What is Medical Detox?
Table of Contents
- What is Medical Detox?
- Why is Medical Detox Necessary for Addiction Treatment?
- Who Should Participate in a Medical Detox Near Me?
- What Does the Detox Process Look Like?
- How Long Does the Detox Process Last?
- What are the Signs of a Good Medical Detox Program?
- What Types of Treatment Include Medical Detox?
- Does Insurance Cover Medical Detox?
- Find Substance Abuse Treatment and Medical Detox Centers Near You Now
- Medically Reviewed By
When it comes to addiction treatment, there are several programs and services available today, each of which offers its own specialized approach to helping individuals recover from substance abuse. Finding a medical detox near me has formed the crucial first step in many recovery journeys.
Of course, with such a wide variety of treatment options, it can be confusing and even intimidating for a person to determine which may be the best for them.
When it comes to individuals who are struggling with severe addictions, however, the first line of treatment that will be recommended will usually be participating in a medically supervised alcohol or drug detox program.
This is because certain substances can have severe withdrawal periods, some of which may even prove fatal if not managed correctly.
Medical detox centers typically cover both alcohol and drug detox, allowing those recovering from these forms of substance abuse to do so in safe and clinical environments, while following a structured treatment plan specific to their addiction recovery needs.
Why is Medical Detox Necessary for Addiction Treatment?
When recovering from an addiction, this process will, of course, require an individual to sustain from substance use and maintain sobriety. However, suddenly stopping these habits completely can result in severe consequences.
This is why it is usually recommended that recovering individuals gradually taper themselves off of an abused substance, so as to give their bodies time to adjust to their absence.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to attempt to wean themselves off of an abused substance on their own. This may be due to financial limitations, time constraints, or various other reasons.
However, this is not only extremely difficult to do on one’s own, but it can be extremely dangerous, as well. A person’s strength of will, while important in their recovery, is not always enough to make it through substance withdrawal.
Particularly for those who are recovering from alcohol addiction, or who have been abusing opioids or benzos, these withdrawal periods can be brutal; and in extreme cases, life-threatening.
Furthermore, if an individual has pre-existing medical conditions or co-occurring mental health disorders, these issues can both intensify this process, as well as be aggravated by it. Thus, detoxifying on one’s own can be extremely risky, both for their physical and mental well-being.
Research has found that individuals who participate in medically supervised detox programs, rather than attempt to overcome their substance abuse alone, are significantly more likely to achieve and maintain sobriety.
Who Should Participate in a Medical Detox Near Me?
Detox programs can be helpful for individuals overcoming any form of drug and alcohol addiction. However, this service will be particularly beneficial for those recovering from addictions to alcohol, or more intense drugs such as opioids and benzos. In the case of benzodiazepines, a drug detox is highly advised, because of seizure risk and potentially lethal withdrawal symptoms.
Individuals who have abused stimulants such as cocaine and meth may also need to participate in a detox process in order to withstand the intense drug cravings these substances can cause.
For individuals who have developed a dependency on alcohol, it is never recommended to quit using “cold turkey.” This can lead to a number of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Body aches
- Hot and cold flashes
- Rapid heart rate
- Sleep disturbances
If these symptoms are not properly managed, they can result in a number of further physical and mental health problems, as well as increase an individual’s risk of relapse, and even death.
This is why alcohol detox programs aim to provide a way for individuals who are overcoming this form of substance abuse a safe and structured environment to do so.
Furthermore, participating in an alcohol detox program may also provide individuals the encouragement they need to continue on to the next levels of professional addiction treatment. This may include inpatient or outpatient treatment programs, or aftercare services.
Drug detox programs will often offer treatment services for various forms of drug abuse. However, the most common substance use disorders found within a drug detox program are those involving opioids, benzos, or certain stimulants, such as meth and nicotine. From drug rehabs in Texas to those in New Hampshire, the process of medically supervised detox is largely the same and depends on the substance being used and the client’s individual history.
The opioid withdrawal process typically starts almost immediately after stopping usage, and can persist for over a month. This period can result in various severe withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Excessive sweating
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Nausea and vomiting
Similar to opioids, quitting usage of benzodiazepines will result in immediate and intense symptoms, of which can last for substantial periods of time. These may include:
If not managed correctly, both opioid and benzo withdrawal can quickly lead to relapse, and even death. This makes undergoing a drug detox treatment process absolutely essential not only for a successful recovery, but for an individual’s safety while doing so.
Furthermore, while not necessarily life-threatening, cocaine and meth can also have numerous complications that may make detoxing alone extremely difficult.
Cocaine withdrawal can result in agitation or depression, fatigue, intense drug cravings, difficulty sleeping, and several other uncomfortable side effects.
Similarly, methamphetamine withdrawal may cause symptoms including behavioral changes, drug cravings, psychosis, depressive or anxious thoughts and emotions, or extreme fatigue.
Furthermore, the withdrawal process for all of these substances can cause severe mental discomfort, which may result in suicidal ideations or behaviors. Thus, even if the physical symptoms of withdrawal are not life-threatening, the mental ones most certainly can be.
In these cases, the constant medical supervision a drug detox process can provide may be necessary for preventing an individual from acting on the emotional ramifications of these withdrawal periods.
What Does the Detox Process Look Like?
When overcoming a substance use disorder at a detox center, these programs will likely offer a number of services to help their clients get through their withdrawal periods as comfortably as possible.
While not every detox treatment program will offer exactly the same approach to treatment, this process will generally include:
- Substance Withdrawal Management
- Nutritional Counseling
- 24/7 Medical Supervision
Before being admitted into an alcohol or drug detox center, individuals will go through an evaluation process. This will include completing a number of tests, including drug and alcohol screenings, and psychological and medical assessments.
Individuals may also be evaluated for any co-occurring disorders which may further complicate substance withdrawal. These tests will be completed by licensed physicians, and will provide treatment providers with the information they need to create your customized treatment plan.
As discussed, overcoming substance abuse can result in several difficult and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Thus, a critical part of detox programs will be the management of these withdrawal periods.
This is done through gradually weaning an individual off of their abused substance, rather than having them stop using all at once. This allows their bodies to slowly re-adjust to functioning normally without the presence of the substance.
Some detox programs may also offer medication-assisted treatment. With this service, clients will be administered controlled medications that are designed to help manage and prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction medicine can help make the detox process far less difficult, and can even help further minimize a person’s risk of relapse. Common medications used for withdrawal management include:
- Methadone: This is an opioid commonly used in managing opioid withdrawal that is highly effective for lessening the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and preventing relapse.
- Naltrexone: This is a long-acting opioid blocking agent that is frequently used for alcohol withdrawal and opioid withdrawal, usually after a person has sustained opioid use for at least seven days.
- Vivitrol: As an intravenous and longer-lasting form of naltrexone, this medication is typically used in treating opioid and alcohol use disorders.
- Suboxone: This drug can be used for the treatment of opioid use disorders and methadone withdrawal, but is less commonly included in treatment due to its own risk for addiction.
- Sublocade: As a newer and injectable type of withdrawal medication, this drug has been found to be highly effective in managing more intense withdrawal symptoms for various forms of substance abuse.
Many forms of addiction lead to nutritional deficiencies and malnourishment, which can be life-threatening in themselves. Because of this, many detox treatment centers will incorporate specialized diets, supplements, and nutritional counseling services into their programs.
One nutritional deficiency that is commonly associated with substance abuse, particularly alcohol abuse, is thiamine deficiency. This can cause a number of health risks, including the development of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), or “wet brain.”
These nutritional services are particularly important for individuals recovering from addictions to alcohol, benzos, or opioids. Of course, a balanced and strict diet can be a crucial element in any recovering individual’s ability to safely detox from an abused substance.
Constant Medical Supervision
A key element in several addiction treatment services is their incorporation of regular access to medical supervision and recovery resources. Detox programs will prioritize this as well, ensuring that clients will be regularly supervised by a medical professional during their treatment process.
This is also particularly important in the event of a medical emergency, such as a seizure, stroke, or heart attack. If these occur, having access to these professionals can be life-saving.
Furthermore, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders are quite common.
This is because many individuals will turn to alcohol or drug abuse as a means of self-medicating their mental health disorder. In fact, mental illness is one the leading substance abuse causes in the U.S., according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
As dual diagnosis clients are so common in drug and alcohol detox programs, these treatment centers will also often provide behavioral therapies in addition to detox services. These can be particularly important for clients who may struggle with suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
How Long Does the Detox Process Last?
On average, most substance abuse detox programs will last a duration of 7-10 days, after which many individuals will continue on to other forms of treatment. There are several factors that can determine how long an individual’s detox process will last, including:
- Type of Substance Abused: Depending on a person’s specific type of alcohol or drug abuse, the amount of time a person will need to spend detoxing can vary. For example, more intense substances including alcohol, opioids, or benzos may require a longer detox process, due to their severe withdrawal periods.
- Frequency of Usage: Individuals who have been using substances for long periods of time, or who frequently engage in substance abuse, will likely take longer to successfully detox off of them. This is because their body has likely become severely dependent on their alcohol or drug use.
- Amount Used: Taking large amounts of a specific substance can cause individuals to become dependent on it more quickly, and to a greater extent, than others. This will result in a need for a longer detox process, in order for their bodies to properly adjust to the removal of an abused substance from their system.
- Personal factors: An individual’s physical makeup, including their weight, body chemistry, metabolism, and genetics can all also play a role in their withdrawal process and the duration of this period.
What are the Signs of a Good Medical Detox Program?
Whether an alcohol or drug detox program, there are several qualities that can indicate a high-quality treatment center. In general, a good medical detox center should possess at least one of the following traits:
- Licenses and accreditations: A solid indicator of a high-quality treatment center is if they have been certified by trusted healthcare organizations, such as the Joint Commission. These accreditations prove that a rehab center adheres to the highest health and human services obligations and standards.
- Mental Health Services: Another sign of a good drug detox program is whether they provide treatment options for dual diagnosis individuals. Someone with a simultaneous mental health and substance use disorder will experience more complications while withdrawing than usual. Thus, these services can be critical to their successful recovery.
- Low client to staff ratios: Drug detox treatment centers that prioritize their client’s ability to have access to a medical professional at all times are amongst the most top-rated. Whether this be therapeutic or medical providers, a good client to staff ratio will usually range between 1:3 and 1:10.
- Personalized treatment approaches: Addiction is an incredibly personal issue, and each person will have their own specific care needs and recovery experience. A good drug detox center will recognize this, and prioritize providing personalized treatment plans to all of their clients.
What Types of Treatment Include Medical Detox?
Many detox programs are provided within their own specialized treatment facility, designed to focus solely on helping individuals manage their withdrawal process. However, this service may also be offered as an additional treatment option by other recovery programs, including:
- Dual diagnosis treatment at behavioral treatment facilities
- Inpatient detox programs at a residential treatment facility
- Interventive treatment at emergency detox centers
Does Insurance Cover Medical Detox?
Many people will attempt to detox at home due to concerns about how much it will cost to receive treatment in a professional setting. Fortunately, most insurance providers will cover various alcohol and drug addiction treatment services.
This will more than often include a stay at a detox facility, as this service is considered essential to the physical and mental well-being of an individual in recovery from substance abuse.
Of course, the level of coverage an individual will be entitled to will depend on their specific insurance provider and policy.
If you are unsure of whether your plan will cover detox treatment, you can find out by calling your insurance provider directly and discussing your addiction treatment options with them. Or, you can use the Find Addiction Rehabs fast and free insurance verification tool.
Find Substance Abuse Treatment and Medical Detox Centers Near You Now
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and are ready to start looking for alcohol and drug detox programs near you, then you are making the right choice. And most importantly, it is a choice you don’t have to make on your own.
Taking that first step can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. At Find Addiction Rehabs, our team is dedicated to helping people like you find nearby substance abuse treatment centers that are dedicated to meeting all of your personal care needs.
You can find addiction rehab and detox centers near you just by using the FAR drug and alcohol rehab directory. Or, you can call our 24/7 hotline, and one of our representatives can find a drug detox program or other addiction treatment options that work best for you.
So don’t wait; reach out to our team today so we can help you get started on your path to recovery from addiction, where you can safely and successfully achieve a happier, healthier, and sober you!
Nicole Rogers is an experienced and accomplished writer with special interests in the fields of Anthropology, English, and behavioral health, and has written countless articles for newspaper publications, institutional research journals, and Find Addiction Rehabs.
Her alma mater is Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Nicole hopes to spread awareness of and combat the stigmatization surrounding addiction and substance abuse treatment through her writing and work in the field.