Detox, also known as detoxification, is the first stage in the recovery process for most drug and alcohol addictions. The body is cleansed of the substances polluting it. One of the biggest obstacles to recovery is fear of the withdrawal process. As a result, many drug and alcohol addicts will continue their addictive behavior long after quitting, simply to avoid the detox process and painful symptoms that accompany the withdrawal. Some even try to detox from their addictions at home, suffering through days of discomfort and violent withdrawal only to go back to abusing drugs and alcohol to relieve the pain. This is where Medication-Assisted Treatments are necessary.
What Is Medical-assisted Treatment?
Medical-assisted treatment or medical detox is when a treatment center is staffed with doctors and nurses trained in helping patients cope with the withdrawal symptoms of early drug or alcohol abstinence. Without medical care, these withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, dangerous, and even life-threatening.
During detox, the patient stops using the substance or substances to which they’re addicted completely. This results in their body experiencing withdrawal, a painful, uncomfortable, and often terrifying series of symptoms ranging from cravings to hallucinations. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms such as seizures can even cause death, meaning that proper medical supervision, such as at a medical detox, is critical. This is especially true for alcohol and opioid detox. During withdrawal, medical intervention is often necessary to keep the patient safe and comfortable. Some of the most common interventions include medication and therapy.
Patients are significantly more likely to complete a supervised medical drug detox than an unsupervised detox. There are several reasons for this, including increased comfort, better safety, having a support system, the love and connection provided by treatment professionals, and increased motivation. In addition, once a patient gets through detox, their eventual likelihood of successfully obtaining sobriety goes up dramatically.
Who Needs Medical-assisted Treatment?
Medical-assisted treatment is needed when someone abuses alcohol, heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, pills, or other addictive substances. For example, when someone consumes large amounts of alcohol daily, they can become dependent on it. This is the same with heroin and opiate pain medications, which also may require the same detox. Other pills such as benzodiazepines, known as benzos (Valium, Xanax, etc.), barbiturates or barbs, Soma and Ultram, cause withdrawal symptoms and may require detoxification.
But not every person needs medical-assisted treatment. Instead, people who need this type of detox are those who:
- Have a physical addiction to certain drugs:
- Prescription pain pill
- Benzodiazepines (Benzos)
- Barbiturates (Barbs)
- Others depending on the situation and diagnosis
- Would experience great discomfort withdrawing without assistance
- Would risk their health withdrawing without medical supervision
How Long Does Medical-Assisted Treatment Take?
There is no set time for medical-assisted detox. It could be from a few days up to 2 weeks, depending on the situation and the severity.
Is Medical-assisted Treatment Enough?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) states, “A Medical detoxification safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. However, medical detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and does little to change long-term drug use. Although detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective drug addiction treatment.”
Although patients will often leave a medical detox facility feeling better than they have in years, those that do not transition from detox to continuing addiction treatment are almost certain to relapse.
Aria Can Help Turn Your Life Around
There are many medical-assisted treatment centers throughout the country, such as, Addiction Recovery Institute of America, which is a comfortable and evidence-based drug and alcohol detox in West Palm Beach, Florida. ARIA can free you or your loved one from the physical symptoms of addiction and start you on the path to recovery. They offer detox from drugs and alcohol on a medical basis so that you can safely resume the life you once lived, the life you thought was lost forever. Addicts emerge from ARIA healthy, sane, and prepared for a lifetime of recovery. Please contact them today if you or someone you love is suffering the pain of addiction.