Medical detoxification is a systematic process that involves safe withdrawal from drugs or alcohol for individuals who have an addiction. It is also known as Systematic withdrawal.
Abuse of harmful substances makes an individual physically dependent on them, which leads to withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop abruptly or unplanned. Detoxification systematically removes these toxins while addressing and treating the effects of withdrawal, and it is ideally carried out in a structured environment under a physician’s supervision.
Depending on the substance abused and the setting care, there are different types of Detox methods:
- Alcohol detoxification
- Inpatient detoxification
- Opiate detoxification
- Outpatient detoxification
- Psychological withdrawal detoxification
Detoxification includes psychotherapeutic treatments to better address the underlying mental health issues that might have predisposed the patient to substance abuse and study the effects of it on the brain. Detox comprises of a structured rehabilitation program that is specific to the substance abused. Patients enroll in life skills classes to learn how to maintain responsibilities and function in a healthy manner as they recover. They participate in family and personal therapy sessions. Routine visits are scheduled for medical care to prevent self-medicating. An action plan is also created for relapse prevention.
Withdrawal syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms that occur once the use of a drug is reduced or stopped. The nature, severity, duration, and variety of withdrawal symptoms vary with the type of drug.
Heroin withdrawal presents with restlessness, musculoskeletal pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.
Mental symptoms include irrational mood swings, anger, hallucinations. Physical symptoms usually disappear by the time detoxification process is complete, but the mental symptoms may last longer.
Medical supervision is recommended for the majority of addicts as they undergo systematic withdrawal, primarily to ensure adherence and prevent a relapse. Very few will succeed at detoxification without any type of supervision, and these are typically patients who were abusing for a very short time. Detox can be life-threatening in case of a hard drug addiction causing severe withdrawal symptoms. Some patients will experience liver failure, heart palpitations, or even brain aneurysms. Therefore, it is critical for a trained and experienced medical professional to carefully monitor your withdrawal and manage it meticulously.
It is highly recommended that you enter treatment immediately after detoxing is complete. There are resources available to help you transition to treatment facilities. Many times, inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers incorporate an initial period of structured detox into their program, so there is a more seamless transition from detox to follow-up treatment.
Some of these treatment options include inpatient residential treatment, outpatient treatment, individual counseling, group counseling, support groups, and especially for those recovering from alcoholism, 12-Step programs, and sober living houses. Medical detox is a comprehensive program for the effective treatment of patients suffering from various kinds of substance abuse and chances of a full recovery and return to normalcy are high if carefully managed.