At the initial examination, it may be difficult to tell; many symptoms of severe substance abuse mimic other psychiatric conditions. At Access, the patient must go through a medication assisted withdrawal from the alcohol and/or drugs to which they are addicted, before the physician can accurately assess the severity of the patient’s psychiatric problem. Until recently, alcoholics and drug addicts dreaded detoxification because it meant a painful and sometimes life-threatening "cold turkey" withdrawal. Now, we are able to give hospitalized substance abusers carefully chosen medications which can substantially ease withdrawal symptoms. Thus, when detoxification is done under medical supervision, it’s safer and less traumatic. While the patient detoxes, depending on their situation, they may begin to undergo psychotherapy and counseling for their emotional disorder.
Detoxification is a crucial and potentially difficult time that deters many individuals from the recovery process. Most patients are highly concerned about withdrawal symptoms and how they will be managed. Depending on the substance and level of abuse, there are various withdrawal symptoms that can cause complications which require the immediate attention of a medical professional. Our patients can rest assured that they are under the 24-hour supervision of trained professionals that are concerned with their safety and comfort.
Medical detox is different from other types of detox in that it involves giving the patient a medication that will have similar effects on the brain as the drug he or she had been abusing, without the dangerous or euphoric side effects. This medication will, in a way, trick the brain and enable the patient to detox without extreme withdrawal symptoms as the dosage is gradually decreased. We will modify your detox treatment to best suit your needs. We monitor this tapering process, and you will be able to complete detox free, or mostly free, of withdrawal symptoms.
Medically-assisted detoxification works to help anyone who suffers from an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Medical detox is a supervised procedure. Under the discretion of your doctor or nurse, you may be given non-addictive medications to remedy various withdrawal symptoms, in addition to nutritional supplements and fluids. These medications will work to keep your physical health intact while your body cleanses itself. Symptoms of your detox might be treated with common medications for blood pressure, anxiety or sleep, or pain and muscle aches. This process is usually complete within a week, although it is largely dependent on your individual condition. We want you to feel comfortable and safe during your detox process so that we can more quickly start you on the road to recovery.
Both your individual level of addiction and your process of detox will determine when your treatment medications begin. For some individuals they must be completely clean prior to beginning treatment, other individuals might slowly begin treatment medications while detoxing. These treatment medications might include, Suboxone or Vivatrol.
Although different in form, both of these prescription medications contain chemicals that act as a “blockers.” They attach to certain opioid receptors in your brain and block the pleasurable feelings associated with taking opioids. Even though these chemicals may block the intense high from opioids, they will not prevent good feelings that come from other naturally pleasurable activities.
After time, the medication will wear off and its blocking effect will slowly decrease until it completely goes away. It is important to know that you should not try to overcome the chemical blockade by taking opioids. Using opioids in the amounts you used before starting your treatment, or even lower amounts than before treatment, could lead to overdose or death.
At the appropriate dose Suboxone or Vivatrol treatment may:
- Suppress symptoms of opioid withdrawal
- Decrease cravings for opioids
- Reduce illicit opioid use
- Block the effects of other opioids
- Help patients stay in treatment
- Make patients less likely to relapse to physical dependence
The answer to this question will depend entirely on the severity of your detoxification treatment programming. Your detox will not necessarily be complete when you begin therapy, as we encourage you to begin the rest of your treatment as soon as possible. These treatment services may include therapy, counseling, and group activities. This part of treatment will help you fight against loneliness that is at times felt while going through a detox program by working alongside other patients going through a similar circumstance.