Detoxification, or detox, is one of the most difficult aspects of addiction treatment. Detox starts right after the last time you use drugs and is not over until the drug has been completely eliminated from your body. When you have been supplying your body with drugs for a long period of time and then stop using, withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Understand what detox is like, what your options are, and make sure you have medical assistance for this challenging but crucial part of getting sober.
Addiction is a disease, and every victim “treats” it in a different way: with opiates, with cocaine, with alcohol. Each “treatment” ravages victims’ minds and bodies until they are able to get clean and sober through a program like The Right Step’s. However, alcohol addiction does differ from other substances in several key ways, and it’s important to recognize both the similarities and differences.
How Alcohol is Different From Other Drugs
Many drugs are illegal to use in any situation, and most require at least a doctor’s prescription. Alcohol, by contrast, is a relatively uncontrolled substance: once you reach 21 years of age you can purchase it freely. As such, it’s everywhere, and our culture glorifies and, sometimes, even rewards drinking in certain circumstances, such as parties, clubs, and sporting events.
If this isn’t the first time you’ve considered helping a loved one treat an addiction problem, odds are good that you’ve seen information on the Internet about attempting to go through alcohol detoxification without the supervision of a doctor. While it is true that some people are able to go through the process safely, we cannot stress enough that alcohol detoxification can be deadly without medical supervision, and a trip to the ER may not be fast enough to save a life if something goes wrong. Here are some of the risks taken those who attempt alcohol withdrawal without medical help:
– Hallucinations leading to injuries or accidents
– Lethal dehydration
– Heart attack
Doc Talk: All About Detoxification
By: Dr. Jason Powers
Title: Chief Medical Officer, The Right Step and Spirit Lodge
Info: Among the first doctors certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM). H Magazine Texas’ “Top Doc” in Addiction Medicine, 2007-2009. 2008 winner of Sierra Tucson’s Gratitude for Giving, Compassion Award.
Dr. Powers, The Right Step Chief Medical Officer, has worked in addiction recovery for eight years and has helped The Right Step’s inpatient detoxification program reach out to, and reform, hundreds of addicts over the years. We asked him to share some information on detoxification for addiction victims and their loved ones.
The decision to end an addiction is a life-changing one and, the easier that process is, the sooner patients will be able to move forward with the process of healing. The Right Step offers both inpatient and outpatient medically supervised detoxification programs. Our experienced staff specializes in the detoxification of alcohol, benzodiazepine, opiates, prescription medication, and the complexities of poly-substance dependence.
The basic process for our medically supervised detox programs is:
Patients are evaluated by our chemical dependency professionals who determine the patients’ needs, such as whether they require inpatient care or whether they can stay at home and go through our outpatient program. Our staff also discovers if a patient suffers from additional co-morbidities such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, chronic pain issues, or other risk factors so that we may treat all simultaneously for the best outcomes.
The line; “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” is often attributed to Ben Franklin. While it is true that Franklin did indulge in beer every now-and-again, he was something closer to a tea-totaler. Some less known Franklin lines about beer, and alcohol in general, can be found at beerinfood.com. Some examples are: