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Tag Archive: medical detoxification

Systematic Withdrawal

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

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.

Undergoing Medical Detoxification

The process of medical detoxification, or medical detox, is the first step in substance dependence and addiction which allows for an affected individual to adjust to a life without alcohol and/or drugs.

The process is performed slowly under the care and supervision of a trained and experienced healthcare professional. This is done to allow patients the opportunity to withdraw from their addictive substances without having to experience too severe withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms

An important aspect to take note of is that every addiction is based on the individual and every withdrawal experience is different. Not everyone goes through the same withdrawal process and the severity of symptoms will depend on factors such as the type of drug used, the frequency of its use, how long the substance was used for, and if there is any underlying pathology.

The following are possible withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced depending on the substance that is abused:

  • Alcohol – fever, rapid heartbeat, and confusion.
  • Opioids/narcotics – excessive sweating, muscles aches, anxiety, abdominal discomfort, and agitation.
  • Methamphetamine – uncontrollable shaking, dry mouth, sweating, fatigue, and insomnia.
  • Cocaine – malaise, increased appetite, fatigue, and agitation.

Some other withdrawal symptoms that patients may experience can include:

  • Muscle tremors.
  • Depression.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

process is performed slowly under the care and supervision of a trained and experienced healthcare professional

Some patients may stop experiencing these issues after a few days or weeks, while others may end up struggling with symptoms that linger on for months. The period of time one may ultimately experience the withdrawal symptoms may last longer than anticipated without medical support and this can lead to relapsing back into bad habits.

Severe withdrawal symptoms that warrant definite medical intervention and support include:

  • Severe psychological distress.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures or convulsions.

In the event of such issues, a medical detox administrator can ensure the safety of a patient and reduce the chances of a relapse.

How Does Medical Detox Work?

The following steps take place during a medical detoxification:

  • A trained medical practitioner will take charge over the entire withdrawal process starting with a patient’s history, current health status, and substance use history.
  • The patient will be examined and investigated further if required to rule out and manage any acute and/or chronic medical issues. Any fluid and electrolyte imbalances will also be managed here.
  • A custom detox process will be initiated for the patient to minimize the side effects of the withdrawal process as well as encourage a permanent state of recovery.
  • Depending on the substance that the patient is addicted to, tapering off the drug may be required in order to prevent any severe withdrawal effects from developing. This is especially important for substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and methamphetamine.
  • Once the patients have their withdrawal symptoms under control, they will start to take part in other substance rehabilitation services such as psychotherapy and occupational therapy.

Without having to worry about physical and psychological symptoms of the withdrawal process, the patient can then start to focus on their mental health, long-term recovery plan to avoid relapses and to rebuild their lives and relationships with family members and friends.