Drug Detox Procedures-What to Expect

Drug detox is usually the first step in the drug rehabilitation process. This process mainly entails cleaning off toxins left in the body by drug abuse. This is the most difficult phase of drug rehabilitation for most patients. Even though dealing with drug addiction requires immediate action, detoxification can be quite dangerous when done without proper supervision by qualified personnel. This is mainly because abrupt withdrawal especially from long-term drug abuse may cause cramping, sweating and constipation. On the other hand, extreme cases may result in delirium and possible seizures.

Drug detox procedures

There are four main types of drug detox procedures available for alcoholics and drug addicts to achieve the initial stage of sobriety. However it is vital to understand each type of drug detox procedure, its pitfalls and benefits in order to settle on the best treatment option.

Cold Turkey Drug Detox

This procedure is also known as 'The natural detox". In this procedure, the drug addict or alcoholic undergoes the stage of acute withdrawal in a private setting without any specialized assistance or care. Unfortunately, this method gives the addict very dim chances of breaking the initial stage of acute withdrawal successfully. In most cases, the patients return to their drugs before reaching the critical mass in the recovery efforts.

However, despite its low chances of success, cold turkey is not dangerous when dealing with fairly benign substances such as mild opiate or marijuana addiction. It is vital to note that sudden cessation of the use of some substances may cause life-threatening acute withdrawal symptoms. Such substances include alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates all of which may lead to respiratory arrests, cardiac arrests, seizures, coma or even death in some rare cases.

Since the chances of success significantly low, most experts do not recommend cold turkey drug detox regardless of the substance of abuse.

Specialized Drug Detox Centers

These centers provide specialized inpatient treatment for up to two weeks. Once the patient receives the initial evaluation, they use it to create an individualized treatment plan for their entire stay in the drug detox center. Due to the individualized nature of these treatment plans, some patients need just a few days while others need a week or two. In most cases, these detox facilities collaborate with long term treatment centers where patients are automatically transferred once they get past the acute withdrawal stages successfully.

Specialized detox centers are quite effective due to the therapies employed including group and individual counseling. On the other hand, their success can be attributed to their effectiveness in isolating the patients from things, people and places that may trigger a relapse.

Medical Detox

Medical detox is very similar to the specialized detox center. However, medical detox has a distinct medical component which sets it apart from a specialized detox center. This procedure mainly consists of 24 hour monitoring by an onsite doctor or a full-time nurse plus other medically oriented benefits. Medical detox helps drug addicts to step down their usage of drugs in a bid to ensure medical safety and eliminate or gradually reduce the acute withdrawal symptoms.

Medical detox is the best option for patients who have relapsed repeatedly since subsequent attempts at getting clean usually result in withdrawal symptoms that are more severe and last for longer periods. This is referred to as the Kindling Effect which makes it quite difficult for drug addicts to get clean and also stay clean. Medical detox addresses these issues in a relaxed, safe, and non-judgmental environment.

Rapid Detox

This is a medical detox procedure where the drug addict undergoes most withdrawal symptoms while unconscious. This is mainly accomplished by medically inducing a coma to the patient and administering drugs that facilitate and hasten acute withdrawal. This spares patients the worst withdrawal symptoms by allowing them to commence treatment without the discomfort and pain associated with a long period of withdrawal.

Since the rapid detox procedure is relatively new, it is vital for addicts to consult with their physicians prior to seeking this service from a detox specialist.

Going through drug detox in a specialized medical facility is the best option for alcoholics and drug addicts. This is from a safety standpoint and also because it sequesters the patient away from potential exposure to drug abuse triggers which provides the best possible chance for lasting recovery.