Detoxification and the Dangers of Withdrawal Symptoms
Addiction alters the way normal body processes are carried out. Unfortunately, over time, the body recognizes these physiologic changes as the new norm and subsequently adapts to it. The more the body adapts, the greater is the need for addicting substances to elicit the same desired response. The sad thing is that once the addicting substance is removed, the body goes into a repair mode. During this process of repairing itself, withdrawal symptoms develop. In some cases where the addiction is mild and often depending on the type of the addicting substance, the withdrawal symptoms can also be mild. These can include irritability, nausea and vomiting, muscle fatigue, headaches, and loss of appetite.
However, there are instances when the addiction is so severe that the resulting withdrawal symptoms also become life threatening. Examples of these include cardiac arrhythmias, fluid and electrolyte imbalances, respiratory depression, seizures, coma, and even death. Among the more serious psychiatric mental health manifestations of acute withdrawal include hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, and gross distortions of reality that experts may already suggest borderline schizophrenia.
The ramifications of acute withdrawal symptoms are great such that detoxification is a very complicated and very closely monitored process. Depending on the severity and type of the addiction, detox treatments can typically fall under two major categories: medically managed and medically assisted detox treatments. In the level of their acuteness, these can be referred to as either acute detox programs or sub-acute detox treatments, respectively.
Medically assisted detox treatments are for those whose addictions are not severe and do not pose a threat to the safety of the individual. Monitoring is still implemented but is carried out by facility personnel. To aid the individual in the detox process, certain medications are administered in order to help alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with the addicting substance. These types of detox treatments are almost always referred to as sub-acute detox programs simply because they do not pose an immediate threat to the individual. Additionally, these are carried out in residential and even outpatient facilities but not in a hospital inpatient center.
Whether it is medically managed or medically assisted detox, one very important aspect of the detox program is nutritionally assisted detox. Addiction suppresses the reward center in the brain for hunger, which is a more scientific way of saying it suppresses appetite. Nutrients are thus, not absorbed by the body leading to severe nutritional deficiencies. A nutritionally assisted detox is an important adjunct to any type of detox treatments by providing the body with the necessary nutrients including vitamins and minerals that it needs to help it repair its cells and tissues. This greatly helps the individual as he goes through the process of withdrawal.