Medical detox is the process of drug withdrawal under medical supervision, with medications typically used to help stabilize patients prior to therapy. The drug treatment process involves a number of separate stages working together, with medical detox enabling the cessation of drug use, rehab treating the underlying causes of addiction, and relapse prevention promoting long-term recovery. At Drug Treatment Centers Buffalo, our medical detox staff is highly experienced and trained to provide the best rehab options and medications for the treatment of withdrawal symptoms. To learn more about our medical detox protocols, call our addiction specialists at (716) 262-3086.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recognizes three stages in the detox process: evaluation, stabilization, and guiding patients towards rehab. Evaluation involves various tests and examinations prior to treatment, with blood tests performed for currently circulating substances and mental tests performed for behavioral addictions and dual diagnosis interactions. Thorough testing is crucial prior to medication in order to avoid potentially dangerous drug iterations. Stabilization is the next stage, with medications normally prescribed during this phase to help manage the withdrawal process. The last stage directs patients towards rehab, with detox rarely enough when performed in isolation.
Opioids include the natural opiate alkaloids morphine, codeine and thebaine and a range of semisynthetic opioids such as heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone. Opioids are highly addictive substances, with tolerance developing quickly and a physical withdrawal syndrome experienced upon cessation of use. Like all physically addictive drugs, a medical detox period is recommended prior to rehabilitation. Opioids are associated with a number of severe and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, with medications available to help smooth out and manage the withdrawal process. Typical withdrawal symptoms include
sweating, nausea, vomiting, cramps, insomnia, aches and pains, and involuntary body movements. Methadone and other opioid drugs are sometimes prescribed during detox, with opioid antagonists like naltrexone also used to block opioid receptors.
Methadone is also known under the trade name Dolophine, with this semisynthetic opioid taken as a pain medication and maintenance drug. While methadone is mostly associated with long-term opioid replacement therapy, it is also used during medical detox in some situations. When used in this context, methadone is tightly controlled, with outpatient programs needing to be certified by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). When administered during detox, methadone helps to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce relapse rates, with some patients continuing to take methadone during rehab as a form of maintenance therapy.
Alcohol is also associated with a physical withdrawal syndrome, with possible effects including nausea, vomiting, insomnia, sweating, tremors, hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens. Despite its legal status, alcohol produces a very dangerous and potentially fatal withdrawal syndrome, with medications often administered to alleviate symptoms. Benzodiazepines are often taken to treat the sleep and anxiety symptoms associated with withdrawal, with naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram also taken during detox and withdrawal. Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors, acamprosate helps with alcohol withdrawal, and disulfiram produce an unpleasant reaction when alcohol is consumed. Calcium carbimide is also used in some situations, with this drug working in a similar way to disulfiram. Intravenous vitamins are also taken in some cases, as is nitrous oxide and certain pain medications.