In many instances when a person who is suffering from addiction finally reaches out for help, one of the first steps to overcoming that addiction is to rid your body of the substance you are abusing. This step may likely include medical detox as part of the treatment. Medical detox to overcome addiction sounds extreme, but it is a safe, medically supervised, and effective way to get sober and stay sober.

What is medical detox?
Medical detox also referred to as medical detoxification, is the medical process of removing the substances from the addict’s body. It’s done under medical supervision to keep the client safe and as comfortable as possible during the process. Medical detox safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping substance abuse. It can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis; however, a medically supervised detox is strongly recommended for alcohol, opiate or benzodiazepine withdrawal, which can be fatal if not properly supervised by a trained medical professional. Most facilities will recommend that any medical detox treatment be done in-house.

Detoxification by itself is rarely enough to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, but it is a precursor to an effective ongoing drug addiction treatment program. The ultimate goal of a medical detox isn’t to just wean the patient off whatever substance (or substances) they are addicted to, but to guide them into a highly effective experience within the overall addiction treatment process, one that is poised to create a realistic pathway into long-term, quality sobriety. Detox is the first step.

What’s involved in the medical detox process?

The detox process involves evaluation, stabilization and transitioning to treatment for the addict. Evaluations are done for both physical and mental issues, as well as understanding triggers for substance abuse. It’s an overall risk assessment to see what is needed for the next step in the process which is stabilization.

Stabilization is when the actual medical detox begins. Going through detox can be very traumatic, both physically and mentally, but professionally trained addiction recovery centers know how to help ease the discomfort. Stabilization may include medications to ease the symptoms of withdrawal. It also includes establishing normal diet and sleep habits, typically disrupted during withdrawal, and the introduction of treatment for long-term success.

Does medical detox overcome addiction?

Medical detox alone will not help someone overcome addiction. Medical detox is the first step to overcoming addiction. Some may be tempted to go it alone or “cold turkey” to help overcome addiction but as stated above, withdrawal from certain substances can be extreme if not fatal. Medical detox is the suggested approach by many addiction specialists. Once detox is completed, the real work begins: recovery begins after detox.  Detox prepares you to participate in a drug rehab program that includes group meetings, therapy, life skills training, stress management, family counseling, relapse prevention planning and recovery-related activities. It’s important to find an addiction recovery facility that offers a variety of services and treatments to make sure you’re in a program that is designed specifically for your long-term success. Find an addiction recovery center that looks not only at the clinical issues but at all issues within the patient’s current life, both in terms of addiction and non-addiction related. They need to address each issue with realistic and actionable solutions.

While medical detox can sound overwhelming, it is the first crucial step to recovery. Medical detox, in conjunction with ongoing treatment, will help you overcome your addiction. If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, pick up the phone and contact a treatment professional immediately. They will work with you and your family, to create lasting success in sobriety.

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