What are the benefits of a medically supervised detox? There are many benefits, but the most important ones are related to safety and comfort. However, there are other advantages to a supervised medical detox, too. Medically supervised detox is not necessarily done in a hospital or inpatient facility. As long as it’s safe for you to do so, detoxing at home under medical supervision is always a good option. However, only an addiction treatment professional can determine if at-home detox is safe for you.
Withdrawal from Benzodiazepines and Alcohol
Some types of detox can never be done safely at home without medical supervision. This would include benzodiazepines, which are tranquilizers in the Valium family, barbiturates and alcohol. All can cause life-threatening seizures. Alcohol withdrawal can cause delirium tremens or the DTs, which can also result in seizures, heart attack, stroke and death.
Withdrawal from Opioids and Stimulants
Although these two drug classes are typically safe to withdraw from at home without medical supervision, it’s not a good idea. The symptoms can be severe and extremely hard to tolerate. The failure rate is extremely high. Medically supervised detox will keep you comfortable as your body withdraws. There is no point or benefit to being uncomfortable and suffering through horrible withdrawal symptoms. Opioid withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Extreme weakness
- Inability to eat
- Restless leg syndrome
- Bone and muscle pain
- Cold sweats and insomnia
Opioid withdrawal medications, such as Suboxone and methadone, are available and will often eliminate just about all withdrawal symptoms. This is because these medications work on the same brain receptors that all opioids do, although not in the same exact way. The narcotic in Suboxone, buprenorphine, binds to the brain’s mu opioid receptor just enough to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. It’s long-acting and effective with just one dose per day.
Methadone works similarly. It’s slow-acting and long-lasting as well, with only one daily dose required.
Although the goal of detox is to safely eliminate your drug of choice from your body, this may not always be possible with opioids. This is because these drugs cause physical and chemical changes in the brain that may persist for much longer than the detox period. These changes may result in overwhelming drug cravings. It’s these cravings that typically result in relapse.
Both Suboxone and methadone may be taken long-term to suppress withdrawal symptoms and keep drug cravings at bay. Alternatively, they can be used in the short-term just long enough to complete detox. In that case, the dosage is slowly lowered over time. By the end of the detox, you will be free of both your drug of choice and your withdrawal symptoms.
Both options are available to you. There is no right or wrong choice. It’s all up to you and what you need to stay sober.
Typical amphetamine withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Muscle twitches
- Depression, nightmares and agitation
Amphetamine withdrawal generally begins as with a protracted period of deep sleep. This may last up to 72 hours. After that, severe insomnia sets in. Again, these are miserable symptoms to endure. While there is no specific treatment, such as the Suboxone used for opioid withdrawal, for amphetamines, medications can be prescribed to treat symptoms as they appear.
Your safety and comfort are paramount to your medically supervised detox facility. If you’re not comfortable enough as you progress through detox, speak up. Let the staff know you need more help. That’s their job. Every detox center has a medical director, usually an addiction medicine specialist, and he or she can order changes and additions to your medications to keep you more comfortable.
You should be able to eat, sleep and rest comfortably. If you cannot, ask for more help.
Other Advantages of Medically Supervised Detox
Not only will you get the safest and most comfortable detox experience, detox staff can also recognize and treat underlying medical conditions, especially ones relating to mental health. You may have an undiagnosed depression or anxiety disorder that can be treated with medication and counseling. A very high percentage of people with a substance abuse problem also have a mental health disorder. When this occurs, it’s called dual diagnosis.
Let us Help
If you’d like to attend a medically supervised detox, we can help you find the best facility for your needs right near you. Just call us anytime at 833-846-5669for referrals. We offer hope and help to everyone who calls. It’s what we do.