One of the most common reasons that people shy away from the idea of drug and alcohol rehabilitation is the detox period. Detoxing from a drug is not only emotionally draining, but it can lead to a wide variety of physical problems if it is not overseen by professionals. For these reasons, many addicts have turned to medical detox to get their rehab started as safely and effectively as possible.
Why Is Detox Needed At All?
In order to understand why detox is necessary, you must first take a look at how these substances affect the human body. The prolonged use of any drugs will actually change the chemical layout of an addict’s brain. Drugs and alcohol force the body to overproduce certain natural chemicals that make us happy or give us energy. As time goes on, higher doses are needed to produce the same side effects because the body will naturally build a tolerance to those specific substances.
At some point, those that have let their addiction get out of control will not be able to operate unless they have drugs or alcohol in their system. Essentially, the body will forget how to produce the serotonin and endorphins that make us happy and content. Once this has taken place, the body will go into a state of shock during the detox period. If not overseen by detox professionals, the side effects can be unmanageable.
Benefits of Medical Detox
Medical detox is often necessary for severe addictions that have been going on for a long period of time. They can also be carried out when the addiction involves a substance with harsh side effects such as opiates and alcohol. For those that do not have the option of slowly tapering their doses over a long period of time, medical detox can be used to make them as comfortable as possible during the first few days of experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
For most people, medical detox is overseen by a physician or team of medical specialists that will use a variety of tools at their disposal to keep patients healthy and comfortable. After the detox is over, the person will need to immediately transfer into an inpatient center or similar program to continue on with their rehabilitation. This style of detox often allows an addict to avoid the worst few days of rehabilitation and immediately begin exploring the root causes of their addiction.
The period between detoxing and an inpatient program is one of the most dangerous times for an addict. While their body may have begun to stabilize itself, they will still have a compulsion to continue using and abusing those chemicals. An addiction is an incredibly complex disease, and detoxing is only one small step on the path to sobriety. Addicts will often require services such as personal counseling, group therapy, family counseling, and more.