Medical Detox

Medical Detox

If you or a loved one is considering a self-detox, without the help of professionals, are you aware of the dangers? Here’s how a medical detox can help!
Substance abuse is a serious problem that affects millions of Americans each year.

The abuse of drugs and alcohol also leads to $740 billion spent per year in expenses related to health care, crime, and a loss of productivity at work.

Have you been struggling with an addiction? Are you finally ready to get sober?

If you answered, “yes” to either of those questions, you might also be thinking about just giving up your drug of choice cold turkey and waiting out the detox period.

Many people take this approach, but it can actually be incredibly dangerous and can make it harder for you to remain sober.

It is important to understand the risks, and never try to detox alone at home.

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Dangers of Self-Detoxification

At-home detox often seems like a good option for those who are thinking about getting sober.

Many people think that they will be more comfortable detoxing in their own home. They may also feel that due to the negative stigmas that surround addiction, detoxing alone will help them to avoid being judged.

The truth, though, is that there are a lot of risks associated with self-detoxification from drugs or alcohol. Some of the most well-known risks include:

  1. Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person gives up any kind of drug cold turkey, they will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the length of time they were using the drug prior to quitting, the withdrawal symptoms could be quite severe.

Some common withdrawal symptoms people might experience include:

  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Digestive discomfort (nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, etc.)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficult focusing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seizures

Sometimes, these symptoms only last for a few days. In other cases, they can last for weeks. Without medical supervision, some of the symptoms (or side effects brought on by them) could be fatal.

  1. Persistent Psychological Issues

In addition to the physical symptoms of withdrawal, most people will also likely experience a variety of psychological symptoms. These symptoms include panic attacks, mood swings, severe anxiety, depression, and even psychotic events or hallucinations.

Often, these psychological symptoms can be even more serious than the physical symptoms that accompany withdrawal.

This is because psychological issues can persist for much longer than physical symptoms, which start to fade within a few days or weeks after the last use of the drug of choice.

  1. Increased Relapse Rate

When detoxing alone, even if it’s possible to make it through the withdrawal symptoms, there is still the possibility of an increased relapse rate.

Individuals who detox and seek treatment at an inpatient facility have higher rates of success. This is due, in part, to the increased amount of support they have available to them during treatment.

The difference in relapse rates between those who seek treatment and those who don’t is quite significant, too.

The results of one study, which observed nearly 500 participants, showed that 62.4% of individuals who received treatment were in remission three years after the fact. The same was true for only 43.4% of those who did not receive treatment.

  1. Increased Risk of Overdose

As soon as a person stops consuming their drug of choice with the frequency with which they once used it, the body will begin to lose the tolerance that developed during frequent use. This means the body will be more sensitive to the drug than when it was being used regularly.

When a person loses their tolerance, the risk of overdose increases. If they use drug again at the same dose at which they were taking it before, there’s a good chance they will overdose. This could send a person to the hospital or even be fatal.

Working with a professional in a medical detox facility can help resist the urge to continue using drugs or alcohol again. Not only does this decrease the risk of relapsing, but it also decreases the risk of a fatal overdose.

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Benefits of Medical Detox

Clearly, there are a lot of reasons to avoid detoxing alone at home. Instead, it’s best to seek help at a qualified medical detox facility.

There are a lot of benefits that come with choosing this approach, including the following:

  • 24-hour access to medical professionals
  • Access to medication that will help lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms
  • Ability to recover in a safe, secure place
  • Ability to avoid triggers and temptations during the most vulnerable part of recovery
  • Access to other addiction recovery resources, including mental health counseling and group support meetings

Of course, there is also the added benefit of a reduced risk of relapsing and overdosing. Medical detox facilities are heavily controlled, and there won’t be access to any substances that could trigger a relapse or make the condition worse.

Find the Right Medical Detox Facility

In order to experience the benefits of medical detox, it’s crucial to choose the right medical detox facility.

Here are some tips to help choose the best option:

Determine the specific needs, and the services the facility provides (counseling, activities, etc.)

  • Consider program cost and treatment quality
  • Check certifications like Joint Commission Accredited or state licensing approvals
  • Ask whether they accept insurance
  • Ask about the staff members’ training and experience
  • Ask about relapse prevention strategies

It’s also a good idea to choose a facility that offers aftercare services that to utilize even after finishing treatment. This might include things like counseling and job placement services.

Begin Medical Detox Today

As mentioned above, there are a lot of reasons to choose medical detox over self-detoxification.

Medical detox provides access to the support needed to get, and stay sober. It also helps to avoid many of the dangerous symptoms people experience as they begin the detoxification process.

Are you ready to begin a medical detox? If so, we can help at Recovery Resource Center.

We have a variety of resources available to give you the knowledge and support to overcome your addiction. Start by checking out the Frequently Asked Questions on our site to learn more about addiction and the many options for treatment.

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