Medically-Assisted Detox Explained
A medically assisted detox processes are plans set in place to help the body relearn how to function without the drug. For people who have fallen prey to addictive patterns and have used substances such as opioids, methamphetamines, and alcohol, quitting “cold turkey” is not recommended. Rather, having a detox plan set in motion by a medical professional is much safer and will make sure withdrawal symptoms are easier to cope with.
An effective medical detox process relies on three stages: evaluation of current physical and mental state, stabilization of body processes, and preparation for post-detox therapy.
Before embarking on the detox process, a medical professional assesses the client’s current state in order to determine the best form of treatment. This can involve a physical exam, questionnaire, blood tests, and screenings for co-occurring medical conditions, which can include mental health disorders commonly associated with substance abuse.
During the evaluation, medical staff determines whether a person has a strong support system and a stable psychological state. Using this information to create a medically-assisted detox program will make sure the process fits the severity of the case and can help the client handle the withdrawal symptoms.
After the plan has been set in motion, the client immediately stops any substance abuse in order to let their body recover. This is the beginning of the journey toward sobriety and a healthier lifestyle. In some cases, medically assisted detox may be used in order to control withdrawal symptoms, especially if the client has previously used tobacco, alcohol, or opioids.
The length of this part of the medically-assisted detox process usually takes between one and three weeks and will largely depend on several factors:
- Type of substance abused
- Amount taken each time
- Method of use (snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing)
- Length of time abusing the substance
- Family history and genetic makeup
- Medical and mental health factors
Regardless of the severity and other factors of your substance abuse, a medically assisted detox will help lessen these symptoms.
Following detox, clients should expect additional treatment. Detox is often considered the worst part of the recovery process because of withdrawal symptoms, but the psychological challenges that come after detox can be distressing. If unprepared, a person may fall back into patterns of substance abuse. Even after years of sobriety, a person may still feel pressure to return to substance abuse when under stress, which underscores the importance of having a system of support.
In addition to the medical detox process, people may also choose to participate in treatments that would complement their detox. Though not part of the actual detox process, these additional steps can help a client immensely throughout their journey. Effective complementary treatments include:
- Learning more about addiction through personal research
- Attending therapy sessions
- Attending support group meetings
Furthermore, once the detox process has concluded, they may wish to have a medical professional evaluate their physical and mental state. Once they are no longer engaging in substance abuse and their body has had a chance to return to normal operation, it might be valuable to see if there was any damage to any internal organs, such as the liver, kidney, or heart.
If you or a loved one are in need of medical help for detox, contact one of our medical professionals to see how we can help.