Medical detox is the most commonly used method for breaking the physical addiction, and it must be performed under medical supervision at an inpatient detox or rehab facility or through an outpatient program. During detox, medications are given to help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and ensure safety during the withdrawal process.
For more information on recovery treatment therapies like detox, call Drug Treatment Centers Linden at (908) 329-2159.
Why is Medical Detox Essential?
The relapse rates for addiction are relatively high, even for those who complete a comprehensive drug or alcohol rehab program. For those who attempt to beat an addiction without help, the rate is even higher. This is due in part to the pain and discomfort of withdrawing from the substance, which usually drives the patient right back to the drug just to stop the unpleasant symptoms.
Withdrawal from some substances, like alcohol and prescription sedatives, may cause dangerous or even fatal symptoms. Medical detox helps prevent problems like dangerous shifts in blood pressure and body temperature caused by withdrawing from these substances.
Types of Medical Detox Programs
- Inpatient detox programs are generally the most effective. Inpatient programs provide around-the-clock care and supervision, and many treatment facilities provide alternative therapies that complement the medications for reducing cravings and coping with stress.
- Outpatient programs can be successful for those who have personal motivation to recover and who have support at home and in the community. Outpatient programs enable patients to continue meeting responsibilities at home and at work.
Withdrawal Symptoms and the Medications
Withdrawal symptoms vary by drug type, and not everyone with a drug addiction will experience all of the withdrawal symptoms, which may range from mild to intense.
- Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include tremors, hallucinations, anxiety, nausea, seizures, and dangerous shifts in blood pressure and heart rate. Drugs administered during medical alcohol detox include Paxil to alleviate depression, Neurotonin to address seizures and help restore normal body function, and Chantix to reduce the intensity of alcohol cravings.
- Symptoms of opiate withdrawal may include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, body aches, nausea and vomiting, irritability, agitation, and anxiety. Medications administered during medical opiate detox include Clonidine to decrease anxiety, Methadone to prevent the onset of withdrawal symptoms and reduce the intensity of cravings, and Subutex to shorten the length of time it takes to detox. Opiates include the street drug heroin and prescription opiate painkillers like Fentanyl and OxyContin.
- Symptoms of stimulant withdrawal may include deep depression and intense anxiety, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts. These are particularly intense for those who are withdrawing from methamphetamine. While no medications are approved to treat these symptoms, drugs like Zyban may be administered to reduce the intensity of anxiety and relieve cravings. Stimulants include the street drugs meth and cocaine and the prescription medications Adderall and Dexedrine.
- Symptoms of sedative withdrawal include shaking, sweating, restlessness, and anxiety. Dangerous shifts in blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate are also common with sedative withdrawal, and because there are no medications approved to prevent or treat these symptoms, withdrawal is a tapering off process that prevents the onset of withdrawal symptoms. Sedatives include prescription benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium.
Addicts can find a place to turn for support and information by calling Drug Treatment Centers Linden at (908) 329-2159.
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