Learning the answer to what is medical detoxification is only the first step in getting addiction treatment. Detox is designed to remove chemical remnants of drugs from the human body. Afterward, patients are ready for a rehab program as they start their recovery.
What Is Detoxification?
Detox is a safe way for people to withdraw from drugs or alcohol. When someone uses drugs, their body develops a physical dependence over time. The body and mind think that they need drugs to feel normal. When someone suddenly quits using, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
Some withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous. At the very least, withdrawal is uncomfortable. Because of this, it is important to seek medical care during detox. Addiction specialists can help to manage symptoms and prevent dangerous complications.
Inpatient Versus Outpatient Treatment
Detox can theoretically be done alone, but this is not a safe option. A detox center can help manage symptoms. Also, inpatient centers prevent individuals from relapsing during their treatment. At an inpatient center, the patient is constantly monitored so that they cannot access drugs.
While inpatient detox is ideal, there are outpatient programs as well. In an outpatient program, patients come to the center for a few hours a day. This allows them to get medical supervision while still carrying on with their normal life. In general, inpatient detox is a better option for most drug and alcohol users.
What Is Medical Detoxification Used For?
Detox programs exist for any addiction. Individuals can detox if they have used drugs like cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, painkillers, barbiturates, and ecstasy. Detox is also available for individuals who are addicted to alcohol and need help getting sober.
The right detox center depends on many factors. The patient’s age, history of abuse, co-existing disorders, and the type of drug used can influence treatment. Also, patients may want to find a treatment center that is close to their home. Everyone’s addiction is unique, so the addiction treatment they choose should be just as unique.
How Long Is Detox?
Now that the answer to what is medical detoxification is clear, the next common question is how long it will take. For most people, detox takes about a week to complete. Someone with a long-term addiction or more withdrawal symptoms may need several weeks to detoxify their body completely. After detox, patients often go to a rehab center for several weeks or months of additional treatment.
What Happens During Detox?
The initial step in the medical detox program is the intake process. During this process, the patient discusses their medical history, talks about drugs used, and prepares to enter the facility. A doctor or addiction specialist will perform a physical exam to check the patient’s current health.
Once the patient is in the facility, they have 24-hour access to medical care. Addiction specialists are always available to help manage symptoms and provide support. Depending on the program, there may also be other options like yoga or meditation to help the patient through detox.
Many people experience strong emotions during detox. Drugs and alcohol can numb the emotions. Some people use drugs to self-medicate for mental disorders. When the drugs are removed, it can leave the patient feeling overwhelmed and emotional. Therapists and support are provided to help patients handle these strong emotions.
What Does Medical Detoxification Only Mean?
Detox-only programs focus entirely on the detox process. Some patients have a therapist or a support group that can help with rehab. Other patients only have the time for a one-week stay in detox. Whatever the case, these programs offer a vital alternative.
At a detox only program, the patient only goes through detox. They get the medical support they need to be safe and off of drugs. Patients can sign up for other programs later, but it is important to get medical support during the detox process.
When Do Withdrawal Symptoms Peak?
Withdrawal symptoms will peak at different times, depending on the types of drugs used. What is the medical detoxification timeline for normal drug withdrawal for common drugs?
- Prescription Opiates: Symptoms start about 8 to 12 hours after the last dose, peaking in about 12 to 48 hours. In general, these symptoms will last 5 to 10 days.
- Heroin: Withdrawal starts 12 hours after the last dose. Symptoms typically peak at about 24 to 48 hours. Some symptoms can last for a week to several months.
- Cocaine: Withdrawal symptoms begin within the first few hours. They peak after a few days. These symptoms may last for just a week or up to 10 weeks.
- Benzodiazepines: Withdrawal symptoms typically start about one to four days after the last usage. They peak during the first two weeks. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms may last for several months.
- Alcohol: Patients typically develop symptoms a few hours after their last dose. These symptoms peak after 24 to 72 hours and last for about a week. In some cases, symptoms may last for a few weeks.
What Makes a Detox Center the Right One?
Every person is different, so they need detox services that match their needs. Some treatment centers offer options like:
- 24-hour supervision
- Medical support
- Addiction counseling
- Evidence-based practice
- A holistic approach to treating addiction
No one deserves to live with the pain of addiction. Once someone realizes that they need help, the next step is to find a treatment center that can detox. To answer the question, what is medical detoxification, and to begin your journey toward a healthy sober recovery, call Serenity House Detox & Recovery at 866.294.5306 help decide when to begin.