When is medical detox in addiction treatment necessary?  The initial step of drug rehab treatment programs is drug detox. The purpose of drug detox is to rid your body of the traces of drugs in your system. In some cases, rehab patients may experience drug detox without the use of medications. A modern term for this method is ‘cold turkey.’ Under the supervision of medical professionals, patients are taken off the substances without using prescription drugs to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

Another method is to use prescription medication to assist with drug detoxification. This process is referred to as medical detoxification. Depending on the substance and extent of abuse, patients may be placed in this type of detoxification program.

Using prescription drugs is not the best method for every person who has a substance abuse problem. However, some patients will find it necessary to enroll in a medical drug detox program.

Reasons for Medical Detox in Addiction Treatment

If you have an addiction to alcohol, you may find it necessary to enroll in a medical drug detox program. Consuming large quantities of alcohol sedates your brain. As a result, your brain begins to compensate for this sedation by producing a substance that is similar to adrenaline. This action enables your brain to adjust to the sedation caused by alcohol.

When you enter rehab, the first step will be to detoxify your body from the effects of the alcohol. If you quit the alcohol cold turkey, your brain will respond by producing larger amounts of the adrenaline-like substance. Your body will experience the following symptoms.

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Body tremors
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Stroke or Heart Attack

Using medications to detox from alcohol lessens the effects of withdrawal symptoms. Instead of shocking your body into withdrawal, your body will gradually go through the withdrawal process.  This process is tricky because the person can become dependent on some of the maintenance drugs used that are designed to control cravings.

Cocaine Abuse

Depending on the extent and frequency of cocaine abuse, patients may greatly benefit from detox with medications. Going through withdrawal from cocaine can pose serious health threats. Patients who withdraw from cocaine experience depression, extreme fatigue, irritability, and apathy.

Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse

If you are addicted to a prescription drug like Oxycontin or heroin, medical professionals may suggest a medical prescription detox program to help you handle the symptoms of withdrawal. People who are addicted to these types of drugs may experience hot sweats, cold sweats, muscle and joint pain, vomiting, nausea, insomnia, flu-like symptoms, and diarrhea.

Medical detox in addiction treatment is recommended on a case by case basis. Some people in each of the categories of addiction may do well without it.  There are other options available such as faith-based, Native American, self-help and many other programs.

Once you have selected a drug treatment center, medical professionals will develop a plan for your detoxification. They will review your addiction and medical history to determine the best type of detox for you.

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