What is Detox?

Detoxification (detox) is the process by which the body rids itself of a single or several toxins. The process of detoxification occurs throughout the body’s organs, such as the kidneys, liver, lungs, lymphatic system, and bloodstream. The release of these toxins can cause several withdrawal symptoms; sometimes, these are life-threatening or severally uncomfortable. Additionally, detox can also be associated with conditions such as:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Anger 
  • Paranoia 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Seizures
  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Pulmonary Diseases

to name just a few.

Once the substance(s) leave the body, which can happen within days or weeks, the person can be left with psychological cravings for the drug(s). There are three crucial components to supervised detoxification from substances

  • Evaluation
  • Stabilization
  • Fostering patient readiness to enter substance abuse treatment

A variety of avenues exist through which a person may experience detox:

  1. In the privacy of his/her/their home, unsupervised
  2. Detox in the privacy of his/her/their own home under the supervision of medical staff
  3. Within emergency hospital care
  4. Acute care clinics
  5. Detox only facilities
  6. Residential Detox facilities with continuing recovery treatment services 

Detoxification from substances can be dangerous, especially drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. As withdrawal can become fatal, generally, one should not attempt detox alone without medical supervision or support. Without the proper medical attention to a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, one can detox at home and still be subject to all the physiological, psychological, mental, emotional, and intellectual aftereffects of drugs and alcohol. These aftereffects leave a person newly detoxed vulnerable to relapse and closer to overdosing. It should be remembered that persons going through detoxification are experiencing a personal and medical crisis. Detox is not to be taken lightly. Though it is outside the scope of this blog to discuss in full, repeated detoxes have a profound impact on the brain and the severity of cravings.

Since 1958, when the American Medical Association designated alcoholism as a medical condition (now expanded to include other drugs), many advances in treatment have been made. In a quality, licensed detox facility, a person will not be subjected to a padded cell to sweat it out or tied to a bed, as done decades ago.

What is Residential Medical Supervised Detoxification?

Medical detox aims to minimize the physical harm and psychological trauma substance addiction causes. As one detoxes from drugs and/or alcohol, a range of symptoms, some listed above, can occur. Sadly, since the late 1950s, more people have been addicted to multiple drugs and generally suffer from co-occurring mental health conditions, some brought on by the use of drugs; other mental health conditions are the underlying cause of addiction. This reality complicates the detoxification process and necessitates the need for trained medical staff: doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, trained addiction social workers, etc., to participate in a client’s detoxification treatment plan.

As stated above, the purpose of medically supervised detoxification is to minimize the harm of substances as the toxins are released from the body and brain. But that is not the sole purpose of the detox process. The second part of the detoxification process prepares the client to proceed with treatment. Many people make the mistake of thinking that detox is drug abuse treatment. It is NOT because of this misunderstanding, people who go through detox and do not go on to treatment relapse with greater regularity than those who go forward to comprehensive treatment programs, including a carefully developed after-care plan. Sometimes this includes living in a supervised halfway house.

It should be clear by now that detoxification may require a multitude of medications (depending upon one’s mental health, physical health, and state of addiction), as well as regular comprehensive evaluations during the detoxification process.

Residential detoxification facilities provide 24/7 supervision, observation, and support for clients. While some “residential detox facilities” help some people detox without medical care, they are based on a social model. They generally do not have medical staff onsite. If you or your loved one chooses this type of detox facility, you should ensure the facility has linkage to medical care in case of emergencies. 

The psychological and physical impact of withdrawal must be carefully managed to prepare a client to proceed with drug/alcohol treatment. To do this, it is oftentimes better to be away from home, friends, work, or school obligations which can “trigger” a person to use again during the detox process. These triggers can lead to disastrous results, such as relapse with a greater danger of overdosing. Residential Medical Detox facilities, such as Coastal Detox, provide the medical supervision required while removing the client from his/her/their environment, and possible triggers.

Additionally, one size fits all detox is illogical. A comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of a client’s condition is needed to help the person detox effectively and prepare him/her/them to enter drug/alcohol addiction treatment. The stress exerted on a person’s body and mind during detox can be challenging to manage alone. That is why residential medical detox facilities provide the optimum care. The presence of caring medical, psychological, and caring, experienced staff can ensure that a person moving through the detox process does so successfully.

“[T]he domain of detoxification refers not only to the reduction of the physiological and psychological features of withdrawal syndromes but also to the process of interrupting the momentum of compulsive use in persons diagnosed with substance dependence… 

All clinicians who assess and treat patients should be able to obtain and interpret information regarding the needs of these persons, and all should be knowledgeable about the biomedical and psychosocial dimensions of alcohol and illicit drug dependence.

Requisite skills and knowledge base include the following:

  • Understanding how to interpret the signs and symptoms of alcohol and other drug intoxication and withdrawal
  • Understanding the appropriate treatment and monitoring of these conditions
  • The ability to facilitate the individual’s entry into treatment.”

Residential medical detox facilities should have licensed, certified and/or registered clinicians who provide this 24/7 care. Coastal Detox offers this type of residential detox facility. Still, should you or your loved one be unable to enter residential medical detox at our facility, our staff can develop a well-managed, supervised detox treatment program that prepares you or your loved one to move forward into addiction treatment. Remember, withdrawing from drugs and alcohol does not address all the issues that arise from the disease of addiction. 

Call now and speak with our trained staff to take control of your life and bring hope back.