When a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol makes the decision to get sober, there are a lot of smaller choices that need to be made. One of those decisions is whether or not it is necessary to enter a detoxification program prior to attending an inpatient rehabilitation facility. It might seem easier to bypass detox and simply move on to rehab, but there are several factors that might make detox a smarter choice to kick off a recovery program. Detox is not necessary for everyone, but it is important to do your research and find out if it might be right for you.
What Is Detox and What Does It Entail?
Detoxification, or detox, is the process in which addicts or alcoholics rids their bodies of the toxins that they accumulated while abusing drugs or alcohol. In order to go through detox, the user must abstain completely from using drugs or alcohol, allowing his or her body the time to clean itself out and find its original balance.
During a medical detox, the addict will enter an inpatient facility so medical professionals can observe him or her during the detox process. There are some instances in which detox can cause potentially dangerous or life threatening reactions, and having a doctor present may be necessary. In the event of an adverse reaction to the detox process, medical monitoring can possibly save the life of the addict.
Which Drugs Are Most Likely to Cause a Dangerous Reaction to Detox?
There are some substances that can cause discomfort during detox but pose no real danger to the addict. In those cases, there is no need to enroll in a medical detox program before heading to rehab; some rehabilitation centers may even allow addicts to detox at their facility, provided there is no need for medical assistance. There are other drugs, though, that can cause side effects that are dangerous or even lethal, and in these particular situations, it is highly recommended that the addict go through a proper medical detox. Even if the user only abuses these substances occasionally, they may still benefit from detoxing in a medical facility.
Alcohol, heroin and other opiates and prescription narcotics can all cause a reaction that could put the recovering addict in danger. Some side effects may include nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, trembling, seizures and comas. If these symptoms are not properly addressed, they could prove to be fatal.
How Can a Medical Detox Program Keep a Detoxing Addict Safe?
When a patient attends a medical detoxification facility, they are observed around the clock by medical professionals for the duration of their detox. Doctors and nurses check the addict’s vitals regularly as well as evaluate their mental and physical well-being as they detox. In some instances, medication can be administered to take the edge off the withdrawal symptoms, wean the addict off of the substance that they are quitting and prevent them from having seizures.
The final decision on whether to attend an inpatient medical detox should be made on a case by case basis. A drug or alcohol recovery program is very personal, and every person is different. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, call our helpline at 877-929-6887.