Detox Facilities

Detox Facilities

Should patients seek support for a detox process?

Substance abuse involves many changes in a person’s life. It affects an individual’s behavior, emotional state, way of thinking, and even their body and brain. Drugs and alcohol become a part of the individual’s daily life and begin to have more and more consequences for their future, health, and relationships. When a person decides to pursue rehabilitation, they often need to start the process by getting clean and undergoing a detox process. Something that many wonder about is whether a patient should seek professional support and go to detox facilities or whether they should simply try to get clean and sober on their own. Let’s take a look.

Most drug and alcohol addictions require the patient to do a detoxification process to start recovery. The definition of the detoxification process is as follows – it is a stage in rehabilitation meant to remove all traces of drugs and alcohol from the body. This is the stage associated with the famous withdrawal syndrome, which may occur depending on what the person was using.

The intensity and severity of the detoxification process may vary depending on a variety of factors. It can depend on the individual’s metabolism, the substance they were using, the dosage of the substance, the time period during which the substance was used, the presence or absence of other addictions, and the medical conditions of the individual.

Detoxification may be unpleasant or painful, but it is generally safe. However, some substances and addictions are associated with a higher severity and can be potentially deadly. Detoxing at home or away from medical care can be dangerous and even lethal in some cases.

In order to understand the detoxification process, it’s important to understand withdrawal syndrome, which becomes the main problem at this stage. Withdrawal syndrome is the body’s response to having the traces of the substance removed.

When a person consumes a substance regularly, it becomes a part of their metabolism. Their body gets used to having some amount of the substance present and might even integrate it into daily processes. Some drugs change the functioning of the brain, making the brain accustomed to the substance. When the substance is removed, the body shows symptoms of withdrawal.

The symptoms of withdrawal may vary significantly depending on the substance.  The symptoms might appear a couple of hours after the substance is not being used or, more commonly, during the first 24 hours after the last dose.

Withdrawal syndrome may have varying symptoms, depending on the substance. It can appear as:

  • Depression (varying from mild to extreme)
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Cramping
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulties concentrating, paying attention
  • Restlessness
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Trouble breathing
  • Shaking
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

As appears clear, some symptoms are more bearable than others, while some of the symptoms can be lethal without medical attention. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe.

When the person arrives for detoxification, they can be given medication to ease the process and reduce the risk of severe symptoms. Prior to the treatment, the person is assessed and may be prescribed pharmaceutical assistance. This is not done for all types of addiction. Some common addictions that may require pharmaceutical assistance include heroin addiction, opiate addiction, and alcohol addiction.

The medications used for detoxification include methadone, buprenorphine, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates. Let’s take a look at what each of these does.

Methadone is used to reduce symptoms of heroin and opiate withdrawal. People are given methadone to replace these drugs in the system. Some people use methadone during detox and others continue using it for a long period of time. Methadone can also be addictive. The goal of methadone is to reduce drug dosage over time.

Buprenorphine is used to treat opiod and heroin addictions. It is used mor than methadone, because unlike that medication, it doesn’t cause a high and has a less significant risk for abuse or addiction. The goal of buprenorphine is also to reduce drug dosage over time. Buprenorphine may also be taken over a long period of time by some patients.

Benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety drugs. They are used to reduce the likelihood of seizures, help relieve anxiety and depression, and reduce symptom severity. Benzodiazepines are usually offered during alcohol detox.

Finally, there are barbiturates, which are sedatives. They are used to reduce anxiety, irritability, and the risk of seizures. Barbiturates also have a risk of abuse.

The withdrawal process can be risky and affect the person’s health. Even if the symptoms are not deadly, they can be strong enough to lead the person to seek another drug dose for relief.

The withdrawal process can be risky and affect the person’s health. Even if the symptoms are not deadly, they can be strong enough to lead the person to seek another drug dose for relief.

The person who attempts to detox at home is at risk for several reasons. Firstly, they don’t have available medical help in case something goes wrong or if symptoms become serious. Secondly, people might be affected by depression or hallucinations that can limit their ability to stick with the recovery process. Thirdly, people are more likely to seek drugs if they experience discomfort for relief. If the person is at home, they are more likely to be able to find the drugs or alcohol. Next, the person who is doing detox at home will not have access to medication that can relieve their symptoms. Finally, some people choose to use restraints or have people restrain them or limit them during home detox. This can lead to injuries or negative consequences for the patient’s health.

While for some people the withdrawal process can be less severe, it’s best to seek professional detox facilities that have doctors, medications, and can offer help in case something goes wrong.

After getting through the detox process, the person can enter the next stages of rehabilitation and continue the path to recovery. It’s very important to get through detoxification successfully and move forward. Doing the process in professional facilities can help the person come through without a severe impact on their health.