Drug addiction is a multi-layered psychosocial phenomenon (read WVD article if you need more information about drug addiction), and thus, there should be little surprise to learn that the drug detoxification process can be equally complex - keep on reading this article to explore a drug detox guide by the professionals. The detoxification process mostly involves the elimination of drug or alcohol substances from the body. While there is no single crowning definition that encompasses every facet of drug detoxification.
Some experts, in the field of alcohol and drug abuse, share a professional mission to track medical efforts in the field of drug treatment as a means of improving drug prevention, recognition, and treatment on a national scale. Detoxification is a medical intervention process that safely helps a substance abuser through the experience of acute withdrawal. Also, detoxification is a means to final recovery, however, it is not an end in itself, as long as after detoxification, recovering drug abusers can aid the recovery process by entering and staying in a treatment plan.
How to Identify the Drug Problem?
The first step is to look at the face of addiction, then considering whether drug abusers are finding their way into treatment. As long as there is not a 1:1 ratio of drug abusers to persons in treatment, there is a growing drug problem in the United States. During the last 10 years, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 23.5 million people aged 12 or older were in need of treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol problem, but only 2.6 million of these people were in treatment at specialty centers. Drug abuse continues to carry a social stigma, and it is often not a transparent activity. For this reason, one of the most reliable sources of information on drug abuse comes from emergency room intakes. Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) is a public health surveillance system that requires SAMHSA to review emergency room visits from participating hospitals that involved recent drug use. Also, the Drug Abuse Warning Network did the following researches:
- Drug problems continue to rise. Of all 125 million emergency room visits falling within the purview of DAWN guidelines, more than five million visits were drug-related (including misuse and non-misuse) – a 100-percent increase from 2004.
- Age remains a factor in drug use. In the age group of 6-11 years, drug-related emergency room visits amounted to 288 per 100,000 in the population compared to 2,477 visits per 100,000 in the population aged 18 to 20 years.
- In the 18-20 age group, drug misuse is often the reason for the drug-related emergency room visit. For instance, in the 18-20 age group, while 2,477 overall had a drug-related visit, over 1,500 presented with drug misuse or abuse.
- The trend of drug misuse exists across most of the age groups studied. Of all the age groups studied, there was greater drug misuse than non-misuse in the following age categories: 12-17, 18-20, 21-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-44, and 45-54.
- The incidence of drug misuse is high. Approximately 2.5 million of the emergency room visits that were drug-related involved drug misuse or abuse.
Detoxification in general is considered to be the first step from drug treatment. It apparent the psychological burden of detoxification for the people who have a drug addiction. Not only may he fear the loss of the drug itself, but also the possibility of undesirable physical, emotional, and mental effects because of the withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur when the body becomes habituated to a substance that is consumed over a long enough period of time and then either stopped completely or radically reduced in dosage.
Medical professionals should be consulted prior to beginning any course of detoxification. In many cases, those undergoing detox should be supervised by consulting physicians to ensure health and safety throughout the process.
Medically Managed Detoxification
Medical professionals trained in detoxification treatment can help treat the undesirable effects of withdrawal. Often, the detoxification process includes medications to manage unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and thus make the process safer and more tolerable for the patient. Drug detox management medications can be administered both at inpatient and outpatient facilities.
Medication treatments for withdrawal are linked to the particular type of substance that was abused, the length of time of the abuse, and the volume of intake. Some common types of treatments, based on particular drugs, are as follows:
- Opioid withdrawal. The U.S. The Food and Drug Administration has approved both methadone and buprenorphine (forms include Subutex and Suboxone) for the treatment of opioid addiction.
- Benzodiazepine withdrawal. Strategies include the patient continuing to take benzodiazepines in gradually decreasing amounts, switching to another benzodiazepine, or phenobarbital substitution.
- Stimulant withdrawal. There are no FDA-approved medications acting as antagonists for cocaine addiction treatment. However, inpatient detox programs may utilize benzodiazepines to treat withdrawal from cocaine and methamphetamines. Although benzodiazepines can be addictive, they are prescribed to calm the effects of stimulant withdrawal largely because of the lack of other medication alternatives.
A 2012 John Hopkins study found that while the relapse rate post-detox is 65 to 80 percent, recovering drug addicts who remained in treatment were 10 times more likely to stay drug-free. The level of time commitment to treatment is also an important factor. Research demonstrates that there is a direct correlation between the length of time in treatment and the rate of relapse. In other words, a commitment to treatment has a high rate of return for recovering drug abusers and can be an effective way to combat the perilous odds of relapse.
Treatment must be controlled for quality. The recovery process is not only about being in treatment but also about being in an effective treatment program. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has provided the following guidelines to assist recovering drug abusers and their loved ones in evaluating the effectiveness of treatment programs:
- Treatment plans should not be based on a one-size-fits-all approach and must be appropriately tailored to the patient’s needs.
- Treatment plans should interact with the patient not only on the physical level of addiction, but also take into account her psychology, social background, and even factors such as age, culture, gender, and occupation.
- A treatment plan should not be static. It must be periodically reviewed and revised, as necessary, to be most responsive to the patient’s needs.
- Many patients have a Dual Diagnosis of drug addiction and mental health disorder(s), and treatment should address all known diagnoses.
- Treatment does not have to be voluntary; involuntary treatment does not present a barrier to a successful recovery.