Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

What Is Detox?

What Is Detox?Everyone who enters an addiction rehab facility will undergo an evaluation before detox occurs. You will be tested to see which prescription drugs you are addicted to and what withdrawal symptoms will potentially arise. An overall health assessment will determine how much physical support you will need during the detox process. Any mental health concerns like depression or anxiety will be identified and addressed before detox begins. Once you have been evaluated, the best detox process for you will be chosen and implemented. Addiction recovery specialists will guide you throughout the process and provide all the support you need.

Detoxification by Abrupt Cessation of Drug Use

The chemicals in drugs that cause addiction also keep you from getting off those drugs. Many people will continue abusing drugs, because withdrawal symptoms and returning pain keep them from moving forward in recovery. Detox will reverse the physical effects of chemical addiction. One method of detox is “cold turkey” or abrupt cessation of use. Patients will abruptly stop taking all drugs all at once. When medically supervised this process is safe and can be made as comfortable as possible.

Gradual Detoxification for Addiction Recovery

Gradual detox or the tapering method is another option you have when entering detox. This method slowly weans users off of their drug of choice. Individuals will work with a doctor to map out a dosing schedule. The dosage decreases by specific increments on a daily or weekly basis depending on the severity of the drug abuse. This will help minimize withdrawal symptoms. This method may be more comfortable that ceasing drug use all at once, but many individuals have trouble sticking to a dosing schedule and may find they are unable to reduce dosage.

Substitution Method for Drug Detoxification

The substitution method for drug detox uses safer medications in place of the prescription drugs patients are accustomed to using. These substitution drugs most often replace painkilling opiates and include medications such as the following:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Suboxone
  • Naltrexone

While generally safer than the original drug of choice, these medications are still often addictive themselves and may result in a secondary or substitute addiction. Drug substitution needs to be carefully monitored by recovery professionals.

Rapid Drug Detoxification

Rapid detox is an extremely controversial method of detox, because it is relatively new and its effects have not been fully tested. Rapid detox is used in some opiate addiction recovery programs, and it consists of two stages. In the first stage the body’s receptors are blocked and so that they can no longer receive opiates, and in the second the opiates themselves are blocked. The entire rapid detox process occurs under anesthesia. Methadone is commonly used as a follow-up medication. The rapid detox process only takes hours, and some argue this is not enough time for the body adapt properly. Others argue that more traditional detox formats help address psychological addiction, and patients shouldn’t skip this important learning experience that adds to long-term recovery success.

After Detoxification

Detox is only the first step in addiction recovery. It is important to continue treatment and address all aspects of addiction. Detox should be followed by therapy options that specialize in treating psychological addiction and addressing the thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to addictive behavior. Examples include group and private counseling sessions or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Aftercare follows psychological addiction rehab and provides continued support and encouragement.

More Information on Detoxification and Addiction Recovery

We can give you all the information you need to begin detox and end prescription drug abuse. Our helpline is completely toll free, and we are open 24 hours a day. Call to learn about your options, ask any questions or simply talk with a caring listener.

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