There are many detox methods apart from the conventional medical detox; however, a lot of these have proven to be either harmful or largely ineffective against alleviating the effects of addiction.
What is medical detoxification?
Medical detoxification is the process through which a recovering addict can thoroughly cleanse and rid the body of any toxins or chemicals that could be remaining in the body and causing damage to the brain or internal organs.
At Scottsdale Recovery Center, we only perform proper medical detox, which means that our medical detox takes place in a clinical setting and is overseen by trained medical practitioners who monitor each patient’s vitals- including heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels, etc.- to ensure a safe detox from whichever substance they are recovering from.
In essence, a medical detox is a supervised and gradual withdrawal process. Patients often experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, restlessness, frequent nausea, agitation, and hot and cold flashes and therefore require support and supervision.
Our Medical Detox Professional offers effective support to ensure that patients experiencing withdrawal symptoms are comfortable and not a danger to themselves or other patients. Since the symptoms experienced and the level of severity varies from one individual to another, we have equipped with the necessary tools and resources to handle any issues that come up with a patient during the withdrawal period.
Withdrawal-related issues are attributed to the following factors:
- How long the person has been addicted to the drug(s)
- The substance that the patient is trying to detoxify from his (or her) body system.
Our Medical detox staff is well-equipped to safely manage the acute physical and psychological symptoms that come from the cessation of a specific drug (or a specific set of drugs, as the case may be). However, it is worth noting that as a process, medical detoxification is simply the first stage of treatment. While it can help a patient stop abusing drugs, without therapy and follow-up care, the patient may relapse.
The sole application of detoxification is seldom sufficient to help in the achievement of a long-term abstinence, it is therefore strongly recommended for some people as a prerequisite for the effective treatment of drug addiction.
The Intravenous (IV) Medical Detox
Intravenous (IV) medical detox therapy is seen by many as the safest and most effective form of medical detoxification.
During the detox treatment, certain medications or appropriate minerals and vitamins are infused into the patient’s body system through an IV, while the heart rate and general vitals of the patient are monitored closely as well. Usually, only medical doctors and registered nurses are able to perform this type of detox. The entire procedure may take an hour or more before it’s completed.
The primary aim of IV detoxification is to:
- Ensure that the patient gets the nutrients they may have lost during their addiction
- To get essential amino acids and enzymes that help repair damaged cells caused by the addiction.
As soon as the detox process is done, the patient is transferred to a rehabilitation center where they can continue their recovery.
Who is In Need of a Medical Detox?
It is important to note that not every patient requires medical detox. To be considered for a medical detox:
- You must have a physical addiction to certain specific substances
- You experience painful and distressing withdrawal symptoms
- You have a mental disorder, which may exacerbate your condition during the withdrawal process causing you to harm others as well as yourself
Also, people who are addicted to the following drugs may need a medically-supervised detoxification:
Heroin– Although there is less of a danger when it comes to opiate withdrawal, medical management is required to provide comfort to a patient going through heroin withdrawal symptoms. This is because the symptoms are quite painful.
Prescription Painkillers– Some prescribed opiates such as OxyContin and Vicodin can cause distressing withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol– The withdrawal symptoms of alcohol are actually some of the most hazardous. While some may be mild, others can be quite severe and even life-threatening.
Methamphetamine or Cocaine– People who are addicted to cocaine and meth need a medical detox because the withdrawal symptoms associated with these drugs can cause complications.
Benzodiazepines– The sudden discontinuation of benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax can be life-threatening. To avoid health complications, medical supervision is required.
Marijuana, Inhalants, Recreational Drugs, etc.- People who are addicted to other substances other than the ones discussed above may need a medical detox if their experiencing health problems related to drug abuse.
How Long Should a Medical Detox Take?
The length of time required to complete a medical detox depends on the following factors:
- The nature of the drug (or drugs) that have been abused
- The medical history of the patient
- The level to which this drug (or these drugs) has (or have) entered the system of the patient, which in turn depends on how much of it (or them) have been consumed
However, on an average, detox sessions should last about 14 day or less.
Will Medical Detox be Sufficient in Treating Addiction?
Although many patients who undergo medical detox therapy usually stop using drugs, most of them relapse because they do not follow through addiction treatment plan. As a doctor, it is imperative that you prepare your patient for the rest of the addiction treatment and emphasize on the importance of following through the treatment plan.
It is important to note that medical detox is just a part of the addiction treatment plan, and it offers few benefits in the way of stopping drug abuse (especially for people who have a long history of abusing substances). To attain optimal results, a detox session should be followed by the immediate enrollment into a residential or outpatient addiction treatment and rehabilitation program.
Advantages of Medical Detoxification
Some of the benefits of medical detoxification include:
- A Safe Environment: Self-detoxification from drugs may not be the best approach especially if you are a chronic drug user. Medical detoxification is done in a safe environment; therefore, you feel secure. Moreover, you are monitored constantly to ensure that the treatment process does not cause you any health complications.
- Effectiveness: During the medical detoxification process, you get a lot of support from the doctors and nurses. You are also under constant supervision to ensure that if any issue arises, it is dealt with quickly.
At Scottsdale Recovery Center we employ very effective and comprehensive methods within the overall scope of medical detoxification. Our ultimate goal isn’t simply to wean the patient off whatever substances he or she is addicted to, but rather to catapult them into a highly effective experience within the overall addiction treatment process, one that is poised to create a realistic pathway into long-term, quality sobriety.