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Detox and Withdrawal

Detox and Withdrawal

Detox and withdrawal are two of the most feared words sometimes from those taking the plunge into getting treatment for their addiction.  Since these first two steps to sobriety can be some of the hardest parts of it, it is understandable why some may be apprehensive.  Due to the difficulties and struggles that can come along with this period, it tends to be the time that many individuals drop out of treatment against professional medical advice.  In fact, research shows that the first week of treatment (the time generally in which detox would take place), is when many addicts drop out of rehab.

Difference Between Detox and Withdrawal

Withdrawal can be summed up as the condition that your body goes through when no longer consuming the substance that it regularly has been.  This can include a great many different symptoms and phenomena to greater or lesser degrees, and it depends on many factors what is experienced and the intensity.  Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending upon such things as the drug the person is dependent on, combinations of drugs, length and amounts of use, and body chemistry.

Detox is the period of time including withdrawal where the person is removing the drug from their system.  Detox as it is generally referred to, most of the time means within a treatment center or other medical environment, though some attempt it themselves.  It includes handling withdrawal and taking care of the body until the time that the drug is out of the system and they are no longer withdrawing.  Many people attempt detox and withdrawal at home, but the reality is that this can be extremely dangerous.  Especially with substances like alcohol and opiates, which can actually cause death in extreme cases of withdrawal.  It is generally best practice to seek detox within a professional and safe environment such as a treatment center where you will be monitored and taken care of.

Medication Assisted Detox

Another key factor of detoxing within a treatment center is the fact that many facilities use medications to assist and ease withdrawal symptoms so that the process of going through withdrawal is much less painful and more comfortable.  Since the body is so used to taking in the substance one has been using, it has quite a shock when the substance is no longer being consumed.  This is offset within professional detox settings by using certain types of medications depending on the substance.  For instance, Suboxone, Subutex, or Methadone are medications that are commonly used to wean individuals off of opiates.

Opiates tend to be the most common substance to have medication assisted detox, though there are others.  There are also substances that unfortunately do not have a medication to help offset the withdrawal symptoms, so in these cases, the staff of a center will do whatever they can to increase the person’s comfort while dealing with the symptoms, as well as keep them stable.

Outpatient Versus Inpatient

Inpatient detoxification tends to be the ideal method of detoxing.  There are several reasons for this.  One reason is that the individual has consistent monitoring and assistance from staff, in the case of any needs or urgencies.  They also will have a safe environment to go through the process.

Outpatient detox can be an option but depending upon the case, can run several risks as well.  Since a person in outpatient detox is not constantly monitored, if anything goes wrong, they may not have any assistance.  There are also outpatient clinics that provide wean down medications like methadone to gradually help the individual off of their substance of choice.  But difficulties with this can include ending up addicted to the wind-down medication or being reliant upon a medication for “sobriety” for the rest of one’s life.

Detox at home is extremely risky and should never be attempted, especially without proper medical advice and supervision.

Detox and withdrawal can seem like insurmountable difficulties to those who are heavily dependent upon a substance.  Drugs and alcohol can create extreme dependencies within the body and overcoming the symptoms of withdrawal can be difficult.  Not only is there a physical addiction, but generally a mental addiction as well.  This mental aspect of it can come into play heavily when a person is going through detox and wants to do nothing more than use their drug as a refuge to escape the difficulty, which is often when many leave treatment.  But detox is far from impossible when the right help is sought within a treatment center, the person has a conviction to stick with it, and a team of professionals to help them to stay the course.

If you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, give us a call right away.  We know it can be quite a confusion to find the right treatment center in the multitude of them around the country, but that is precisely what we are here for.  We are knowledgeable and familiar with the treatment centers across the country and can help to find the best private inpatient treatment center for yourself or your loved one.

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