What is Medical Detox?

Medical detox is a procedure administered in hospitals, detoxification facilities, and rehabilitation centers throughout the U.S. to rid drug addicts of toxins in their bodies. This procedure helps addicts to recover from drug abuse in a safe and supervised manner.


One of the objectives of administering medical detox is to offer drug addicts a place where they can safely come down from extended periods of substance abuse and go through withdrawal symptoms in a safe manner.

Drugs make the body dependent on the high received from the chemicals in the drugs. Eventually, addicts develop a tolerance for the substances they abuse, and start using the substances more frequently and in greater doses. Addicts who decide to take less than their usual doses experience withdrawal symptoms including vomiting, agitation, diarrhea, seizures and headaches. The substance abused and length of use determines the severity of withdrawal symptoms.


Since many patients usually exhibit very serious withdrawal symptoms as a result of medical detox, medical professionals should be present during administration of medical detox to avoid medical emergencies such as dehydration and aspiration. The latter occurs when patients breathe back vomit into the lungs leading to suffocation while the former occurs after excessive vomiting or diarrhea.


The amount of time it takes to complete medical detox is determined by the addicting substance and chemical tolerance of the recovering addict. The speed and effectiveness of medical detox are determined by how fast the body of the addict can metabolize the remaining chemicals from his system. Typically, medical detox lasts three to seven days.


Medical detox involves using medications to help addicts cope with the effects of withdrawal. For example, Suboxone and Subutex are used to help addicts detoxing from opiates while Prescription benzodiazepines are used to help addicts detoxing from alcohol abuse.

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