Drug Detoxing Explained
When an individual is used to abusing drugs and alcohol over an extended period, the body becomes dependent on the substance. This makes it hard for the individual to stop using the particular drug or alcohol. This dependence is commonly referred to as drug addiction. When a family member or friend reaches this stage, you will need to check him or her into a drug rehab center for professional help. Keep in mind that addiction is a chronic disease.
Alcoholism and drug abuse are some of the main menaces in society. They not only affect the user but also those around him or her. That is why it is important to get help from a drug rehabilitation clinic as early as possible. The journey towards sobriety is gradual and requires full commitment. That is why the professionals in rehab centers follow a couple of steps once the affected individual checks in. Besides the initial assessment to determine the substance an individual is addicted to, the centers also facilitate the detoxification process.
What does detoxification entail?
Detoxification is a process that involves eliminating the drug or alcohol substances from the body and is the first step in drug addiction recovery. The process stems from the realization that getting an addict to abstain from drugs and alcohol will not be enough to help him or her achieve full recovery. Withdrawal from drugs is the toughest stage of recovery for the affected individuals because they have to abstain from using a substance that on which they were dependent. It requires specialized care to prevent the patient from relapsing. Those who are severely affected have to remain under the supervision of the professionals in an addiction treatment facility.
The first phase of detoxing
Addiction is both physiological and physical. As such, the doctors and other professionals in treatment centers have to target both aspects in order to provide the necessary care. The detoxification stage is crucial to every patient regardless of whether they are struggling with alcoholism or hard drugs. Each treatment, however, has to be tailored to the specific needs of the patient. It is during this stage that patients experience withdrawal symptoms with some people experiencing more severe symptoms than others do.Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:
These withdrawal symptoms make the patients uncomfortable, which requires drug rehab centers to provide both medical and psychiatric care to their patients. When patients experience withdrawal symptoms, they are bound to display erratic behaviors. This implies that some patients may display:
- Symptoms of psychosis
- Become a threat to themselves
- Medical illnesses
Factors that affect withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms are dependent on the type of substance a patient is addicted to. Moreover, the period of displaying withdrawal symptoms varies from one patient to the next. The period is affected by factors like:
The length of addiction – a patient who has been using drugs or alcohol frequently may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms compared to an individual that has been using the substances at intervals.
The medication that is given during detoxification – persistent use of drugs and alcohol results to more tolerance. This requires the physicians to administer stronger medications to achieve the desired outcomes. This may cause severe withdrawal symptoms.
The combination of drugs abused – some people may seek the help of rehab centers to overcome an alcoholism that is combined with other drugs use. A combination of drugs, including alcohol may result in nastier withdrawal symptoms.
Co-occurring mental illness – in some cases, a drug addict may also have a co-occurring mental disorder. That is why dual diagnosis is necessary for all the patients in a rehab facility. The mental disorders may include anxiety or depression, which tends to be elevated because of withdrawal. This causes the patient to experience different kinds of discomforts.
The half-life of the drug – if a drug is long acting, the withdrawal symptoms may take a while to be displayed. However, if it is short-acting, the withdrawal symptoms tend to come sooner.
Methods of drug detoxification
There are different methods of drug detoxification, and they are all dependent on the type of substance a patient has been abusing. For instance, the method used to manage alcoholism will differ from that of other drugs.Some of the most common methods of detoxification include:
Cold-turkey detoxification – this method includes ceasing the use of drugs and alcohol under medical supervision to help the patient in case of an emergency. No medicines are used.
Short-term medicated detox – this method includes the use of a short-term medication plan to help patients that have stopped using all drugs and alcohol. It helps them manage the withdrawal symptoms.
Long-term medicated detoxification – this method is mainly applied to patients who have been abusing opioids or alcohol. They are given a long-term medication plan to help them go through withdrawal safely.
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