Drug and alcohol 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 the provider. Clients are placed under round-the-clock supervision to safeguard against potential health risks that would require immediate intervention.
The purpose of drug and alcohol detox is to make the rehabilitative experience as safe and comfortable as possible. The cessation of illicit drug use and alcohol consumption often results in withdrawal symptoms, which would quickly lead to relapse without the aid and support of a compassionate, skilled team of providers. To mitigate cravings and symptoms of withdrawal, a physician or registered nurse would safely prescribe medication. If an individual is not responding to the medication, the provider will adjust the dosage as needed or find a suitable alternative. In addition to clearing the patient’s body of chemical toxins, the provider will also clinically 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 drug and alcohol detox, and a team of clinicians and providers must evaluate each client 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.
Alcohol and Drug Detox are required if withdrawal symptoms are potentially life-threatening or if they cause considerable 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. Providers often recommend or require drug and alcohol 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, appropriate, FDA approved 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 only FDA approved medications 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. While each person is unique, and assessed by the provider individually, two of the more common medications utilized during the alcohol and/or drug detoxification process are Ativan and/or Suboxone.
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 the drug and alcohol detoxification process, 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 drug and alcohol detox phase.