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Medical detox is a process in which alcohol or another drug is cleared from the body under the supervision of trained medical professionals. The medical detox process is often needed to prevent uncomfortable or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms from arising.
In medical detox programs, medications are administered by trained healthcare professionals to limit and control the symptoms of alcohol and drug withdrawal. The process helps to reduce physical symptoms so that individuals can overcome the acute temptation to drink or use drugs. In the case of alcohol, medical detox is necessary to give the body time to recover as ethanol leaves the system. By lessening the side effects of acute withdrawal, detox helps to increase the chances of a successful recovery. Call Drug Treatment Centers Metuchen at (732) 226-8908 to find out more about our programs.
Alcohol blunts the nervous system’s ability to react to stimuli, so the nervous system responds by becoming more sensitive. When alcohol is suddenly withdrawn, the amped-up nervous system is hyperactive until it can lower its sensitivity. During this period of hyperactivity, individuals can suffer hallucinations, dangerously high blood pressure, seizures, and even stroke. Additionally, the symptoms of withdrawal can be so severe and the cravings so intense that detox without medical assistance can actually trigger relapse. Attempts to detox at home often lead to “the shakes,” which prompt individuals to drink to relieve symptoms. The result is a worsening of the cycle of addiction.
• Opiates (e.g. heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin, and morphine) bind to receptors in the CNS and digestive tract. By binding to these receptors, opiates decrease pain response, lower breathing rates, cause euphoria (happiness), reduce GI motility (e.g. constipation, reduced appetite), and can even cause hallucinations. Withdrawal is characterized then by increased pain response, rapid breathing, depression, and diarrhea.
• Meth withdrawal symptoms include irritability, depression, fatigue, anxiety, and inability to concentrate. Hallucinations are not uncommon and people generally feel “achy.” Other symptoms include sleep disorders and difficulties with thinking and memory.
• Klonopin detox is characterized by sweating, tremors, anxiety, and muscle cramps. In severe cases, it leads to seizures, hallucinations, and psychosis. Withdrawal from Klonopin can be life threatening.
Prescription medications can be used to ease withdrawal symptoms and to control cravings. Medications that reduce cravings are an important aspect of relapse prevention. Here are the medications most commonly used to treat addiction.
• Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) is used to treat opiate addiction. Buprehorphine is a synthetic opioid while naloxone is an opiate-receptor blocker that reverses the effects of opioids like heroine. Suboxone helps to ease withdrawal symptoms by helping individuals to slowly weaning off of narcotics.
• Methodone is an opioid with a long duration of action, which makes it less addictive. It simply extends detoxification periods to reduce the occurrence of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
• Naltrexone reverses the effects of opioids and is often used in overdose (respiratory depression, etc.). It can help to control withdrawal symptoms, particularly when combined with other medications.
• Antabuse, also called disulfiram, is used to treat alcohol addiction. When combined with alcohol, it causes unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms. Over time, Antabuse leads people to associate alcohol with illness, which can help control cravings.
• Neurontin, also called gabapentin, is an anti-seizure mediation. It can be used to control seizures during withdrawal, but is also effective in relieving nerve pain.
• Buproprion (Zyban) is an anti-depressant (an SSRI to be specific) medication that can help to control cravings and reduce substance dependence. It is particularly effective for smokers.
The essence of residential treatment is that addiction is a serious disorder that requires serious medical and psychological treatment. Complex conditions require a team of professionals to cover the range of expertise necessary for successful treatment. Addiction is no exception and so residential treatment is often the most effective means of rehabilitation. Call Drug Treatment Centers Metuchen at (732) 226-8908 to find out more about our inpatient rehab program and the many ways we can help you overcome your substance dependence.
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