Understanding the Process of Medical Detoxification

If you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may not be able to safely withdraw on your own. If you try to withdraw, the side effects might be more than you can handle and you may need to go through detoxification that’s supervised by medical staff. Medical detoxification is sometimes needed when withdrawal symptoms are extreme, or when withdrawing from a very addictive substance. During medical detox, you’re given medications to lessen withdrawal symptoms and side effects. The detoxification process usually takes place in a hospital, clinic or a treatment center.

Who Needs Medical Detoxification?

Many addicts need treatment to give up drugs. Many alcoholics need treatment to help them stop drinking. Rehabilitation programs include a wide variety of treatment options such as therapy, support groups, motivational programs and medications. Medical detox is an option that’s used when withdrawal is severe and causes risks to your health. You’re treated with medications that will reduce or eliminate your withdrawal symptoms. This treatment lowers the risk of harm to your body while it’s adjusting to the lack of drugs or alcohol.

When you enter a treatment center or hospital, you’ll first be evaluated. This evaluation will include a medical and psychological assessment. You’ll take a blood test that will measure the level of drugs in your system. Additional tests may be performed based on your medical history and drug usage. The medical staff will determine what steps must be taken to stabilize your health. Medical detox may or may not be part of your treatment.

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What Happens During Medical Detoxification?

The detoxification process will vary based on your drug of choice, the severity of withdrawal and the symptoms you experience. Medical detox will usually take five to seven days, but it can last longer. There are many approaches to detoxification, such as rapid or outpatient detox. Some programs are more intense and require inpatient services. Your medical staff will work to find the best approach for you.

Your doctor will determine what medications you need during detox, which will be chosen based on your drug use and withdrawal symptoms. One or more medications may be used during detoxification. You’ll be closely monitored by medical staff during the detoxification process, and your medications will be reduced over time as your body adjusts.

Remember that each person’s situation is unique. Detoxification will be affected by your health and your body’s ability to remove the toxins from drugs or alcohol. Your medications and timeline may be different than what’s described here.

Medical detoxification is a first step in dealing with addiction. It clears your body of the addictive substances, but won’t resolve the addictive tendencies that you have. After medical detoxification, you’ll need to continue a treatment program to work through your addiction and related issues. Addiction is a disease that requires treatment, and won’t be cured by medical detoxification. If you don’t participate in rehabilitation treatment, you’re likely to use drugs or alcohol again.

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If you’re dependent on drugs or alcohol, help is available. You can reach our hotline at 800-447-9081. We’re staffed 24 hours a day, and can answer your questions and help you take the next steps. Call now, and get on the road to recovery.

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