Recovery from substance abuse is not seen as a singular event. Instead, those who seek sobriety and long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction must complete several important steps in order to achieve that ultimate goal. The medical detoxification process is a crucial foundation for recovery and involves the monitoring of patients by medical staff for any signs of physical and psychological withdrawal that occurs when an addict stops taking substances.
If you are seeking drug treatment, the importance of the detox process cannot be overlooked. The detox process can make or break an your chances at a full recovery, so it is absolutely critical that you find a medical detox program that is licensed, reputable and staffed by experienced medical personnel. If you are unsure of where to turn to receive medical detox services, Dream Center for Recovery will help you find the appropriate medical detox center to meet your individual needs.
What is Medical Detox from Drugs & Alcohol and Why is it Important for My Recovery?
Medical detoxification can be simply defined as a set of interventions that are aimed at managing both acute withdrawal and intoxication due to substances. With the detoxification process, there is a clearing out of the toxins that have accumulated in the body and the interventions that are employed by medical staff are used to minimize both the physical and psychological harm that can be caused by substance abuse.
Medical detoxification is important to your recovery for three main reasons. First, detox allows treatment staff to perform a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of the substances that are present in your bloodstream and their concentrations. Additionally, detox staff will evaluate you for any co-occurring mental or medical conditions that may be the underlying cause for your addictive behavior. If any co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety are discovered, treatment staff will be able to customize your individual treatment plan to address these issues.
Secondly, the detox process allows staff to minimize the physical and psychological symptoms that are associated with withdrawal. Many drugs such as alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines (such as Xanax), stimulants and prescription painkillers have withdrawal symptoms that can be uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening without proper medical intervention. Depending on the substances you are addicted to, medical staff will slowly wean you off those substances to ensure a safe detox experience. Medications such as Suboxone or methadone may be administered in some cases, but this will only be done under the strict supervision of experienced medical staff.
Once you are stabilized and are substance-free, medical detox staff will prepare you to enter formal treatment. It is important to note that medical detoxification is not seen as drug treatment. Medical detoxification is an important cornerstone in the overall recovery process. The role of detox staff in this step is to provide you with the encouragement, support and motivation you need to benefit from the counseling, therapy and other essential programming that inpatient drug treatment offers. You may be encouraged to attend 12-Step groups such as AA, NA or other similar groups.
How Long Does the Medical Detoxification Process Last?
In general, you can expect to be in medical detox for 5-14 days; however, the process of detoxification from substance abuse can widely vary depending on the type of drug or drugs that have been abused, the frequency of their use and abuse and the length of time the substances were taken. During that time period you may experience a variety of symptoms associated with withdrawal including vomiting, nausea, muscle cramps and bone pain as examples.
With certain drugs, such as heroin and oxycodone for example, individuals may be given smaller doses of the abused drug or given synthetic derivatives in order to wean the body gradually off of that substance because sudden withdrawal could cause severe physical effects. Other factors that can determine length of stay in medical detox include, among others:
- Significant mood swings or drastic changes in your mental state
- Your age
- Your cultural views and attitudes towards drug treatment
- If you are caring for dependent children