Pros and Cons of Medically Assisted Detox Programs
Pro: Reduced Withdrawal
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “easing withdrawal symptoms can be important in the initiation of treatment; preventing relapse is necessary for maintaining its effects.” Medically assisted detox programs help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and to prevent relapse by providing patients with medical intervention that will curb cravings, ease symptoms of withdrawal and make the process of detoxification easier to cope with.
Pro: Reduced Risk of Relapse
Many medically assisted detox programs utilize antagonists that work to block the receptors responsible for feeling the positive or euphoric effects of opiates or other drugs. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, “Should a patient undergoing treatment with an antagonist-type medication relapse and use the formerly abused substance, that drug’s power to trigger the receptors is often blocked or greatly diminished.”
Pro: Safe Recovery
Medically assisted detox provides patients with a safe, controlled atmosphere in which recovery becomes possible. The risk of dangerous medical complications is greatly reduced when a user is in recovery in a medical facility in which adequate treatment and care can be received as needed.
Pro: Improved Recovery Rate
Medication assisted detox improves recovery rates when compared to methods of detox that do not include medical care or intervention. Recovery rates differ greatly with each method of treatment received as well as with each type of addiction that is at hand but generally, patients can expect a 30% greater chance of recovery when compared to those not receiving medical care.
Con: Without Continued Treatment, Similar Patterns of Abuse Occur
According to NIDA, “patients who go through medically assisted withdrawal but do not receive any further treatment show drug abuse patterns similar to those who were never treated.” It’s important to seek behavioral therapy, counseling and support in addition to the medical intervention in order to gain the full spectrum of assistance available in treatment and to benefit most substantially from the care that is received. According to the CDC, “a medication-assisted approach is most effective when combined with counseling and other behavioral interventions.”
Con: Adverse Reaction to Medications
In a medically assisted treatment program, there are risks with the medications that are prescribed. According to the National Library of Medicine, patients may suffer adverse reactions when they are provided with medications such as Naltrexone, methadone, Subutex, Buprenorphine, Naloxone, Clonidine or other drugs.