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The detoxification process, sometimes shortened to detox, is an essential first step to the recovery process. While not every person who begins recovery will experience withdrawal, many people will, and depending on the severity of the substance abuse disorder, withdrawal symptoms can be lethal. When entering treatment, it is essential to seek medical professionals’ assistance for your safety and well-being.

What is a Medical Detox?

Medical detox is the process of using medication while under the supervision and care of medical professionals to relieve some of the symptoms associated with severe withdrawal. When entering into a recovery program, medical detox is usually the first step for anyone with a moderate to severe substance abuse disorder.

Withdrawal can be hazardous to a person’s health. If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with withdrawal, it is best to reach out for medical professionals’ guidance and support. There is no reason to attempt to deal with withdrawal on your own, and the use of medical detox drastically increases your chances of success.

Medical detox does not cure addiction, nor is it even really considered addiction treatment necessarily. Detox is used to help you get through withdrawal to focus on the treatment that will help you achieve long-term sobriety. The use of medical detox is just one step in a much more extensive treatment plan.

Withdrawal can cause serious medical issues, and even cause death in severe cases, so medical detox plays an essential role in the early days of recovery. The recovery process can be a long journey, so it is crucial to start on the right foot and provide a sound and safe basis for the rest of your treatment.

Why is Detox so Important?

The use of medical detox is essential for two primary reasons. First, withdrawal can be dangerous for those with moderate to severe substance abuse disorders. Depending on the substance or substances a person may be addicted to, withdrawal can even be a fatal process without medical assistance.

Depending on the substance being used and the severity of the disorder, typical withdrawal symptoms can include body pain, vomiting, restlessness, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. In severe cases, people may experience seizures, increased blood pressure and heart rate, fever, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts. Without medical detox, many people would become severely ill and possibly cause long-term damage to their minds or bodies. 

The second reason medical detox is so necessary is that it makes sure that the person entering recovery will make it through to the other side. The symptoms associated with withdrawal can be very unpleasant. The cravings can become so severe that many people who attempt to detox themselves at home are likely to give in to the cravings and relapse before the recovery process even truly begins. 

Medical detox is always the safest and most effective way to begin the journey toward recovery for people suffering from a substance abuse disorder.

The Detox Process

The detoxification process can go different ways depending on the wants and needs of the individual. Medical detox offers 24-hour support and care for people who are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms associated with entering recovery. The detox process’s three steps are to evaluate the situation, stabilize during withdrawal, and prepare for further substance abuse treatment. 

Each program may handle the process differently depending on its protocols and factors that can vary from person to person. Factors that could affect the detox process include what substances the person may be addicted to, the length of time a person has been addicted, and the length of time between the last use of the drug and the start of detox. 

The stabilization comes into play through the care and medical assistance provided during withdrawal. Medication is used not to cure withdrawal but to dull and manage some of the most severe symptoms. At times, staff may decide not to use medication if symptoms are not severe enough, although having medical support available at all times is still important.

The final step of detox is preparing the individual in recovery for further treatment of a substance abuse disorder. Detox is not a cure, and a person must put in a lot more time and effort afterward to maintain sobriety and avoid relapse. The point of detoxification is only to manage withdrawal. The changing of behaviors towards healthier habits is done during further treatment.

Medical Detox Near Me

Many people actively search for medical detox facilities near them due to a substance abuse disorder. While it is essential to find a facility near you and your loved ones, choosing the right program goes beyond that. Each detox treatment program is likely to have different protocols and plans. It is important to find the one that best fits your needs to find greater success during the early stages of recovery. 

At After Action, we are here to match you with the best medical detox program for you. Not everyone will respond the same way to the same treatment, and that is fine. Finding the best way to treat the individual is the most critical part of the addiction recovery process. We believe in helping you find support wherever possible. If you or a loved one are facing a substance abuse disorder and think you require a medical detox program, please reach out to us at 818-383-1297 to learn more about possible options near you.

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Siri Sat Khalsa, MD, Medical Director
Clinically Reviewed By
Siri Sat Khalsa, MD
Dr. Siri Sat Khalsa is a board certified Addictionologist with over a decade of experience as a specialist in detoxing and treating patients with alcohol and substance use disorders. As a graduate of USC medical school and Harbor UCLA residency, she spent 10 years a Family Practitioner before discovering her passion for caring for patients struggling with addictions. Her approach is to safely detox patients as comfortably as possible and to then focus on caring for the anxiety and depression and other mental health issues that typically accompany substance use disorders while simultaneously crafting plans to sustain long term sobriety.

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