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Medical Detox

Addiction is a chronic and commonly relapsing disease that often requires professional assistance in order to overcome. Not only is the temptation to use overpowering, but the physical effects of a serious drug or alcohol withdrawal can be extremely dangerous and often require professional medical aid for this process to be successful.

The drug and/or alcohol detoxification process can be severe and usually requires medical assistance to ensure the health and safety of the patient. A West Virginia medical detox program can help alleviate many of the symptoms of withdrawal and help patients to safely recover from even severe addictions.


What is a detox?

A detoxification is not a cure for addiction but rather the first step in the recovery process. Once an addict stops using a substance such as prescription drugs, heroin or cocaine, their body undergoes withdrawal symptoms due to the imbalance present. Initially, the body starts to adapt to the substance in the body but once the person stops using, their body struggles to return to normal function and various systems in the body are affected such as the brain affecting moods and various major organs such as the heart.

A medical detox is a process where the patient is weaned off highly addictive drugs in severe cases slowly rather than abruptly. In these cases, the patient would likely be at risk if they went cold turkey. As an example, the patient is given medication such as methadone (a mild opiate) to help with the withdrawal from a severe heroin addiction. A medical detox is often the only way to safely deal with some of the severe substance addiction cases.

Other types of detox methods include a natural detox where a person does not use any aids during their detox and the substance is allowed to leave the body naturally. A medicated detox is another form of detox where a patient is given medication, usually non-prescribed medication, to alleviate some of the symptoms. It looks to treat the symptoms and not the cause. For example, if a person is struggling to sleep, they can be given a non-addictive sleeping tablet.


Self-detox dangers

With physical addiction, detoxing alone at home can be dangers. The first problem is that there is no one to stop you from acquiring more drugs or alcohol. The cravings that occur during detox are the most extreme and even if a person wants to stop, the intense cravings can cause the person to relapse. Prior medical concerns can also become a danger when detoxing alone. For example, if a patient has prior heart problems and is detoxifying from alcohol, the increased heart rate during delirium tremens can be put the person at risk of heart failure. Having multiple detoxifications causes harm the body and the benefit of being in an inpatient program in West Virginia for detox is the availability of the treatment programs that can be joined directly after detox to reduce the risk of relapse over the long term.


Medication used in a medical detox

Depending on the addictive substance, a variety of medications may be used. The detox is done at an inpatient facility and overseen by qualified professionals. Some of the medications used include the following:

Suboxone – This is used in opiate addiction cases and it is a buprenorphine. It is a partial agonist meaning that it can block pain as opiates do in small doses and in large doses it can block the opioid receptors in the brain preventing opiate abuse.

Naltrexone – Used in opiate and alcohol withdrawal, it reverses the effects of opioids. It is an agonist.

Antabuse – Also known as Disulfiram, the drug is used for alcohol detox. It causes the effects of a hangover to occur as the person drinks, preventing relapse.

Take the first step on the road to recovery. Call an addiction specialist today and discover that change is possible.