Essential Information About Drug Detox – Withdrawal Symptoms And Programs

Written on:October 17, 2012
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Drug detox is the initial step in an all-inclusive rehab program that provides all the tools needed for recovery.

Detoxification focuses on physiological healing following long-term addiction to drugs, first through stabilization followed by detoxification.

After stabilization, detox focuses on the body processes as it frees itself from the drug of choice as well as treating the resulting withdrawal symptoms.

It should be noted that detox is not a full treatment for drug addiction regardless of the drug of choice.



Since addiction is both physical and psychological in nature it is important for patients to undergo a psycho-therapeutic treatment to address changes made to the brain by chronic drug abuse and the issues of cravings.

Detox on its own might help patients to stop the abuse of alcohol and drugs, but if there is no therapy and follow-up care, relapse soon follows and this increases the chances of going back to a full-blown addictive behavior.


The Initial Stage of Drug Detox

Initial hours and days of detox may be intense for most patients and psychiatric and medical staff has to be well prepared to offer effective support.

Patients might experience a number of issues in the initial hours of detoxification and the most urgent have to be addressed immediately followed by the less urgent until full stabilization is achieved.

Among the possible issues there is violence. Some patients are a danger to others and they may require sedation and at times restraint so as to protect them and the medical providers.

Symptoms of psychosis are another possible issue and patients experiencing it might behave erratically and are capable of hurting themselves or others hence the issue should be addressed before proceeding with treatment. Other issues are injuries, medical illnesses and threat to self.

Once these acute issues are assed and identified, they are treated until the patient is stabilized. At that time, attention can turn to proactively dealing with withdrawal symptoms that are associated with detox.


Drug Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Different drugs have different withdrawal symptoms. Besides, specific withdrawal symptoms and their intensity vary from one patient to another depending on a number of things including: the length of addiction, combination of drugs abused and existence of co-occurring mental or physical disorders.

The common withdrawal symptoms affecting patients regardless of their drug of choice may include sleep disturbances, mood disturbances, cravings and physical issues like sweating, tremors and chills.

It should be noted that different drugs may cause substance-specific withdrawal symptoms alongside those listed above. Regardless what your drug of choice is, it is safe to get detox at a reliable medical facility as opposed to getting it at home.

This is because withdrawal symptoms can at times lead to serious health issues and complications that need immediate medical attention.


Types of Drug Detox

There are different types of detox and some are more appropriate than others depending on the withdrawal symptoms that a patient is experiencing and the drug of choice.

Some choices include outpatient detox, opiate detox, inpatient detox, alcohol detox and psychological withdrawal and detox. To get the best kind of detox for your needs, you should discuss the details of your situation with your medical and therapeutic team.


Drug Detox Methods

You might have different choices in drug detox methods depending on your drug of choice. There is no single method that is right for everyone.

Instead, the kind of drug detox method that is most suitable for you is determined by your drug of choice, the duration that you have been using the drug, whether you are using other drugs or not, and the dose you are having when you start detox.

There is the ‘cold turkey’ detox, where you stop using all drugs and substances and only use medical supervision to help you in case there is an emergency. Here, there is no pharmacological help whatsoever, and you experience the full burden of withdrawal symptoms for the time they last.

Other drug detox methods you can opt for are short-term or long-term medical detox.

Whatever type of drug detox method you choose, it is imperative that you opt for a method that is performed under a medical professional’s supervision and follow ups with psychotherapeutic treatment.

This is important as you will be guided where necessary and attended to promptly in case there is an emergency.

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