During inpatient treatment, patients first go through the intake process, where medical professionals will compile a complete medical history to ensure that the course of treatment best suits each patient’s needs. After initial intake paperwork is completed, trained medical staff guide patients through the next major step in recovery: detox.
During detox, the patients is cleansed of all the harmful drug and alcohol toxins that have accumulated over time. Through addiction, the body comes to rely on the presence of these toxins, both physiologically and psychologically. As the toxins are removed, the patient will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms which range in severity. It is critical that the detox process be closely monitored by medical professionals 24/7 to ensure the patient’s safety, since withdrawal complications can be life-threatening. For this reason, in most cases, only patients who commit to inpatient rehabilitation are eligible for detoxification.
Common detox symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Aching muscles
- Inability to sleep
- Psychological issues including dysphoria, depression, and psychosis
Under the care of qualified medical staff, withdrawal symptoms are minimized and the patient is made as comfortable as possible. In severe cases of addiction, medical staff prescribe non-addictive medications during the detox process to manage withdrawal symptoms. Some common prescriptions during detox include:
- Benzodiazepines: This medicine helps ease common symptoms of withdrawal including insomnia, anxiety, seizures, and agitation by increasing the effect of the neurotransmitter GABA, which has a sedative, relaxing effect.
- Methadone: Methadone is an effective painkiller and is commonly used for its efficacy in helping opioid-dependent patients through the detox process.
- Suboxone: The drug buprenorphine is commonly used to treat chronic pain and opioid addiction.
Once patients complete the detoxification process, it is important that their recovery continue with intensive behavioral therapy and counseling to prevent relapse.