When we are trying to rid ourselves of addiction to controlled substances, the idea of a prescription-based medical detox may seem strange. It might seem weird for a care team to suggest taking more drugs when that is the thing we want to get away from. But it is important to remember a few things. First, legal, short-term prescriptions given by medical providers are safe to use as prescribed. Second, drug cessation without treatment for withdrawal symptoms is dangerous and should be avoided.
The reason we call it “medical detox” is that the abuse of controlled substances is toxic to the body in ways we may not realize. This toxicity leads to fundamental neurological and cardiovascular changes and damage. When treating substance use disorder (SUD), medical detox allows the care team to provide an off-ramp for the patient. In this case, the patient can cease using drugs without fear of major health consequences.
At Restoration Recovery, medical detox is one of several ways we help clients reach sobriety. No matter how severe an addiction a client may face, a supervised medical detox ensures that withdrawal symptoms can be minimized. Still, the quality of care remains throughout the medical detox. Addictions to drugs and alcohol can be defeated with the right treatment methods. This gives the client a foundation of treatment that allows them to move forward toward lifelong sobriety with confidence.
Neurobiology and Medical Detox
Drug use does not just damage the body, it changes the way the brain and cardiovascular system work. The human body is remarkably resilient. As one part of it is damaged, our bodies reroute vital functions. If the heart suffers injury in one valve, it reroutes blood flow through other valves in an attempt to continue normal function. In the same way, when the brain suffers damage it also attempts to compensate by rerouting around the injury.
Drug use injures the brain and changes how our brains function. When we abuse controlled substances, the drugs act on our brains in a specific way to stimulate the pleasure center. Over time, the brain becomes dependent on drugs for pleasure, resulting in a serious imbalance. This does not revert to normal when we cease using drugs. Instead, it heightens the risk of relapse.
In addition, without stimulation from the drugs, the brain may react in serious ways. This can be mild symptoms, or it can escalate to seizure and stroke. Medical detox comes into play when this happens. Medically assisted management of addiction cessation helps us to keep serious consequences from occurring in clients. The medications used in medical detox help to reduce withdrawal symptoms that can result in serious injury or death.
What Is Medical Detox?
Listed below, the steps of medical detox allow a care team to incrementally treat withdrawal symptoms and move clients on a path to care. Medical detox is usually performed in three steps: evaluation, stabilization, and entry into treatment:
- Evaluation: During this stage, the patient is evaluated by the medical care team. They will determine which drugs and in what amounts are in the patient’s bloodstream and what medical and mental health conditions should be taken into account.
- Stabilization: During this stage, the patient receives medical and acute care for their withdrawal symptoms and other conditions. In the intervention stage, it is here that the patient is stabilized so that they can continue in other aspects of treatment later on.
- Entry into Treatment: Once the patient has moved beyond their withdrawal symptoms, they begin a period of education. Here they move into the program at large, beginning their treatment participation and, moving beyond the shadow of addiction, learning how to live without it.
As we can see, the steps of medical detox create a comprehensive approach to treatment. This approach utilizes specialized care from the treatment facility to gain insights into the patient’s needs. Ultimately, it allows the client to move past the initial phase of withdrawal and onto the path to treatment.
Treating Addiction Successfully With Medical Detox
Drug addiction can be successfully treated, and medical detox is one of the ways we accomplish this. Treatment, however, is not a cure. Addiction is a chronic disease that we must continue to treat long after drugs are used. The neurological changes we discussed may not be reversible. Clients who use controlled substances may always face challenges with addictive behaviors.
The reason we use medications as a way to treat SUD is as much to ensure the patient’s safety as to ensure their success. Medical detox is just one of the ways a care team may holistically treat addiction in the individual. When we include medical detox in the treatment plan of the client, we are treating every part of the client. With the integration of medical detox into holistic therapy, we build well-rounded care that leads clients to a sound recovery process.
Proven Success With Medication-Assisted Treatment
The primary way we employ medical detox is with the integration of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The idea of this treatment format is that medications for withdrawal should be combined with counseling techniques to ensure a holistic treatment approach. In addition, it relies on the medications approved for substance use treatment by the FDA as a guideline for practitioners.
Medications are then combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) designed to change the individual’s behavior norms. This can greatly improve the chances of clients overcoming their dependence on controlled substances and leading healthy, productive lives. When medication and counseling are combined, we find the most effective form of treatment comes together.
No matter our journey, medical detox at Restoration Recovery may be the next step in our journey to lifelong sobriety. With MAT, we have proven success in a safe withdrawal and step down to a life without the burden of addiction.
Despite what you may have heard or seen, it is never recommended to quit addictions to drugs or alcohol “cold turkey.” In fact, detoxing without the medical assistance of a professional care team can result in serious consequences to your health, even death. No matter what type of addiction you are facing, whatever the severity, medically supervised detox programs are your best and safest bet. When you detox with medication and with the proper care, you can break the hold addiction has over you and look forward to lifelong sobriety. In doing so, you set yourself up for success throughout your treatment program. For more information on medical detox, call Restoration Recovery at (888) 290-0925 today.