Addiction is a chronic disease, and with long-term use of drugs or alcohol, comes chemical dependency. Medical detoxification is a process that helps an addicted person to separate from the substance in a medically supervised and safe environment.

Reactions to substances are different, but many drugs and alcohol produce withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are extremely painful, especially when the patient quits “cold turkey” meaning suddenly without tapering down.

Medical detoxification provides a safe environment to go through these withdrawal symptoms. Typically medical detox gives you the opportunity to receive medication to relieve some of the symptoms associated with the process. This can make an uncomfortable ordeal safer and easier than if you were to try to attempt detoxification on your own.

For those struggling with a moderate to severe addiction, inpatient treatment along with medical supervised detoxification is often recommended. Whether you are struggling with an addiction yourself, or you have a loved one struggling with addiction, you probably have a lot of questions.

What is Withdrawal?

If you have used drugs or alcohol for a long period of time, your body will become dependent on the substances to survive. This means that when the substance is removed or decreased in the system, physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms may occur.

There are many different symptoms that you may experience during your body’s detoxification. These symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Shaking
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating

Although going through medically-supervised and assisted detoxification won’t help you to avoid all of these symptoms, it can ease some of them, and allow you to feel more comfortable.

Increasing the Chances of Long Term Sobriety

When individuals attempt to detox on their own, without professional assistance, it can make sobriety much more difficult to achieve. This is why the process of detoxification itself should be performed as a precursor to inpatient treatment.

Overall, going through a stable early phase of abstinence from substances increases the chances of long term sobriety. By avoiding going through this on your own, and avoiding some of the painful withdrawal symptoms, you also decrease your chances of relapse.

How Long is the Process?

The duration a patient stays in detox varies according to the degree of addiction and the substance of abuse. Certain substances, including benzodiazepines (prescription anti-anxiety drugs) and alcohol, can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. By going to a medical treatment facility you can avoid these painful symptoms, and also help to prevent fatal overdose.

Other substances might lead to symptoms that are quite uncomfortable, but not fatal. Regardless, each substance requires a different length of detoxification. This may range anywhere from five to 10 days (or more) while withdrawal symptoms can last up to two weeks (or more). This will vary on the person undergoing the treatment.

Detoxification and Addiction

Although medical detox does not specifically treat addiction, it does help you cleanse your body and get ready for a treatment program. Because detoxification can relieve acute symptoms associated with withdrawal, it makes it easier to get through the initial sobriety period, until it is easier to avoid giving in to cravings.

What is important to note is that any form of facility alone does not address the root cause of addiction. You will not learn what you need to do in order to maintain your sobriety in a four day detox-setting. Instead, it sets the stage for what you will need to do in the future, in order to go to therapy and further treatment.

You will be able to reach your long-term goals by starting with medical detox at the beginning of your treatment. Remember, detox alone does little to change addictive behaviors. It is the efforts and practices that you follow detoxification with that truly determine your likelihood of success.

An At-Home Versus Medically Supervised Detox

Obtaining detox assistance from a professional care facility makes the process a lot more comfortable, but also a lot safer. It also makes it possible to initiate the next level in Continuum of Care smoothly. The care you receive during this process is 24 hours per day, and some of the highest levels of treatment you can find. Your medications will be administered by qualified medical professionals, and every need you have will be met. You should feel safe and comfortable during the entire process.

Detox at home is dangerous and should not be attempted. Although there are outpatient detox programs, these are not the same as at-home methods.  Outpatient detoxification programs are shorter and less intensive than standard inpatient techniques.

Outpatient Medical Detoxification

Outpatient detoxification is recommended only for those with a mild to moderate addiction, and only when inpatient facilities are not possible. Most people who choose an outpatient approach do so because it is more convenient, and they cannot stray from their daily responsibilities. Although it has been shown to be safe and effective for selected patients, inpatient detox is more successful and recommended when possible.

Contact Find Addiction Rehabs to learn more about finding a detox program that fits your needs, our experienced team is ready and able to help you find the best programs across the country, no matter your history of substance use.