At Chapel Hill, we feel a medically supervised detox is an essential first step in the recovery process. A medically assisted detox can be helpful to those that experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or drugs.
Medical detox is not classified as addiction recovery. However, it’s a process most centers use when they want to make a comprehensive evaluation of a patient.
There are many schedule I and II drugs that an individual should avoid, but there are also many that don’t require a medically assisted detox. Some substances that will most likely require a medically assisted detox can include alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates and opioids, prescription drugs, stimulants, and synthetic drugs.
Alcohol can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Since alcohol has the ability to affect body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety, there are many factors that can be influenced by the excessive intake of it.
The most fatal effect alcohol can have on the body is when an individual digresses into delirium tremens. Symptoms of excessive alcohol intake can include seizures and hallucinations.
Benzodiazepines, called “benzos” for short, have a similar reaction in the body as alcohol does and therefore create similar withdrawal symptoms. This type of substance is often used as a sedative to treat anxiety or seizures. Some popular forms of benzos include Xanax, Valium, and Ativan.
Opiates and opioids can be a confusing subject when one doesn’t understand the differences between the two. To put it simply, opiates originate from the poppy plant while opioids are partly synthetic substances derived from poppy plants.
Opiates and opioids are very similar but take different forms of narcotics. Common opiates include opium, morphine, and codeine while some common opioids are oxycodone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl.
Opioids and opiates work in the brain to produce a variety of effects, but many use the drug to treat pain. Opioids are also known to mimic the body’s natural endorphins; the regular usage of this drug can make one dependent on opioids for producing endorphins in the body. That means one can become physically dependent on the substance very easily in order to produce them.
When attempting to quit opioids or opiates, withdrawal symptoms can mimic that of the flu. Many will experience body aches, cold and clammy skin, nausea, and even anxiety. Although withdrawal from opioids is not life-threatening, it can be challenging and uncomfortable.
Popular prescription medications include muscle relaxants, sleeping medications, and gabapentin. Most individuals use these medications to achieve a high or find relief from everyday stress.
Prescription drugs like the ones listed above can create relatively unique withdrawal symptoms. Gabapentin, muscle relaxants and sleeping medications all act as central nervous depressants just like alcohol and benzodiazepines.
Stimulants are non-prescription drugs that include cocaine, methamphetamine, or MDMA. These drugs do not usually create life-threatening withdrawal symptoms like alcohol or opioids do. Nonetheless, these stimulants can create severe forms of depression, which a medical detox can help address.
Synthetic drugs can be harmful to the individual in ways other drugs do not affect people. Synthetic drugs include anything from opioid fentanyl to bath salts or kratom. These drugs can create significant withdrawal symptoms that a medical detox can address.
Undergoing the withdrawal process in a medical center can be safer than if one attempts to complete a detox naturally at home.
An at-home detox can save money but is also the least effective way to accomplish a detox. For those that have decided to undergo the process, many suggest going to a medical center to have a supervised medical detox.
Those that attempt to complete the process at home could face dangerous consequences; there are many substances that can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms like alcohol or benzodiazepines. The attempt at quitting “cold turkey” could be too much of a shock for one’s body to handle. However, when placed in a medical facility, professionals can keep an eye on the individual undergoing this process and watch for serious withdrawal symptoms.
For some, it can be hard to do the process alone. Withdrawal symptoms cause many people to feel as if they will do anything to have more of the addictive substance. Many individuals start with a desire to change the course of their life but find it hard when not surrounded by the right people.
Even in the most extreme cases, death can occur from withdrawal in substances like opiates as individuals suffer from dehydration and malnourishment.
On the other hand, a medically supervised detox can be completed all naturally or with the help of medication, administered by professionals. Many who undergo a medically supervised detox reveal that the medication helps them manage their cravings so they can focus on recovery.
The main difference between a medically assisted detox and a natural one includes the use of medication to relieve symptoms of withdrawal.
The idea of a medical detox is to rid the body of dangerous toxins. After achieving this process, there are many options one can follow up with to ensure sobriety, some of those include:
Tolerance to alcohol or a certain drug can affect the need for a higher amount of the substance to achieve the effect wanted. When an individual experiences withdrawal, they are showing signs of becoming physically dependent on a substance.
Since many substances have different effects and withdrawal symptoms, it can be a different process for families and individuals throughout the medically assisted detox and afterward.
To better understand the full effects of medical detox and the anticipation that surrounds it, contact us for more information today.