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Drug Detox

Drugs such as heroin, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine work by stimulating the chemical dopamine receptors or other areas of the brain creating euphoric highs and varied responses in relation to energy and stamina. Many drugs result in serious physical dependence and tolerance which creates challenges when the user decides it’s time to quit using the drug. When physical dependence sets in and the user feels adverse withdrawal symptoms upon ceasing such drug use, medical or professional treatment in a drug detox center may be required in order for the user to recovery from the addiction.

Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

There are various active ingredients in each type of drug and therefore each drug has its own set of adverse withdrawal symptoms which may become present when the user decides to quit. Some drugs cause serious bouts of depression or anxiety during withdrawal while others may cause nausea, vomiting and upset stomach. Some drugs have very few withdrawal symptoms and the symptoms are generally not a danger to the user while others may pose serious health risks and could even have fatal consequences if medical treatment is not received.

Going through drug withdrawal is difficult, uncomfortable and potentially dangerous depending on what drug the user is withdrawing from. Because of the potential for certain drug withdrawal symptoms to pose serious health threats to the user, it is advisable that users seek the help of a professional drug detox center to ensure their safety during this challenging first step in recovery.

Treatment Options

Drug Detox Treatment

Drug detox may include withdrawal symptoms that can be uncomfortable.

Many different options are available to help those who are addicted to drugs to get sober. During drug detox, the patient may be provided with medications, therapeutic care, natural remedies and even holistic healing methods to help ease cravings, reduce symptoms of withdrawal and promote a comfortable and successful drug detox.

Medications are very common in the treatment of heroin withdrawal, opiate withdrawal, and prescription medication withdrawal. Some of the most common medications used in drug detox centers include:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Naloxone
  • Suboxone
  • Clonidine
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Anti-psychotic medications
  • Medications to control blood pressure
  • Medications to control bowel movements, stomach upset and nausea

Types of Drug Detox

Drug detox can take place in either a residential setting or in an outpatient facility. For those who are addicted to heroin, methadone, prescription medications or any drug that creates serious withdrawal symptoms for the user when he or she is not using, residential drug detox is the preferred and safest method of starting out treatment. Those who are addicted to marijuana, cocaine or drugs that carry little physical dependence and are mostly psychological in scope may be well suited in outpatient detox but not always. Many factors should be considered before making a decision as to the most effective method of detox for yourself or someone you love.

Residential Drug Detox

People with co-occurring mental or physical health conditions are best treated in the confines of residential drug detox where medical treatment is available around-the-clock. These programs provide consistent support and care for patients throughout the drug detoxification process which can help to keep them focused, comfortable and safe, too!

Outpatient Drug Detox

Intensive treatment can be provided on an outpatient basis but this method of treatment is not typically as safe or effective as residential care. The patient will spend much of his or her time working out the kinks of withdrawal on their own which can leave a large amount of time error, relapse or problems to occur. Under the right circumstances, outpatient drug detox can be safe and effective, but it takes a serious commitment, and the drug withdrawal symptoms must not be so severe that they pose a risk to the overall health and well-being of the recovering addict.

Life after Drug Detox

It’s important to consider the dire need for continued treatment after drug detox. Studies have found that the majority of people who undergo drug detox in a controlled environment do not actually follow-up with effective addiction treatment. This is not safe, does not provide adequate help for the user and can actually do more harm than good. After drug detox, every addict should continue to receive:

  • Individual counseling to help reduce stress, emotional trauma or other underlying issues that could have caused the drug use to begin.
  • Group counseling to help the patient learn how to interact with others, how to build effective relationships and how to avoid relapse.
  • Behavioral therapy to help the user learn how to respond to emotions, stressful situations and other events in a manner that does not include the use of drugs.
  • Support from peers, family and friends that helps them to remain sober, continue to work toward recovery and stay positive about their new found sobriety.

Drug detox is important and it is the very first step of recovery, but further action is necessary to ensure the continued success for the recovering addict.

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