What Is Medical Drug Detox?

The goal of medical drug detox is to provide you with a wide variety of medical services from nurses and doctors who are trained to help addicts cope with any withdrawal symptoms that arise when they give up drugs and alcohol. Unless you receive this medical care, you might have a difficult time overcoming your substance abuse. This is because withdrawal symptoms often tend to be dangerous, unpleasant, uncomfortable, and sometimes life-threatening.

When you enroll for medical drug detox, you will be able to withdraw from alcohol and drugs in relative safety and comfort. The round the clock nursing care provided in these programs can also ensure that you are safe. Further, you may receive certain medications to reduce some of the more severe of your withdrawal symptoms. In the process, all these services will decrease most of the dangers that arise when you are in the first stage of addiction recovery.

Who Needs Medical Detox?

Not everyone who needs to go for drug rehab will require medical drug detox services. However, if you meet any of the criteria listed below, this form of detox might be ideal for you:

  • You have been abusing drugs like heroin, prescription pain relief medications, alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, inhalants, marijuana, and club drugs
  • You have developed physical addiction to a drug or to alcohol
  • You would risk your health if you tried withdrawing without ongoing medical supervision
  • You would typically experience great pain and discomfort if you tried to withdraw without medical assistance

Types of Detox

Even so, it is essential that you remember that medical drug detox is not the only type of detoxification available. Today, there are 4 main ways in which you can undergo detox while trying to overcome your substance use disorder. Each of these types of detox comes with its own benefits and drawbacks as you will see below:

a) Cold Turkey Detox

Cold turkey detox is also known as natural detox. In this type of detox, you will go through withdrawal without receive any medical assistance, care, or supervision. If you attempt cold turkey detox, you will most likely do so at home.

This type of drug detox comes with the smallest chance of helping you break through the different stages of withdrawal - especially the initial ones that tend to be acute. If you have a substance use disorder, there is also a high risk that you will start taking drugs again before your recovery efforts prove successful.

In the same way, cold turkey detox comes with the risk of causing you to develop adverse withdrawal symptoms, some of which might be dangerous or even life-threatening. This is particularly true if you were abusing drugs like alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines.

For these drugs, you may suffer some severe symptoms of withdrawal like coma, respiratory or cardiac arrest, seizures, and even death. This is why you should never try cold turkey detox if you are addicted to these substances.

b) Special Drug Detox

The second option involves specialized detoxification. Here, you will check into a center that will provide you with inpatient addiction treatment for about 2 weeks or longer. You will receive initial evaluation to determine the extent of your addiction and develop a personalized treatment plan.

This type of detox will also be tailored to you, which means that you might be treated for a couple of days or weeks depending on your addiction. Many facilities will also provide long term addiction treatment either in-house or in partnership with another addiction rehabilitation center.

c) Medical Detox

In a medical drug detox, you will receive some services that are similar to what you would get in specialized detoxification centers. However, the focus would be on the medical aspects of your ongoing recovery.

These programs often have doctors and nurses on site. They also provide medical supervision around the clock, as well as many other aspects of treatment that are focused on medicine.

Through medical drug detox, you may also receive a tapering program - where you will step down your substance use in a gradual way. This is designed to maintain your medical safety while also reducing your withdrawal symptoms.

You might find that medical detox is the best option if you have a severe substance use disorder, you have relapsed several times, and you experience severe withdrawal. This type of program can also address the Kindling Effect - where you try to withdraw but relapse and end up experiencing more severe withdrawal the next time you try to quit drugs or alcohol.

d) Rapid Detox

The last option is known as rapid detox. This detox procedure is also medically focused and you will experience most of your withdrawal symptoms when you are unconscious. Through rapid detox, you will be put in a medically-induced coma before the detox center administers different drugs to hasten and facility acute withdrawal.

Through rapid detox, you will be spared from experiencing the worst of your withdrawal symptoms. After that, you will start on treatment without the pain and discomfort of a protracted withdrawal.

At the moment, rapid detox is the newest form of drug detox available on the medical market. As such, it might not be easy for you to find data on its success rates. If you are considering rapid detox, you should talk to your doctor.

What to Expect in Detox

But what should you expect when you go for medical drug detox? Essentially, you will work with physicians and nurses who will oversee the entire process. These medical professionals will use your current health state, medical history, history of substance abuse, and long term goals to create a highly customized detoxification process. By so doing, they can minimize or completely eliminate most of the adverse withdrawal side effects that arise when you stop abusing your favorite substances.

Most typical medical drug detox will also involve a drug regimen that helps you taper off the substances that you were abusing in the most comfortable way possible. Additionally, they will use medical treatments that will reduce your substance abuse, wean off your drug taking, and provide you with physical stability even as you experience withdrawal symptoms. It is for these reasons that medical drug detox is considered to be the most effective type of detoxification for most addicts.

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