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Drugs That Require Medical Detox

Drugs that require medical detox can be particularly dangerous for individuals suffering from addiction who try to quit without professional help. These substances can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, leading to permanent health complications if not managed correctly. Understanding which drugs require medical detox can help individuals make informed decisions about their treatment plan and ensure they are getting the best care possible.

What Is Drug Detoxification?

Medical detox is a supervised process designed to help individuals safely and effectively withdraw from drug or alcohol addiction. The goal is to make individuals as comfortable as possible while going through the withdrawal process. Medication can sometimes be prescribed to diminish symptoms. 

Medical detox takes place at a specialized addiction treatment facility and consists of licensed medical professionals and a support team to provide around-the-clock care. These individuals are experienced in providing the necessary help during drug or alcohol detoxification.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on several factors, including the specific drug taken, the length of use, and the amount used. However, most withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe and include nausea, irritability, headaches, vomiting, anxiety, sweating, and difficulty sleeping. 

Some of these withdrawal symptoms can become extremely severe and involve hallucinations or even seizures, especially from heroin, meth, or opioid addiction/opioid dependence. However, even alcohol withdrawal can cause dangerous symptoms. Receiving care from a medical detox team can significantly reduce these symptoms while keeping you healthy and safe.

Some drugs are more likely to require participation in a medical detox program than others. Those include:

  • Alcohol
  • Benzos
  • Heroin
  • Opioids

Detoxification From Alcohol

Alcohol addiction often requires medical detox due to the potential dangers of alcohol withdrawal. When an individual suddenly stops heavy and prolonged alcohol use, it can lead to a range of withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors, hallucinations, seizures, and even delirium tremens. Medically supervised detoxification ensures the safety and well-being of individuals going through alcohol withdrawal.

Detoxification From Benzos

Benzodiazepines, commonly prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders, are central nervous system depressants with a high potential for abuse and dependence. When abruptly stopping the use of benzodiazepines, it can result in severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures and delirium tremens. Medically assisted detox is necessary to safely taper off benzodiazepine use and manage the commonly associated withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxification From Heroin

Heroin, an illegal opioid derived from the opioid poppy plant, is highly addictive and poses significant health risks. When an individual abuses heroin for even a short period of time and then decides to stop using, it can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Medically assisted detox is crucial for individuals battling heroin addiction to address these withdrawal symptoms safely and effectively.

Detoxification From Opioids

Prescription opioids, including medications like OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, fentanyl, morphine, and codeine products, are highly addictive substances. These drugs bind to opioid receptors in the brain, blocking pain sensations and producing calming and euphoric effects. Due to their high potential for abuse and dependency, it is strongly recommended that individuals addicted to opioids seek a medically supervised detoxification program to manage the complex emotional and physical withdrawal symptoms.

What To Expect From Medically Assisted Detox

Medical detox typically lasts from 7 to 14 days. However, the exact timeframe will vary based on the severity of the addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and any co-occurring mental health conditions. While some facilities might claim they provide a rapid detox, the body always needs several days to fully cleanse itself from the drugs.

When you’re admitted into a treatment program, you’ll be fully evaluated by licensed medical professionals. This will ensure the team can provide you with the highest level of care possible for your needs. After the assessment, the medical care team will be with you 24/7 to ensure you stay as comfortable as possible during detox. 

Withdrawal symptoms can begin quickly or several days after the last drug use. Again, this will depend on the specific drug that was taken, the severity of use, how long the drug was being used (for example, weeks vs. years), and current health. Below is a general timeframe of when the withdrawal symptoms can begin:

  • Alcohol: Withdrawal can begin 8 hours to several days after the last drink
  • Ambien: A few hours to days after last use
  • Benzos: 1 to 4 days from the last use
  • Crack: A few hours after use or even a day or two later
  • Cocaine: 8 hours or more after last use
  • Fentanyl: Withdrawal can begin within quickly, often within a few hours
  • Heroin: 12 hours after the last use
  • MDMA: Several days after use
  • Meth: A few hours to a few days
  • Opioids: Opioid withdrawal symptoms typically begin 8 to 12 hours after the last dosage
  • Opiates: A day or more after the last use
  • Oxycontin: A day or more after the last use
  • Prescription Drugs: Withdrawal can often begin within a day or several days after the last dosage

While you’re in the drug detox process, the team will closely monitor your vitals and make sure you’re staying healthy and have everything you need. As mentioned, medications can be prescribed if needed to help reduce the withdrawal symptoms that occur. 

After the initial week or so, the physical withdrawal symptoms tend to diminish, and you’ll be gradually reintroduced to normal activities. You’ll also be able to continue with your journey to sobriety by participating in a variety of evidence-based and holistic therapies. 

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Detox

Medical detox offers several benefits for long-term recovery. It provides a supportive and controlled environment where professionals can monitor and manage withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, medical detox reduces the risk of relapse by making the withdrawal process more comfortable. Following medical detox, individuals can proceed to further addiction treatment, such as residential treatment, to address the psychological and emotional aspects of their addiction.

By receiving medically assisted detox for your drug abuse, you’ll:

  • Experience relief from the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms
  • Have decreased cravings for drugs
  • Reduce your chances of relapse
  • Feel safe and supported during the detox process
  • Experience improved participation levels in therapy programs
  • Overall feel emotionally and physically better and prepared for the next phase of addiction treatment

Detox Safely from Drugs and Alcohol at Malibu Detox

At Malibu Detox, we understand the importance of family support and connection being part of the recovery process for addiction. If you are someone who is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and seeking addiction treatment, our substance abuse treatments serve as a catalyst to help you overcome your addiction and reach the long-term sobriety you need. We accept most major and private insurance plans and work with you to minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

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