Importance of a Medically Assisted Detox

drug detox hospital

What Is  Detox?

Detox is a process wherein all the drugs and/or alcohol a person has been using is purged from the body. There are several different types of detox which some can take only a few hours whereas others could take days or even weeks. Let the experts at Coastal Detox make one of the hardest decisions an addict has to make less painful and give a real chance for lasting sobriety.

A General Overview of Withdrawal Timelines:

  • Heroin: Withdrawal begins within 12 hours of the last dose, peaks within 24-48 hours, and lasts a week to up to a week (with some symptoms sometimes lasting months), per the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  • Prescription opiates (such as Vicodin, OxyContin, methadone, and morphine): Withdrawal starts in 8-12 hours for most prescription opiates, peaks in 12-48 hours, and lasts 5-10 days usually. Methadone withdrawal begins within 24-48 hours, peaks in the first few days, and lasts 2-4 weeks, per Cambridge Health Alliance.
  • Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan): Withdrawal may begin within 1-4 days, peaking in the first two weeks. In some cases, protracted withdrawal can last months or even years without treatment, per the Comprehensive Handbook of Drug and Alcohol Addiction.
  • Cocaine: Withdrawal starts within hours of the last dose, peaking in a few days and lasting from a week to 10 weeks, per the Australian Government Department of Health.
  • Alcohol: Withdrawal usually begins between eight hours of last drink up to a few days after drinking, peaks within 24-72 hours, and can last a few weeks, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

When you think about medically assisted detox, you need to understand what it will entail. A medically assisted detox program uses medications to help balance your withdrawal symptoms, so you can be more comfortable during the detox process. Medications may not be able to eliminate your withdrawal symptoms, but they will be significantly less severe than if you tried to detox without them.

Any detox program’s aim is to make sure your body no longer depends on the drug or alcohol to function. After that step, it’s important to the facility to make sure you’re no longer being influenced by the drug in your body. Until your body is clean and you can think clearly, you won’t be able to move on to rehabilitation.

What Are The Most Common Drugs Used For Alcohol Detox?

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs that act as safe and effective commonly prescribed detox medications. In fact, benzos are the mainstay of inpatient treatment for alcohol withdrawal syndrome. A study by PMC shows that benzodiazepines can reduce the severity of symptoms and decrease the incidence of seizures and delirium tremens. Benzos relieve alcohol withdrawal symptoms by slowing down the central nervous system. Medications such as Valium and Librium are prescribed during detoxification for their tranquilizing and anticonvulsant effects. Sedation with benzos prevents agitation and will reduce the risk of seizures during detoxification. However, benzodiazepine use must be carefully monitored. These medications for detoxification are used only for the short-term because they themselves have a potential for abuse and the worst thing to happen while seeking treatment is to trade one bad vice for another.

Anticonvulsants

Anticonvulsants are prescribed as detox meds to reduce the complications of withdrawal from alcohol. Carbamazepine has been shown to ameliorate psychological distress, to help reduce anxiety and aggression and decrease alcohol cravings. Doctors have found that patients treated with valproic acid have less severe symptoms during detoxification and fewer seizures.

Adrenergic Medications

Medications such as clonidine and propranolol may be prescribed along with benzodiazepines during medical drug detox for alcohol. These medications treat elevated blood pressure and fast pulse during detoxification. They are sometimes used in patients with less severe symptoms in the outpatient setting when benzodiazepines cannot be prescribed due to a lack of monitoring.

Other Detox Medications

A number of other medications, such as barbiturates, baclofen, and sodium oxybate, are used in medically-assisted alcohol detoxification. Newer medications, such as ketamine, are used to treat severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms but is also highly addictive so is usually only prescribed during inpatient treatment. Dexmedetomidine is a medication that is used during detoxification in an emergency setup situation.

What Are The Most Common Drugs Used For Drug Detox?

Methadone

Methadone is one of the most commonly prescribed heroin detox drugs. It is an opioid agonist that reduces cravings for the drug and relieves withdrawal symptoms in opiate addicts. It does not produce the same high as an opioid drug, but it stays in the body for a longer time and relieves cravings in combination with daily mental health treatment. In addition to its use as an opiate detoxification medication, it is used for long-term maintenance treatment of opioid addiction. However, prolonged use of methadone can lead to dependence, which is why this detox drug is closely monitored through licensed methadone inpatient and outpatient programs.

Buprenorphine (Subutex)

Buprenorphine is one of the best opiate drug detox medications used to shorten the length of the process. This medication can also be used for long-term maintenance. The combined form of buprenorphine with naloxone (Suboxone) helps prevent dependence on a drug or abused substance.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist medication that prevents neurotransmitter stimulation and blocks the euphoric effect of the drug, and thereby, the recovering addict’s ability to get high. This essentially decreases cravings for the drug and helps prevent relapse as part of the long-term outpatient treatment plan for opioid addiction. Naltrexone is a common detox drug that is prescribed to be taken orally daily or three times a week and is available under the brand names Depade and ReVia (pill form) or Vivitrol (injectable form). Naltrexone is prescribed after opioids have been completely flushed out of the system.

Adrenergic Drugs

Clonidine and propranolol are also used as detox drugs for opiates because they suppress the fight-or-flight response and reduce high blood pressure, agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, cramping, and sweating. Other detox drugs may be prescribed to help with specific problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, or insomnia.

Drugs Used for Detox from Stimulants

Suboxone

A gradual taper of stimulant drugs is associated with less severe symptoms. This detox drug is prescribed relief from stimulants that makes the process safe and more bearable. Suboxone is sometimes prescribed when tapering stimulant use.

Antidepressants

Depression related to withdrawal from a stimulant drug can be very severe, especially in recovering addicts with a history of underlying or pre-existing depression. Antidepressants, such as desipramine, may be prescribed as a medicine for detox to help alleviate this symptom.

Sedatives and Tranquilizers

Diazepam is used to manage mild to moderate symptoms during detoxification. Benzodiazepines are common detox drugs prescribed and act as tranquilizers during cocaine and meth detox.

Anticonvulsant Medications

Topamax and Neurontin are useful in the initial stages of stimulant withdrawal to reduce cravings and prevent Adderall crash.

Other Opiate Detox Medications

Muscle relaxants such as baclofen reduce cravings. Provigil is a mild stimulant drug that may be prescribed to manage extreme lethargy and sleepiness during stimulant drug detox. Other medications may be used for specific symptoms such as nausea or headaches.

Stimulants are psychoactive drugs that increase brain activity and elevate mood, awareness, and alertness. Although stimulants like caffeine are widely used, some stimulant drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamines, are highly addictive and illegal. Prescription stimulants, including Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine, are also extensively abused. Recovering addicts may need to undergo medically assisted drug detox for stimulant dependence.

Symptoms during stimulant drug detoxification can include:

  • Jitteriness
  • Anxiety
  • Dehydration
  • Chills
  • Slowed speech
  • Slowed movements
  • Dulled senses
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Impaired memory
  • Unpleasant dreams

medical detox

Is Detox Dangerous?

A medically assisted detox, or one monitored by your healthcare professional, doesn’t have to be dangerous. However, trying to go through detoxification without support can be. For instance, if you stop drinking cold turkey, you could suffer from seizures, problems with your central nervous system, and could even be at risk of death. The same can be said about some drugs, which could result in withdrawal symptoms like shakes, cold sweats, headaches, aches and pains, and others if you don’t stop taking it over time.

What Kinds of Detox Programs Are Available?

Detox is normally done in one of the few ways. The main kinds of detox include:

  • Rapid Detox
  • Medically Assisted Detox
  • Tapering
  • Holistic/Alternative Detox Support

With any of these kinds of detox, the goal is to make sure you don’t suffer any life-threatening conditions during the withdrawal process.

 

Rapid Detox

 

Rapid detox is performed in a hospital or a center like Coastal Detox.. It involved putting a patient under general anesthesia and quickly eliminating drugs from the body. This is the most commonly used detox with opiate addiction. The most severe parts of withdrawal will take place as the patient sleeps.

 

Medically Assisted Detox

 

Medically assisted detox begins with a dose of medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms after a drug or alcohol is stopped. As a patient’s symptoms improve, the medications are tapered and eventually stopped, so they can be free of the withdrawal support that is no longer needed.

 

Tapering

 

Tapering methods of detox are popular for prescription medications and other kinds of drug abuse. With tapering, you slowly reduce the amount of a substance you’re taking over time. By reducing the substance slowly, your body naturally goes through only minor withdrawal symptoms, if any.

 

Holistic/Alternative Detox

 

Holistic or alternative detox methods often rely on tapering along with the use of alternative and holistic therapies to treat the patient’s symptoms. For example, if a patient is suffering from aches and pains, then the patient may be given a massage or go to an acupuncture appointment to release tension. Natural foods, animal-assisted therapies, and other encouraging methods of relaxation may also be used to help patients sleep, eat, and relax better.

Why Is Medically Assisted Detox Important To My Health?

Medically assisted detox is important for your health because you’re able to be monitored by a medical professional through the worst of withdrawal. You can immediately receive treatment for any severe withdrawal symptoms you may have, and with the right program in place, you can be sure that your withdrawal won’t be as painful or uncomfortable as if you did it alone. You’ll also receive support from your medical team, so you don’t have to feel like you’re going through this alone, even in the worst moments.

Medically assisted detoxification is easier on your body. It helps you clear your mind quickly while not having to have anxiety or fear about stopping the use of drugs or alcohol. With medically assisted detox, any complications that arise can be treated, so you can get back to a more comfortable state of mind and start working towards emotional sobriety.

Where Should I Go For My Medically Assisted Detox?

Florida has long been a popular choice for addicts seeking a positive change in the environment. It was labeled the “Recovery Capital of the World,” by the New York Times because of its large population of people recovering from substance abuse in Florida. Many Florida cities possess a large support presence with hundreds of group meetings every week. Most communities in Florida, also have a large number of alcohol and drug treatment centers to choose from, and the state’s tourism economy makes it easy for individuals to find jobs during the recovery.

Drug detox facilities in Florida are known for developing a comprehensive model of recovery known as the “Florida Model” of addiction treatment. The model involves tiered levels of transitional care. Treatment usually begins with supervised detoxification, followed by residential treatment and time in a transitional facility. The model ends with employment at a “recovery job” to help individuals begin a new life free of addiction.

If you’re ready to consider going through a detoxification program, you have choices that you can consider. We’re here to help you make the right decision for your body.

Call us today by dialing 1-877-406-6623 to speak with one of our helpful specialists about the programs available in your area or in an area where you’d like to travel. Whether you’re interested in a medically assisted detox program or want to learn more about how a recovery program can help you or someone you love, our website has more information about a number of therapies and services you can try.

If you are interested in Coastal Detox, call us today at 877-406-6623 to learn more.

References:

https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment

https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-drug-class/information-about-medication-assisted-treatment-mat

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.