For many struggling with addiction and substance abuse, detox is the most dreaded part of treatment. This is why it is so important you or your loved ones know how to choose the right detox program. You may have heard about medical detox, but you don’t know if you should be using medications at all. How can you decide what kind of detox would be best for you? The Ranch PA has the information you need to educate yourself. You need to know what takes place during medical detox. However, it isn’t always easy when you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol and focusing on trying to stop. Enlist a friend or family member to help you make this choice, but make sure it’s someone you trust.
What Happens in Detox?
If you have never detoxed but have experienced at least some withdrawal and cravings, you have a little bit of an idea of what it feels like to undergo detox. To detox means to stop using and to give your body time to eliminate the drug. This can take a couple of days or up to an entire week. As the drug leaves your body, you will experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that may range from headaches and nausea to whole-body pain and severe vomiting and diarrhea or constipation. You will want to do anything you can to use again to feel better. Withdrawal symptoms will vary from individual to individual. Also, symptoms will be different depending on the substance abused. For instance, alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Clammy skin
- Dilated pupils
- Mood swings
But if an individual is detoxing from drugs, their symptoms will be different. However, no matter the symptoms, individuals need to go through medically supervised detox. Self-detox commonly called going ‘cold turkey’ is dangerous and very rarely effective. There are several reasons for this. First, many withdrawal symptoms have effects on the body individuals aren’t aware of or only become aware of when it’s too late. This can include trouble breathing, heart issues, blood pressure changes, and hallucinations. Secondly, these symptoms can be so intense and painful that without support individuals will routinely return to using rather than continue self-detox. The danger here is individuals will return to using their substance of choice at the dosage they believe they are accustomed to. Unfortunately, the body’s tolerance changes going through detoxification meaning the risk of overdose greatly increases. Thus, without medical supervision, individuals with substance use disorder will likely relapse and stand at greater risk of overdose and death.
What Is Medical Detox?
Because detoxing is so unpleasant and often downright painful, many addicts fail to get sober at this stage. For this reason, most people don’t even attempt to detox alone. At the very least, you need someone at your side to comfort you, keep you hydrated, and, most importantly, to ensure you don’t go back to using. Even a trusted friend to help keep you on track can’t take away your pain and discomfort, which is why a medical detox is an option. Medical detox means going through detox with a nurse or doctor to supervise you. This is often done in a clinical setting, and you will probably be given medications to make you feel better. These could range from something to help with diarrhea or constipation, anti-nausea medication, or even anesthesia. When a doctor administers anesthesia during detox, we call it a rapid detox. It doesn’t necessarily take less time than any other method of detoxing, but you won’t remember it, so it will seem shorter. The anesthesia prevents you from experiencing most of the withdrawal, and you wake up at the end detoxed. What happens during a medical detox depends on what you choose. If you want some supervision and minor drugs to ease your withdrawal, you can choose that option. If you want to sleep through it, you can sign up for rapid detox. Just know that no type of detox is a substitute for addiction treatment. Detox is only the first step. Some people make the mistake of thinking that if they can only detox, they’ll be fine. These people almost always relapse. Learn about your detox options so you can make an informed decision, but also remember to plan for treatment after the detox.
How to Choose the Right Detox with The Ranch PA
Once you or a loved one has successfully completed detox, treatment can begin. At The Ranch PA, our compassionate staff and experienced expert counselors and therapists can get to the heart of addiction. We work alongside you to create a treatment plan addressing your specific needs. Some of our therapies include:
- Trauma Therapy
- Family Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Exercise Therapy
Alongside these therapies, our programs address the mental health of individuals at our dual diagnosis treatment center. We provide gender-specific rehab as well. Contact us today at 717.969.9126 to learn more about your options with The Ranch PA. Once you know how to choose the right detox, learn how to choose the right treatment program for recovery.