed. It’s vital that a patient move on from detox to a qualified rehab center and complete a full 45- to 90-day course of therapy and counseling. This is essential to prevent the patient from slipping back into their old destructive thinking and negative impulses which trapped them in their addiction. Counselors and therapists will tease out the latent psychological blocks, social and environmental stressors, and other factors which abetted addiction and can discourage recovery.
To learn more about detoxification or any other part of the treatment process, avail yourself of Addiction Drug Rehab Chicago’s expertise at (312) 638-6880.