Drug addiction is a multi-layered psychosocial phenomenon and, thus, it should come as no surprise that recovery is equally complex. In particular, detoxification is a period during which chemical substances are cleansed from the body and the individual is stabilized, effectively marking the beginning of the individual’s return to a state of physical wellness.
Many experts and professionals in the field of drug and alcohol detox share an important mission, which is to track medical efforts in the field of drug treatment. Through the process of learning more about detoxification, we continue to improve our understanding of detoxification as well as our addiction recognition, prevention, and treatment methods.
Even though it’s a crucial part of rehabilitation, it’s important to remember that detox is only the first of many necessary steps toward lasting sobriety. In a drug and alcohol detox program, the individual benefits from medical interventions that allow him or her to safety navigate withdrawal.
“Detox treatment is a period for stabilizing the body & restoring physical wellness.”
Identifying a substance abuse problem
Individuals who suffer from a substance use disorder will sometimes go to great lengths to keep their misuse of alcohol or drugs hidden from the people around them. In fact, some loved ones — e.g. spouses, parents, children, best friends, colleagues, etc. — are caught off guard and shocked to learn that the individual close to them is addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Whether or not the individual is open and willing to discuss the substance abuse problem, there are ways to identify a possible drug or drinking problem, even when attempts are made to keep the problem hidden.
Putting it in perspective
of people over age 12 have used illicit drugs in the past month
reported using heroin in 2018
of those addicted to drugs contemplated suicide in 2018
from drug overdose have occurred in the US since 2000
Sources: Statista, CDC, NSDUH 2018, NCDAS
Signs of an alcohol or drug problem
No matter how much he or she attempts to keep an addiction hidden, an individual suffering from a substance abuse problem will eventually, inevitably, begin to display certain signs.
By becoming aware of these signs, we can attempt to intervene in hope of preventing the most devastating outcome of continued substance abuse.
Some of the most common signs of an addiction to alcohol or drugs include:
Due to escalating intake of alcohol or drugs, more and more of the individual’s income is needed to maintain the drug habit
Whether at work or in school, someone suffering from addiction will eventually exhibit a marked decrease in overall performance
Due to the increasingly prominent role of alcohol or drugs in his or her life, the individual may become emotionally distant or uninvolved
Change in social group
Substance abuse sometimes coincides with a change in social group as the individual prefers the company of other drug users
Change in appearance
Addiction can result to changes in appearance on many levels, including weight loss/gain, less consideration to hygiene, or in style of dress
This can take many different forms, including sudden loss of interest in something previously enjoyable or inexplicable change in sleep patterns
After using drugs or alcohol frequently over time, the body accommodates the mind-altering substance. As a result, abruptly ceasing use of the substance can result in symptoms of withdrawal.
Detoxification is a period of medically-assisted care that often takes place prior to an inpatient or residential treatment program. During detox treatment, the individual focuses on overcoming the physiological aspects of chemical dependence. This can sometimes include medical or medicinal support in order to manage the symptoms of sub-acute withdrawal syndrome.*
At West Valley Detox & Residential Treatment, we recognize the importance of detoxification as a primer for residential care. With our medically-assisted treatment, clients are able to detox from alcohol or drugs successfully before transitioning into the next phase of their recovery journeys.
*Individuals are discouraged from attempting to detox at home or without the supervision of trained, experienced professionals.
Medically-assisted detox treatment
Medical professionals who are trained in detoxification can help to treat symptoms of withdrawal. Often, the detoxification process includes the use of medicinal treatment as a means of alleviating or managing sub-acute withdrawal, making the process safer and less uncomfortable for the client. These types of medications are commonly administered in both inpatient and outpatient programs.
The medications most commonly used to treat opioid addiction and withdrawal include methadone and buprenorphine (e.g. Subutex, Suboxone)
Depending on the severity of the addiction, benzodiazepine withdrawal may be treated by tapering the individual’s intake or with a phenobarbital substitute
While there’s not yet been a medication approved to directly treat stimulant addiction and withdrawal, mild benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants are not uncommon
Ready to learn more? Call today for a free consultation.