Medical Detox For Alcohol & Drugs
By Midwest Detox Staff
The term “detox” gets thrown around a lot these days, and it often has nothing to do with actually cleansing your body of drugs or alcohol. You may come across videos or articles about detoxing your body from toxins by following certain diets or drinking more water, but the reality is that a true medical detox is the only way to remove addictive substances from your body. Any other use of the term is somewhat disingenuous and only confuses people searching for a real drug or alcohol detox.
Naturally, if you’re just now learning about medical detox, you probably have a lot of questions. For example, what is the difference between a detox and a medical detox? Is it necessary to seek out a medical detox center for help? What happens during a medical detox? Finally, where can you find effective, medically supervised detox in Wisconsin?
In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at what medical detox is and what to expect if you check into a medical detox clinic:
What Is Medical Detox?
The easiest way to understand medical detox is to separate it from the more general concept of detoxing. Detoxification simply refers to the process of cleansing the body (most often the blood and vital organs) of toxins or impurities that can cause you harm. For example, a person may choose to do a “detox” from sugary drinks. This wouldn’t be a detox in a medical sense, but it would mean that they would stop consuming sugary drinks and give their bodies time to expel the sugar and chemicals (most often through urination).
Medical detox, on the other hand, is a medically supervised process to help people safely cleanse their bodies of addictive substances, while also managing withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox is most often associated with alcohol, as well as addictive drugs like opioids, meth, and cocaine. However, medical detox may be necessary for just about any kind of addictive substance, from black tar heroin to Xanax.
The primary goal of medical detox is to safely cut the patient off from the addictive substance. Depending on the type of substance and the severity of the addiction, medical professionals overseeing the detox may choose to wean the patient off drugs or alcohol gradually. During this time, it is very likely that the patient will experience withdrawal symptoms that can make it very uncomfortable and unpleasant to continue. Some of the most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and tremors, though the type and severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary substantially based on the type of substance(s) being abused.
How Medical Supervised Detox Works
Medically supervised detox generally begins with an initial assessment by trained medical personnel. They will ask you questions about your medical history and behaviors related to substance abuse. You will often need to undergo a medical exam so that the attending medical personnel can create a personalized plan for your detoxification and recovery. In many cases, you will also have the opportunity to discuss your goals for recovery and any special needs that you may have during your stay at the clinic.
Following this initial assessment, you will check into the clinic. During your stay, there will be medically-trained individuals available 24/7. Your condition and behavior will be monitored at all times. In some cases, you may undergo medication-assisted treatment to help reduce the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. The medications involved will vary based on your addiction. For instance, if you’re addicted to opioids, attending physicians may recommend methadone or buprenorphine to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Alternatively, if you’re detoxing from alcohol, you may be prescribed benzodiazepines to reduce the risk of seizures and ease anxiety.
More than anything else, medical detox is intended to keep you safe as your body expels harmful substances. Proper hydration and nutrition are vital during this period, as your body may be struggling to cope with the lack of drugs or alcohol. While medical detox clinics want to keep you as comfortable as possible, they also serve as the first step in your recovery. This means that you might also spend time discussing your addiction with a trained counselor, taking part in holistic wellness activities, or learning coping skills to reduce the risk of relapse.
What Happens When You Detox?
When you cut off access to an addictive substance, your body reacts in a number of ways. Most importantly, the presence of the drug is reduced as your body’s natural processes expel it through sweat, urination, and even respiration. With each hour that passes since the last time you used drugs or alcohol, your body will clear more and more of the substance(s). In medical terms, your body is metabolizing and eliminating these toxic substances. While this is the only way to truly recover from addiction, it also leads to withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal is your body’s reaction to being cut off from drugs that you have become physically and psychologically dependent on. When you become dependent on an addictive substance, your body must work to normalize in its absence. This can cause many unpleasant symptoms (as outlined above), like anxiety, nausea, and even depression. Most medical detoxes last anywhere between 5 and 10 days, but your experience may be shorter or longer based on a variety of factors.
Why Detox Without Medical Supervision Is Dangerous
Detoxing without medical supervision is one of the most dangerous decisions an addict can make. It might be tempting to try to do things on your own or even detox at home with a friend, but this could be a fatal mistake. Here are just a few of the reasons why detoxing without a medical professional can be so dangerous:
- Severe Withdrawal - Severe withdrawal symptoms can be frightening and even life-threatening. For example, if you’re detoxing from alcohol, you could experience delirium tremens (DTs), which could be deadly without proper medical supervision.
- Unexpected Medical Complications - No two detoxes are exactly the same. You could have your blood pressure skyrocket to unsafe levels or experience severe levels of dehydration. Either way, if you don’t have someone constantly monitoring your condition and treating your symptoms as needed, you could face serious medical complications alone.
- Psychological Impact - As previously mentioned, detoxing increases the chances of experiencing anxiety, depression, and other negative psychological effects. These would be much harder to manage without medical professionals nearby.
- Risk of Relapse - Finally, hundreds of studies have shown that the risk of relapse is substantially lower if you go through a medically supervised detox. If you try to detox alone, withdrawal symptoms and cravings make it more likely that you will relapse.
Medical Detox With Midwest Detox
If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, there is no better place to start your recovery than Midwest Detox. At Midwest Detox, we offer a modern, comfortable, and discrete clinic in which to purify your body and overcome withdrawal symptoms safely. Our medical staff will monitor your condition around the clock to keep you safe and ensure that any complications can be treated quickly and effectively. To get your recovery started out on the right foot, reach out to Midwest Detox today.
Are you in need of a private drug and alcohol detox center to begin your recovery? If so, Midwest Detox can provide everything you need to detox in a safe, comfortable environment. Visit our site or call us directly at 414-409-5200 to take the first step toward sobriety.