If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, then you know that you cannot just simply stop using. In fact, ensuring that you have a continual flow of your substance of choice is probably the main priority. This is because you know that quitting cold turkey triggers the onset of withdrawal symptoms. And, the withdrawal symptoms you can experience can be extremely painful, if not deadly. That is why medical detox is available – to help you through this point in your recovery.
A medical detox program employs medical and psychiatric professionals who can help you manage the withdrawal symptoms you experience. It is during medical detox that you can end your active use as comfortably as possible.
Medical detox is ideal if you are:
- Physically dependent on drugs or alcohol
- Struggling to get sober on your own because of cravings and repeated relapse
- Addicted to a substance that can cause fatality if you immediately stop using
The disease of addiction is not a joke. Medical detox can be the first and most important part of your care.
Why is Medical Detox Important?
Medical detox can be an incredibly important step in your recovery. If you can benefit from it, participating in medical detox can help you lay a strong foundation for recovery. This step in the recovery process is important for several reasons. From physical safety to psychological support to relapse prevention, medical detox can save your life.
When you have been abusing drugs or alcohol, there is no doubt that your body has suffered. This is especially true if you have been using for a long period of time. Therefore, when you decide that it is time to stop using, you may need professional assistance. That is where medical detox comes in.
Usually, the most pressing issues someone in detox has are withdrawal symptoms. Your withdrawal symptoms will depend on the substance you were abusing. Typically, withdrawal symptoms associated with drug and alcohol dependence include:
- Sleep problems
- Changes in appetite
In medical detox, your physical safety is of main priority. If you experience any of these symptoms or others, doctors and nurses can offer you effective care. This can include providing over-the-counter medications to help manage some basic symptoms. It can also include prescribing more powerful medications to address more complex symptoms. If you are addicted to opioids or alcohol, you may be prescribed specific medications that can help taper your dependence. These medications can be used throughout the entire course of treatment and after if necessary.
If you are addicted to alcohol or benzodiazepines (e.g. Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax), medical detox is absolutely necessary. Stopping the use of these substances suddenly can be fatal, as specific withdrawal symptoms can develop. If you are addicted to benzodiazepines, your biggest risk is having one or more seizures. Sudden cessation of alcohol abuse can trigger high blood pressure, which can cause a stroke. When in medical detox, however, these symptoms can be avoided and/or treated when they occur.
The main focus of medical detox is to provide you with physical stabilization. However, when you are detoxing, you are likely going to experience psychological effects. Again, the type of substance you abused will determine what psychological effects you will experience. It is extremely common (regardless of the substance) to develop symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. If you start experiencing these or other psychological symptoms, there are professionals available to support you. Usually, psychological symptoms related to withdrawal tend to fade away within a few days to two weeks. However, if you continue to experience these kinds of withdrawal symptoms, seeking additional psychological help is recommended.
Your psychological wellbeing is just as important as your physical wellbeing. If you choose to detox on your own, you run the risk of suffering several effects. You may experience panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, or pervasive sadness and not know how to handle that. You are vulnerable when you go from actively using to not using at all. Asking yourself to manage the mental effects of withdrawal on your own is unrealistic. Medical detox is hugely beneficial in providing you with that immediate support. Plus, you can easily transition into further addiction treatment when you complete medical detox.
Above all else, medical detox helps prevent relapse and does so in several ways.
For starters, medical detox helps to ease the pain and stress caused by withdrawal symptoms. When you are in medical detox, the symptoms you experience can be treated. You will be monitored, too, allowing for peace of mind that you are safe. When you detox on your own, the withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming. You may give up easier and start using again as a result. But in medical detox, you are supported by professionals who can help see you through.
Additionally, medical detox takes you out of your environment. This is a good thing because you are less likely to fold to cravings when in medical detox. You don’t have access to drugs or alcohol, nor can anyone with access get them to you. Plus, you are in a controlled environment that does not support impulsivity.
Keeping you focused on getting through the process of detox is why medical detox is so important. As you break the dependence, you can start to focus on therapeutic care.
Do You Need Medical Detox or Other Professional Treatment?
Addiction is a disease that can cost you your life. Each and every time you use could be your last — it is that serious. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, the time is now to get help. Continuing to abuse drugs or alcohol will only lead you to a dead end. By reaching out for professional care, you can change course and get your life back on track.
So, do not wait any longer. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and need help, call us. We can help you stay safe during detox so that you can focus on your recovery.