Detox can be one of the most challenging parts of recovery. Fortunately, professional detox centers and rehab facilities offer patients the opportunity to withdraw from addictive substances in the least painful and safest way possible.
What are Withdrawals?
Withdrawals, as they are commonly known, are what occur when individuals stop ingesting a substance they have been addicted to. Withdrawals symptoms can include:
- Feelings of unease
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle pains
The range and severity of symptoms depend on the type of substance abuse as well as the time length of the addiction.
Due to the painful and sometimes life-threatening symptoms of detoxification, we at Landmark Recovery strongly advocate for enrolling in a medically supervised detoxification facility if you are attempting to quit substances.
Why Is Detoxing so Difficult?
Drugs and alcohol create chemical imbalances in the brain that greatly change the way our bodies and brains react to the environment around us. People abuse drugs and alcohol because these substances give us artificial highs. The only problem is, as time goes on, it takes increasing quantities of these substances just to achieve even base-level feelings of normalcy. This is known as increasing tolerance.
It takes time for the body and brain to heal from an addiction correctly. That is why rehab and detox centers will place recovering addicts in a safe, supportive environment for as long as it takes the body to stop suffering from withdrawal symptoms. This process is usually helped along through the use of medication such as buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone.
Prolonged usage of alcohol can lead to a severe physical dependence on alcohol just to function. Detox from alcohol can be carried out in a private residential clinic or home detox, but it is strongly recommended that alcohol detox is done in a medically supervised setting due to the possibility of death and seizure.
Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances to detox from because of the symptoms that can occur, which include possible brain damage, seizures, and heart palpitations. Of all substances, withdrawal from alcohol is known for being the most dangerous due to these side effects.
If you try to detox from alcohol on your own, without medical supervision and assistance, the process can be very unsafe. The following symptoms can occur:
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Muscle/Body Pain
- High Body Temperature
- Delirium Tremens
Delirium Tremens (DTS) is an especially dangerous part of the alcohol detoxification process. The risk of fatality associated with Delirium Tremens increases with age, as do the odds of experiencing seizures, liver abnormalities, and other medical illnesses.
Sufferers from DTs will experience confusion, sweating, panic attacks, high blood pressure, high temperature, and possible seizures. The medical term was initially coined in 1813, but the symptoms had been well-documented before then. Nicknames for DT include shakes, barrel fever, drunken horrors, elephants, and gallon distemper.
Where to Find Alcohol Detox in Lexington, KY
Detox is typically carried out on an inpatient basis at a residential treatment center. In Kentucky, there are many qualified residential treatment centers available where clinicians will have the medical expertise and resources to create a safe and comfortable detox.
The choice of treatment setting depends on a range of factors, like a person’s:
- Abuse history
- Psycho-social issues
- Co-occurring disorders (dual diagnosis)
Alcohol detox can last anywhere from one day to two weeks.
Enrolling in an inpatient rehab center is the best possible to achieve sobriety safely and efficiently, but it is not always possible for everyone to afford the time or money to do this. An at-home detox may be the next best option for this demographic. However, alcohol detox without medical assistance is the most dangerous.
A Healthcare Provider
If you are suffering from substance abuse issues and wish to seek help, it may be best to consult with your primary care physician first. A doctor will be able to determine if your relationship with substances has inflicted physical damage to your body and if medical care is necessary for you to detox safely.
Primary Care Physicians will be able to refer you to addiction specialists, therapists, and organizations that provide detox services. However, if you are still not able to attend, you can still search for “detox centers near you.”
Rather than asking for a referral, you can search online through several databases of treatment centers that are licensed to treat addiction. SAMHSA offers an online database of licensed substance abuse treatment facilities where you can look up treatment centers near you and filter by the services you want. Simply head to the website, enter your zip, and select detox as a parameter.
Alternatively, you can use your preferred search engine to search for detox centers near you and browse the selection. Check through facility websites like Landmark Recovery of Louisville to ensure that they have medically supervised detox services available and that they are accredited by the Joint Commission, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. If they mention medically supervised detox, also be sure to check that they utilize MAT to help patients through the process.
Common medications that may be given during detox include methadone, buprenorphine, and in serious cases low doses of benzodiazepines and barbiturates. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that detox from CNS depressants such as these only be undertaken with a doctor’s approval and with ongoing medical support. Medical detox is also recommended for alcohol withdrawal because of the potentially life-threatening symptoms.
How Much Will Detox Cost?
The cost of detox depends on the level of services that you need. In a residential setting that offers MAT options such as methadone and buprenorphine, the cost of treatment will likely be higher than in another setting that doesn’t offer these services. Residential detox programs offer 24/7/365 medical supervision and care, which is especially useful for getting through the most painful aspects of withdrawal and ensuring that you do not go back to using again.
Residential care, however, is the most expensive and time intensive. Some individuals may find that detoxing through outpatient therapy while still receiving medical supervision is the best option. Outpatient care is usually more affordable and is a good choice for people with a strong support system at home.
There are many ways you can pay for detox services. As part of the Affordable Care Act, all health insurance carriers in the marketplace are required to incorporate substance abuse services into their coverage plan. The degree of coverage that individuals receive varies from insurance company to holder, but laws are in place to make sure that coverage is as adequate for addiction treatment as it is for other medical needs.
In order to use your insurer to cover detox services, you will need to contact your provider and find out what portion of the costs they will cover and how much you will be responsible for. If you have a chosen detox center in mind, you will have to check and see if it is in-network for your provider. Even with insurance coverage, there is still a likelihood that you will have some out-of-pocket expenses for substance abuse treatment services. Fortunately, there are many treatment centers that allow you to pay in installment plans.
What Happens During Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal occurs when an individual who has consumed excessive alcohol for a prolonged period of time suddenly stops using. Alcohol is a sedative, so generally speaking it will relax the body and induce calmness. Over time, the brain must work in overdrive to overcome the effects of the sedation and achieve a normal functional level. When the body suddenly stops intaking alcohol, the neurotransmitters continue to fire as though they were being subdued, only this time there is nothing to block them. The neurotransmitters firing in overdrive will lead to all sorts of complications.
Another way to think of the process is your brain is a car and alcohol is the brakes. Imagine driving around with one foot on the brakes. If you suddenly take your foot off the brake but continue with the same pedal pressure on the gas, you will be going much faster. It’s also like if two equally balanced people were playing tug of war and one person suddenly dropped the rope, sending the other person flying backward. The most common side effects of alcohol withdrawal are:
- Loss of appetite
- Depression and irritability
The side effects are painful but are not necessarily lethal. The more serious side effects usually only occur in severe alcoholics who have years of continual heavy drinking under their belt. The appearance of any of these withdrawal symptoms should be followed by immediate hospital or treatment admittance.
- Heart Palpitations
- Delirium Tremens (DT)
What is Opioid Withdrawal Like?
Opioid withdrawal can occur within hours of the last dosage, depending on the addict’s situation. The first signs are usually watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, and sweating. Restlessness and irritability accompany these, along with a loss of appetite. As withdrawal peaks, the user suffers from diarrhea, shivering, sweating, cramps, muscle cramps, and increased sensitivity to light and pain. Insomnia and general malaise are also frequent. The symptoms of withdrawal from opioids have been described as similar to the flu, and these physical symptoms can last for a few days to a week.
The more difficult trouble in opiate withdrawal is the longer-lasting mental symptoms. This portion of withdrawal can last for weeks, to months, to years and is characterized by a general lack of purpose, depression, lousiness, and malaise. This could be a result of endorphin production needing time to recover, but could also be caused by a lack of some meaningful activity to replace the drug use. Recovering addicts also face intense cravings that can last for months after initial withdrawal and usually cause a relapse. The parts of the brain responsible for seeking reward are used to a certain level of artificial stimulation that when the substance is removed, it immediately begins firing off the neurotransmitters responsible for anxiety, stress, and panic.
Symptoms of Stimulant Withdrawal
Stimulants increase levels of dopamine in the brain, so it’s no surprise that coming down off the drug is associated with a drop in dopamine levels, fatigue, and mental fogginess. People who take large doses of the drug over prolonged periods of time could potentially develop tolerance and grow to become physically dependent on the pill. The first stages of withdrawal occur when the user begins to feel like the usual doses aren’t working anymore and that if they stop taking the drug, they will be unable to function. Common withdrawal symptoms are:
- Increased Appetite
- Mental Fog
- Suicidal Thoughts
At Landmark Recovery, our experienced medical staff has dealt with a wide range of treatment methods and approaches for substance abuse disorders. If you’re seeking a detox center near Lexington and are concerned for the well-being of yourself or a loved one abusing substances, call our admissions team at 502-309-2675, and they’ll walk you through the process for enrolling in drug or alcohol rehab.
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