Why Supervised Medical Detox is Important

medical detox
It’s very important that if you are going to detox, you do it in a medically supervised environment. Read on to learn why supervised medical detox is important.

Are you ready to seek help for your drug or alcohol addiction? Have you tried quitting on your own without success?

You’re not alone. Thousands of Americans suffer from substance use disorders every year. When left untreated, these disorders can progress into serious illnesses- and death can absolutely be one of the associated consequences.

Supervised medical detox is the first step towards a sustainable recovery. Let’s get into what you need to know.

What Is Supervised Medical Detox?

Medical detox provides a safe and supportive place for individuals struggling with intoxication or acute withdrawal.

Detox allows the body to eliminate the toxins associated with drugs and alcohol. The individual stabilizes their mental and physical health during this process.

Withdrawal can be incredibly distressing. Furthermore, depending on the type of substance used, withdrawal can be fatal.

That’s why supervised detox is so essential. Many people attempt to quit cold-turkey (on their own). However, at the first sign of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, they relapse.

Who Needs Detox?

It can be challenging to determine whether you or a loved one suffers from addiction. Many times, it’s easy to rationalize or even deny concerning behavior. Many people repeatedly tell themselves, I can stop if I really wanted to.

Detox is for those people who do not or cannot stop despite needing to stop. At this stage, the individual has become physically and/or emotionally dependent on the substance.

Drug and Alcohol Dependency

If you are dependent on drugs or alcohol, you have an increased tolerance to those substances. In other words, you need to take more to achieve your desired effect. The body begins to “depend” on them to function.

Dependency means that you will experience withdrawal symptoms once reducing or abstaining from use. These withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the substance. However, they can include:

  • Intensified cravings
  • Severe emotional changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Psychosis (hallucinations and delusions)
  • Changes in appetite
  • Muscle pain
  • Irritable bowel issues
  • Seizures
  • Exacerbated mental health symptoms

These withdrawal symptoms can be alarming. Detox centers provide safe and supportive environments to increase your comfort during this time.

Coming Back From A Relapse

Unfortunately, relapse can be a standard part of recovery. Many people receive treatment, do well, and then ‘fall off the wagon.’

Detox can provide stabilization during this challenging time. You have access to a safe, physical environment and emotional care. You can also take the time to assess what went wrong before your relapse.

Mental Health Concerns

Many people struggle with both addiction and other mental health issues. Both conditions can be debilitating.

If you are suicidal or struggle with self-harm, detoxing alone can be very dangerous. A medical detox can evaluate your safety appropriately. They can also refer you to additional, medical care if needed.

What Happens During Detox?

When you arrive at detox, you’ll complete intake paperwork. This process may feel like visiting a normal doctor. A healthcare professional will take your vitals and provide you with a drug test.

This information helps establish your ‘baseline’ health. You’ll be screened for other disorders. You’ll also answer many questions about your substance use history.

Many people arrive at detox while under the influence. That’s normal, and it’s not something to be ashamed over. However, it’s important to be completely honest during the intake about your drug use and frequency.

Detox Experience

It is impossible to predict one’s withdrawal symptoms. They may range from mildly unpleasant to extremely distressing.

The severity will depend on numerous factors including your:

  • history of substance alcohol use
  • co-occurring mental illnesses
  • physical health
  • history of past detox episodes
  • longevity and frequency of substance use

Furthermore, these factors determine the length of your detox. Timelines vary depending on the individual and the substances used. However, most detox processes last between a few days to about two weeks.

Benefits of Medical Detox

The initial days of sobriety can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. You may be agitated or very sleepy. You may have extremely high cravings and wish you could just leave.

The detox staff members know exactly how to handle these concerns. They’re trained in providing acute addiction care. They know how to support you during this difficult transition.

Physical Benefits

As mentioned, withdrawal symptoms can be intense. This discomfort is often triggering to newly sober individuals.

Detox physicians can provide medication that reduces or eliminates physical symptoms. These medications can ease the withdrawal pain.

Emotional Benefits

Detox facilities have on-site clinicians available 24/7. They provide constant supervision and monitoring for clients.

You can typically request counseling or therapy services while in detox. In these sessions, you can discuss your fears, concerns, and other emotions. The staff can also usually facilitate conversations with family members for you.

Most detox centers also provide on-site group counseling. In these groups, you may learn about:

  • relapse prevention
  • healthy living skills
  • self-esteem and self-worth
  • healthy relationships
  • mental health management

Aftercare Benefits

Detox alone is not sufficient treatment. It is the stepping stone to treatment. In detox, you receive initial stabilization.

However, most people need long-term aftercare to sustain their recovery. This may include residential treatment. It may also include support groups, therapies, and living in a sober environment.

Detox provides these referrals. They often also provide direct transportation and facilitation for moving onto the next level of care.

Final Thoughts

Medical detox provides an excellent foundation for long-term recovery. It may be the place that helps save your life.

If you or a loved one is struggling, help is available. Contact us today to speak with a treatment professional. We’re available 24/7!

Article 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.