Medically Supervised Detox: The Answer to Better Addiction Care?

Nearly half of Americans have a close friend or relative who has been addicted to drugs at some point in their lives. This shows how vast the problem of drug addiction is, and that it can happen to almost anyone.

When it comes to recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol, there are a variety of ways you can go about it. From individual therapy to rehab to 12-step meetings, there are a myriad of ways to better addiction care. Many people, in fact, decide to mix and match and combine them to find a solution that works best for them.

But when it comes to coming off of the drugs, is medically supervised detox the answer to better care? In this blog post, we’ll discuss why some individuals choose it over going “cold turkey.”

Read more below.

What is Detox?

Detox is the term used for your body getting rid of the traces of a drug or alcohol in your system. Depending on the drug, or substance, it can last in your system from several days to weeks.

Many people find detox to be one of the most difficult parts of getting clean. This is because, at a point, the body becomes dependent on the drug or alcohol, and not using it causes unpleasant symptoms. This is why addiction is not only psychological, but it becomes physiological as well.

Coming off of drugs or alcohol can be incredibly taxing on the body, and in some cases, fatal. However, some people do try to get around it by quitting the substance cold turkey. While people can survive this stage, it is incredibly difficult and uncomfortable.

Past addicts will sometimes describe coming off drugs without medical intervention as like the worst flu they’ve ever had.

Because the symptoms are so terrible, it prompts many people to use it again just to get rid of them. This is why detox can be such a difficult, and self-defeating, cycle.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Withdrawal from alcohol is unique to withdrawal from drugs. While alcohol itself may not be as dramatic as street drugs, the physical effects of its withdrawal are very real.

Most people feel at their worst the first 48 hours from drinking. As such, many alcoholics begin drinking again to curb the unpleasant symptoms.

Many people will experience depression, shaking, restlessness and anxiety during withdrawal. In extreme cases, individuals may vomit or experience hallucinations. In these cases, being in a center where someone has medical experience to help them detox is paramount, as this can become an emergency very quickly.

Drug Withdrawal

The withdrawal from drugs has different symptoms depending on the type of drugs you’ve taken. But, most withdrawal symptoms worsen within the first 48 hours from your last hit or pill. This is, again, why so many people have trouble coming off completely.

The symptoms of withdrawal are often so bad that people would rather continue to use than to feel it.

With some drugs, individuals may not only experience physical issues, like vomiting, sweating and shaking, but they may also experience psychological symptoms. Feeling anxious, and even having psychotic episodes or hallucinations are not completely uncommon when coming off of drugs.

What is Medically Supervised Detox?

Medically supervised detox refers to detoxing in a facility that specializes in drug or alcohol abuse. The staff there is already aware of how detox works and will detox you in a safe environment. You’ll remain comfortable as you are slowly weaned off the drugs or alcohol you’ve taken.

With a medically supervised detox, it is done so that your body has time to recover from the effects of no longer putting the drugs in your body. A team is on hand to help transition you, and take care of any adverse needs should they arise during your detox.

During medical detox, you’ll not only be supervised, but you’ll be given a space where you can come off of the drugs or alcohol without outside distractions. In many rehab facilities, this is the very first part of the stay, and you’re not expected to participate in the program during this time.

Once you’ve transitioned to weaning off of physical dependency from the drugs, you’ll begin to conquer your psychological dependency.

Is Medical Detox Better Addiction Care?

For many individuals, the physical symptoms of addiction are much harder to kick than psychological symptoms. As such, using detox in combination with other rehab approaches is key.

While medical detox can help set an individual up for success, it alone doesn’t guarantee this is the case. If someone gets detoxed and then fails to show up for their program or attend further meetings, they can become dependent on the drug or alcohol again. This is because the psychological dependency is also very powerful.

For some drug addictions, like opiates, you can continue to take a medication that will give you some of the effects of the opiate without the negative effects. These pills will counteract street drugs like heroin, and make it difficult to get high if you do use. These may be taken as part of the rehab process, under the guidance of a physician.

The Best Care for You

Better addiction care centers on the individual and his or her needs. It takes a multi-pronged approach, addressing the person’s physical and mental state, as well as gets to the root cause of the drug issues.

If you or a loved one are suffering from drug addiction, contact us today. We can help.


Article Reviewed by Lidice Morales

Lidice MoralesLidice Morales, an honors graduate from the Kaiser University, has made a name for herself as the Director of Nursing at several behavioral health facilities and as the Director of Operations for Detox MD. Now she is the VP of Operations at DreamLife Recovery. She strives for better patient care through constant self-improvement and furthering her education. Her steadfast work ethic and passion in the field has remained the most important aspect of her professional career; showing dedication to not only the acquisition of new knowledge, but also its mastery. Lidice believes that a professional work atmosphere fosters cohesion and malleability amongst herself and her coworkers; thereby increasing both the level of patient care and quality of life.

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