Medical Detoxification, often simply called “detox,” involves carefully tapering the body from the harmful side effects of substance withdrawal. The medical detoxification process may be uncomfortable, but it is crucial in achieving improved health and wellness and is an important step in rehabilitation and recovery.
What is Medical Detox?
Landmark Recovery’s detoxification program exists to manage moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms associated with patients withdrawing from alcohol, opiates, and sedatives. The detoxification program also serves to prepare the patient for appropriate ongoing treatment with the goal of restoring the patient to a healthy and sober state of life.
Depending on the severity of the addiction and type of substances that have been used, Landmark clinicians may prescribe specific supplements designed for detoxification, including food and drink as well as prescription medication. Depending on usage history and intensity, detoxification often lasts for the first 10 days of treatment.
At Landmark, our detoxification period is monitored 24/7 by registered clinicians, with both a psychiatrist and an internal medicine specialist rounding on the patient daily and available on call throughout the day and night, as needed.
Depending on the patient, Landmark Recovery may recommend the use of medication to assist the withdrawal process. Typically, these medicines help to mitigate the negative side effects of drug and alcohol withdrawal and along with clinical monitoring eliminates the possibility of death or relapse during this period. Some examples of commonly used detox medicines include:
Suboxone is a combination of two different drugs: buprenorphine (an opioid activator) and naloxone (an opioid antagonist). This combination of opposing forces provides a way for addicts to gradually wean themselves off of their pre-existing addiction while minimizing the effects that full-on withdrawal would otherwise trigger. Suboxone is administered with a light film or pill and is intended for the treatment of opioid dependence.
Buprenorphine, while used as a part of Suboxone, can also be administered by itself. Buprenorphine works with the same opioid receptors that heroin affects, but it is limited and not nearly as potent. Buprenorphine is effective during medical detoxification for withdrawal and cravings.
Campral has been on the market since it was initially approved by the FDA in 2004 and is generally used during alcohol detox treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Campral has been shown in clinical studies to be an effective tool for patients to achieve long-term sobriety from alcohol. It works by stimulating the GABA receptors in the brain, similar to benzodiazepines, while also subduing the NMDA receptors. This makes a withdrawal from alcohol easier to cope with, restoring the brain to a stable state.
Anticonvulsants and Anti-Nausea Medications
Withdrawal from drugs can induce serious physical side effects including seizures, nausea, and diarrhea. Clinicians will administer appropriate levels of anticonvulsant and anti-nausea medications to ease the patient’s transition during one of the most difficult parts of recovery. These include Gabapentin, Tegretol, Zofran, and Dramamine to name a few.
Is Detox Dangerous?
Detox can be a dangerous and potentially life-threatening process. Withdrawal from alcohol can produce complications such as convulsions, where the body goes into epileptic seizures, and cardiac arrhythmia, where the heart goes into spasms, two possibly fatal outcomes for heavy drinkers who go cold turkey. This is why hospitals and treatment centers will sometimes advise individuals to continue drinking before checking in for treatment.
At Landmark Recovery, patient withdrawal is medically managed in a residential setting and 24/7 care providers are available to monitor for possibly life-threatening withdrawal symptoms such as seizures and DT’s.
What is Medical Detox Like?
Upon admission, Landmark staff will perform a comprehensive history and physical exam and psychiatric exam on the patient. A discharge plan will also be crafted to ensure that appropriate care continues after detoxification. Within 24 hours, the intake clinician or primary addiction counselor will complete a biopsychosocial evaluation and compile a Master Treatment Plan for the patient’s duration. The patient’s family members will be brought in to discuss the appropriate ongoing treatment options.
Patients will be discharged from the medical detoxification program when the following criteria are met:
- Patient no longer meets all elements of medical necessity as defined by the ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) criteria for addictive, substance-related, and co-occurring conditions.
- The individual and family are not involved to the best of their ability in the treatment and discharge planning process and there is no reasonable chance of improving this condition
- The patient is actively suicidal, demonstrates violent behavior, has an acute, life-threatening illness or condition that requires transfer, or the patient is pregnant.
How Can I Get More Information?
Call our confidential admissions line at 888-448-0302. We can often arrange for you to begin treatment within a few days.