Medical detox is the pharmacological component of drug and alcohol rehabilitation, usually the first and necessary step in the addiction treatment process by which an individual’s physical withdrawal symptoms are safely managed by an on-site physician and a medical team. Clients are placed under round-the-clock continual medical supervision to safeguard against potentially dangerous health risks that would require immediate medical intervention.
The purpose of medical detoxification is to make the rehabilitative experience as safe and comfortable as possible. The cessation of illicit drug use and alcohol consumption often results in painful physiological withdrawal symptoms, which would quickly lead to relapse without the aid and support of a compassionate, skilled medical team. To mitigate cravings and symptoms of withdrawal, a physician or registered nurse would safely dispense medication. If a patient is not responding to the medication, the medical team will adjust the dosage as needed or find a medically sound alternative. In addition to medically clearing the patient’s body of chemical toxins, the on-site clinicians will also medically manage co-occurring mental and/or emotional disorders.
Detoxification requires a personalized approach, as the recovery journey is different for each person. A number of factors determine the length of medical detoxification, and a team of clinicians must evaluate clients based on certain criteria such as the following:
There is no set duration for the detoxification process. It ends when the individual is physically comfortable and safe enough to proceed to the next step of recovery without any chemical dependence.
It’s required if withdrawal symptoms are life-threatening or if they cause extreme physical discomfort and pain. If the drug does not cause extreme physical danger or discomfort, it may cause psychological cravings which require medicated-assisted treatment. Clinicians often recommend or require medical detox if their clients have used the following drugs:
Clients receive compassionate and emotional support while they learn relapse prevention strategies within our luxurious residential settings.
Withdrawal symptoms vary widely, depending on the drug(s) of choice and severity of physiological dependence. Due to the dangers of self-detoxification (i.e., quitting “cold turkey”), it is vitally important to seek help from medical experts who will safely monitor the patient and administer medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. At New Method Wellness, non-narcotic medications are used to help with the detoxification process. The list below describes some of the most common symptoms associated with each type of drug withdrawal:
Diarrhea, depression, anxiety, cravings, nausea, agitation, restlessness, muscle cramping, dilated pupils, watery eyes, sweating, insomnia, tremors
Seizures, anxiety, tremors, disorientation, headaches, insomnia, irritability, shakiness, loss of appetite, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, hallucinations
Inability to concentrate, chills, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, anhedonia, depression, muscle aches, suicidal ideations, cravings, nightmares, slower thinking
Dissatisfaction, irritability, exhaustion, nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, lethargy, depression, suicidal ideation, changes in appetite, pale skin
Panic attacks, sleep disturbance, hallucinations, memory loss, dry retching, suicidal ideation, stiffness, seizures, psychosis, palpitations, headaches
New Method Wellness utilizes non-narcotic synthetic methods to assist individuals in overcoming their cravings for alcohol and drugs. While methadone is part of the standard treatment program in most drug rehabilitation centers, we do not use it because of the risks involved with its highly addictive pharmacological properties. Instead of methadone, we use Suboxone and Ativan.
Ativan belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, more commonly referred to as “benzos.” Incidentally, benzodiazepine abuse is common among patients who are treated for anxiety and other co-occurring disorders in association with substance abuse. During medical detoxification, Ativan may be used briefly to safely detox our alcohol and benzo dependent clients.
Suboxone is the trade name for buprenorphine and naloxone. You might be familiar with some brand names such as Bunavail, Suboxone and Zubsolv. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002, Suboxone is available in the form of a tablet and dissolvable film. The weak euphoric effects of Suboxone make it ideal for opioid treatment because it has a low risk of overdose. Suboxone, if required, may be used briefly only during the medical detox phase.