Drug Detox, Natural Detox Treatment Center
Drug detoxification is the critical first-step in the long and tedious process of drug addiction treatment and recovery. It should be understood that detoxification is just one part of the entire treatment process. Substance addiction should not be considered as the be-all and end-all of addiction treatment programs. The focus of detox treatments is in the preparation of the body for both physiologic and psychological healing, which takes place right after completion of the detoxification program.
Drug Detox as a Necessary First Step to Drug Addiction Treatment
Detoxification is your body’s natural way of getting rid of any drug that is left in the system. It is the first step in a series of steps necessary to recover from drug addiction. While the main bulk of addiction treatment is focused on the identification of potential addiction triggers and the development of more constructive mechanisms to deal with such triggers. If one subjects the individual to such intense cognitive behavioral therapies without first addressing the need to remove the addicting drug from the system can prove to be disastrous. Likewise, a detox program without adequate and appropriate follow-up treatment will also not ensure complete healing and recovery from drug addiction.
As such, while detox treatment cannot serve as a standalone treatment for drug addiction, it is nevertheless crucial that it be performed first before any significant therapies can be implemented. Cognitive behavioral therapies, while they are effective in helping individuals find new meaning in their lives. It will be significantly improved if drug detox were performed prior to the initiation of such addiction treatment modalities.
Withdrawal Symptoms and the Need for Drug Detox
Drug detoxification removes the drugs that have accumulated over time inside the body. These drugs have exerted a lot of physiologic effects on various cellular processes that the body now perceives them to be the new norm.
When these drugs are eventually removed, the body goes into a variety of often painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms are mild such as anxiety, restlessness, pacing, difficulty getting sleep, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and muscle aches, just to name a few. However, there are also instances when the withdrawal symptoms are simply severe that it can virtually be life threatening. Examples of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms include seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, respiratory depression, coma, and even death. Seizures are particularly serious because seizure activity prevents the effective distribution of oxygen to the brain tissues. If these low levels of oxygen occur for significantly longer periods of time, certain parts of the brain may eventually die. Coma can ensue before multi-organ failure can set in because of dysfunction in central nervous system control.
The type and severity of the withdrawal symptoms is often dependent on the type of drug as well as the history of drug use. For example, benzodiazepines and opioid analgesics like oxycodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, and methadone, just to name a few, are known to produce seizures as well as visual or auditory hallucinations during the period of detoxification. If the personnel caring for the individual are untrained, he may think that the individual is already suffering from schizophrenia. Cocaine and crystal methamphetamines, on the other hand, have been shown to produce depression during detox treatments. Depression is a major indicator of suicidal issues such that the individual will have to be placed on suicide watch.
Safety in Drug Detox
It is for this reason that drug detoxes should always be performed in a dedicated detox facility. Depending on the nature and severity of the drug addiction, a medically managed detox program is ideal as severe and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms can be managed decisively and appropriately. The first few hours and days of the detox treatment process are the most important as the goal of care is in the stabilization of the individual’s condition. The individual will be carefully assessed for violent tendencies, symptoms of psychosis, injuries, threats to the self, and the emergence of medical problems. These have to be addressed first before detoxification can be completed
Medical-Assisted Drug Detox
If the addiction is not that severe and there is no imminent threat to the life of the individual, then a medical-assisted detox treatment is advised. This includes the administration of certain medications to help improve the individual’s ability to cope with the withdrawal symptoms. Medications are also given to help the individual lessen cravings for drugs as well as facilitate a more tolerable withdrawal experience.
Methadone and buprenorphine are the two most common medications used in the management of opioid addiction. These are chemically similar to opioids but with significantly fewer side effects and generally milder withdrawal symptoms. However, in recent years many individuals have grown addicted to methadone, where that it is now classified as a drug problem. A better alternative is buprenorphine, especially when it is combined with naltrexone.