The number of people dependent on addictive substances is growing at an alarming rate, which in turn, has led to an exponential rise in accidental overdose deaths. Prolonged abuse of drugs or alcohol can cause adverse changes to a person’s brain and its ability to function properly. As a result, both the brain and body develop a chemical dependence, which can make stopping use in an attempt to detox at home nearly impossible and incredibly dangerous.
Detox is a process used by addicts to break their body’s physical dependence on the substance of addiction. For most addicts attempting to stop using, the detoxification process will be the first stage of their recovery. During detox, while use of the addictive substance is discontinued completely, the person’s body will undergo drastic changes as all traces of drugs and alcohol are removed from their system. An addict will likely experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when detoxing, which can be both physical and mental. If a person attempts to detox alone without professional help, the symptoms of withdrawal can be severe enough to discourage them from completing the remainder of process, causing them to return to a cycle of substance abuse. Attempting to detox at home is also dangerous because many of the symptoms that occur during alcohol or drug withdrawal can lead to serious health complications that will require medical attention.
In addition to acute physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, most addicts strongly associate the home environment with drug or alcohol abuse. Therefore, the temptation to submit to the overwhelmingly powerful cravings is intense when an addict attempts detox at home. This results in an increased risk of relapse during detox, and only further supports the importance of a supervised detoxification at a licensed drug rehab facility.
Statistics show that users who relapse during the course of detoxification are at an increased risk of accidental overdose. Although the body’s tolerance levels may have changed, an addict is prone to revert to taking the same or similar doses as they were taking before detox, resulting in a possible overdose. Detoxification programs provided at an accredited addiction treatment center can minimize or eliminate the chance of relapse, while simultaneously improving the likelihood of a patient successfully completing this initial phase of care.
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When needed, doctors can administer medications to patients in detox treatment, which can help manage severe withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the drug of addiction, non-addictive painkillers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, or insomnia medications can be of valuable use when treating withdrawal. Medications used in professional detox lessen dangers associated with withdrawal and helps to ensure that the patient remains comfortable throughout the process.
Professional medicated detox programs provide around-the-clock care and supervision from medical professional who specialize in addiction treatment and recovery. Detoxing at home has proved to be dangerous, as medical support is not available to monitor and address severe withdrawal symptoms that may arise. Furthermore, detox only works to break the physical dependence on drugs and alcohol, but an addict will need further treatment and therapy to address the psychological addiction to the substance of abuse. When seeking professional help with drug or alcohol detox, the patient will receive counseling to help identify the underlying causes for their substance use disorder. Obtaining therapeutic support for the mental and emotional aspects of addiction in detox often motivates an addict to progress through each stage of recovery, including rehabilitation treatment and aftercare programs. Without proper behavioral therapy treatments following detox, addicts put themselves at high risk for returning to a pattern of addictive drug or alcohol use.