In some cases, rehab patients may experience drug detox without the use of medications. A popular term for this method is ‘cold turkey’. Under the supervision of medical professionals, patients are taken off the substances without using prescription drugs to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Another method is to use prescription medication to assist with drug detoxification. This process is referred to as medical detoxification. Depending on the substance and extent of abuse, patients may be placed in this type of detoxification program.
Using prescription drugs is not the best method for every person who has a substance abuse problem. However, there are some patients who will find it necessary to enroll in a medical drug detox program.
Alcohol Substance Abuse
If you have an addiction to alcohol, you may find it necessary to enroll in a medical drug detox program. Consuming large quantities of alcohol sedates your brain. As a result, your brain begins to compensate for this sedation by producing a substance that is similar to adrenaline. This action enables your brain to adjust to the sedation caused by alcohol.
When you enter rehab, the first step will be to detoxify your body from the effects of the alcohol. If you quit the alcohol cold turkey, your brain will respond by producing larger amounts of the adrenaline-like substance. Your body will experience the following symptoms.
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Body Tremors
- Possible Hallucinations
- Possible Stroke or Heart Attack
Using medications to detox from alcohol lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms. Instead of shocking your body into withdrawal, your body will gradually go through the withdrawal process.
Depending on the extent and frequency of cocaine abuse, patients may greatly benefit from detox with medications. Going through withdrawal from cocaine can pose serious health threats. Patients who withdraw from cocaine experience depression, extreme fatigue, irritability and apathy.
Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse
If you are addicted to a prescription drug like Oxycontin or heroin, medical professionals may suggest a medical prescription detox program to help you handle the symptoms of withdrawal. People who are addicted to these types of drugs often experience hot sweats, cold sweats, muscle and joint pain, vomiting, nausea, insomnia, flu-like symptoms and diarrhea.
Medical detox is recommended on a case by case basis. Some people in each of the categories of addiction may do well without it.
Once you have selected a drug treatment center, medical professionals will develop a plan for your detoxification. They will review your addiction and medical history to determine the best type of detox for you.