Understanding the Process of Detoxification

Drug detoxification (informally, detox} is the intervention into a person’s life of a sudden, intense, and complete withdrawal from drug use; the abridging of a physiological and psychological addiction to a drug; and any of the many other treatments for severe drug overdose. It is also commonly known as detoxification or withdrawal. The concept has a long history going back to the ancient periods when drugs were used to treat disorders like epilepsy, ulcers, epilepsy, alcoholism, and nervous disorders. This practice also extended into other areas such as treating cancer and tuberculosis, though it was later thought that they were caused by the same things, withdrawal from which usually killed the patient.

Today, it has been shown that this “shunned” practice can be very harmful to those who suffer from addiction, especially since some people who do suffer serious withdrawal symptoms have not gone through any kind of medical care at all. Though inpatient detoxification is the most common form of treatment, outpatient detoxification is growing in popularity since it allows those who may not have had any kind of specialized medical care to still receive the treatment. In outpatient detoxification, there are no hospital stays required, no injections or other drugs required to be administered, and no one to watch over the patient during the duration of the detox process. There is, however, the potential for relapse if medical care is not discontinued upon discharge.

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Detoxification can be done in several different ways and is generally achieved in three different ways. Hospital detoxification requires the immediate termination of the patient’s life-support system, often followed by intravenous fluids, IV antibiotics, and other medications that stabilize the patient’s body chemistry. Stabilization can take several weeks, sometimes months, and is often accompanied by mild sedation or light motor impairment. Narcotic rehab programs utilize several different methods in their detoxification protocol. They will either stabilize the patient through medication withdrawal from the street drugs and/or alcohol, or they will attempt to model an inpatient detoxification program around the patient’s needs and encourage him or her to stick with the program. The last method, called inpatient relapse control, involves counseling, skill training, support groups, and peer support in an effort to help the individual avoid relapse.