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Medical Drug and Alcohol Detox Centers

Medical detox is sometimes misunderstood to mean a process in which the body is somehow washed clean of all traces of abused drugs or alcohol. Actually, medical detoxification refers to treatment that prevents or lessens withdrawal symptoms when a patient stops using drugs or alcohol. This type of treatment is carried out under medical supervision, as it entails administration of medications that stop or lessen cravings and physical dependence upon one or more substances that medically-assisted detox patients had been abusing or overusing.

The main goal of medical detox is to break a patient's physical dependence upon addictive substances. It is not a full treatment for addiction disorders, but rather the first step in restoring the patient's physical equilibrium so that he or she can concentrate on counseling and therapy for the underlying issues that led to addiction.

Depending upon the type, severity, and duration of a particular patient's addiction issues, he or she may be able to undergo outpatient medical detox. In most cases, however, inpatient medical detoxification is the most effective way to begin a successful recovery program.

Why Physician-Assisted Detoxify from Drugs and Alcohol?

When a person becomes addicted to alcohol or to one or more mind-altering drugs, both psychological and physical dependence can result. Psychological dependence is a feeling of inability to deal with daily life or particular issues without resorting to addictive substances. Some patients are able to overcome psychological addiction but need assistance in surmounting their physical addiction problems. They realize the need to stop relying upon mind-altering substances, but they find that they have become physically addicted to the substances that they had been using on a regular basis in order to escape reality. Physical addiction is a medical issue that requires medical treatment, and medical detox is the procedure used to deal with the issue of physical addiction.

When a patient turns to properly administered medically-assisted detox procedures, he or she is spared any discomfort or inconvenience that may be caused by withdrawal symptoms. The physician or medical team that carries out the medical detoxification procedure substitutes other, safer medications that act on the brain in the same way that abused substances do. Once the treatment has begun, patients no longer feel a physical need to use alcohol or drugs as the substitute medications are fulfilling that very physical need.

Medical detox is based on the knowledge that withdrawal symptoms can be avoided by administering safer and less addictive medications that answer the same need that the brain has developed for the original abused substances. These medications act on the transmitters and receptors in the brain in the same way that abused drugs and alcohol do, so that they signal the brain to stop the withdrawal symptoms that could occur if the brain is abruptly deprived of the mind-altering substances to which its transmitters and receptors had become accustomed.

If you or someone you care about is ready to quit using drugs and alcohol, but is concerned about withdrawal symptoms that could result from quitting "cold turkey," please call our national drug and alcohol treatment helpline at 1-888-658-5242. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we provide unbiased information and references to help you find the medical detox program that is the first step on the road to a healthy, addiction-free life.

Medically-Assisted Detoxification Program Options

In most cases, when a patient feels that he or she needs medical detox in order to overcome physical addiction to alcohol or drugs, an inpatient rehabilitation and treatment facility provides the best setting for medical detoxification. Many of these centers feature the luxurious accommodations that one might expect at a resort or hotel, and they are situated in pleasant locales, where the climate and the surroundings help the patient concentrate on recovery. In fact, these treatment centers attract the most experienced medical detoxification professionals, and the atmosphere combined with the level of training of the medical staff ensures that the patient is kept comfortable and successfully treated so that he or she is able to overcome physical addiction to drugs or alcohol as quickly as possible.

Once the medical detox phase of the addiction treatment process is complete, intensive behavior modification therapy, counseling, and life coaching can begin. This holistic process, in which the immediate need for medical treatment is attended to first so that the psychological and emotional aspects of recovery can begin with no concern about physical symptoms, is the most effective way of treating addiction to drugs and alcohol.

If a patient's addiction is less severe, or if he or she has responsibilities that preclude a stay of a month or more in an inpatient treatment facility, outpatient medical detox is now available. The outpatient medically-assisted detox programs available today involve the use of either methadone or buprenorphine to treat physical dependence and prevent withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is addictive itself, and it can only be administered by licensed clinics under strict medical supervision. Buprenorphine, especially in combination with naloxone, is easier to administer and does not usually carry a risk or abuse or addiction. However, a month or more of treatment with buprenorphine is usually necessary to achieve what a few days of inpatient medical detox can achieve in terms of helping patients overcome physical addiction.

Please call 1-888-658-5242 to get more information on how medical detoxification can help you or a loved one break the grip of physical addiction to drugs or alcohol. Our nationwide drug and alcohol treatment helpline provides information and referrals for medical detox programs that are the first step to full recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

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