Do I Need Medical Supervision if I need to Detox?
Most addicts find it difficult to overcome the initial withdrawal symptoms that occur at the beginning of a recovery program. Not only is it a challenge to beat the addictive behaviour, but unsupervised detox can be dangerous in some situations.
Medical detox isn’t always required when someone is working through an addiction. The best solution is to talk to an experienced recovery team to determine the right treatment path. Typically, professionals recommend a medical detox if the following conditions are true:
- The person has a physical addiction/dependency on specific chemicals or drugs
- The person’s physical health is at risk due to chemical changes in the body (withdrawal)
- The person’s mental health challenges could result in drastic mood changes or danger to self or others
- The person’s withdrawal pains and discomfort will be severe due to the type of drug that was used
Each situation is unique, so medical detox is catered to individual requirements. For example, a person who uses heroin won’t likely face serious health risks during the detox period, but medical support is always beneficial to reduce withdrawal pain, discomfort and chance of relapse. On the other hand, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening at times, which is why a supervised detox is usually necessary.
What to Expect During a Medical Detox
The initial healing can begin when you spend time in a detox centre staffed with medical experts. This 24/7 care is personalized for each member, based on a range of assessments.
The purpose of full support is to improve safety while dealing with acute physical symptoms that result due to withdrawal. When the drug or alcohol use stops, then the body will react with a variety of physical and mental symptoms that vary for each person.
During this treatment, the symptoms can range from mild to severe. The mild withdrawal symptoms might include insomnia or tremors, while severe withdrawals can include delirium, seizures, and hyperactivity.
It is important that you offer full transparency when arriving at a detox center to ensure the best benefits from the treatment program. Omitting information might lead to health issues or improper dosages of medications that are used to manage the withdrawal symptoms.
How long will it take to detox?
The detox period varies depending on the substances that were used and the severity of the addiction. Sometimes, a detox can be achieved within a matter of days; then the person can move to the next stage of outpatient treatments.
On the other hand, there are often circumstances that require several weeks. Medications can be administered to help with the process of weaning off the drugs or alcohol. It takes time to reduce these dosages safely to protect physical and mental health.
Many people experience Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) that can last between six and twelve months. Even though the intense withdrawal symptoms pass after the initial detox, ongoing medical attention is required to help the person navigate the ongoing symptoms that might surface.
Continuing Treatment After Detox
Medically supervised detox is important to break the physical symptoms of withdrawal, but this process isn’t usually enough to achieve long-term sobriety. So, it is common for a full addiction recovery program to include the initial in-patient medical detox, followed by personalized counselling and other outpatient services.
It is common for people to walk away from a medical detox feeling the best they’ve felt in years. But, these feelings can be short-lived if a program isn’t in place for ongoing addiction treatment. Continuing care not only helps each person reintegrate into daily responsibilities and relationships, but the comprehensive plan also supports the individual with strategies for long-term success. The goal is to make it possible for a person to maintain a happy, healthy, sober life.