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At FootPrints BHC, we offer comprehensive detox services for people dependent on or addicted to a broad range of substances, including alcohol, the opioid drug heroin, the opioid medication OxyContin, methamphetamine, benzodiazepine tranquilizers and the stimulant ADHD medication Adderall. In each of our customized programs, we provide courses of treatment that address all phases of detoxification, from its initial stages after substance use first ends to its successful conclusion days or weeks later. In every case, treatment is geared toward the substance in question, as well as the specific detox symptoms that appear in the individual.
What Is Detoxification?
Detoxification naturally occurs when a person affected by substance abuse or addiction stops using the substance in question. This halt in substance intake triggers an adverse reaction in the brain, which has come to expect continued drug or alcohol intake. In turn, this adverse reaction leads to the onset of a group of unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms known collectively as withdrawal syndrome, or simply withdrawal.
Detox gets its name because substance abuse and addiction make toxic changes in your normal health. When substance intake ceases, your brain and body have a chance to recover from these toxic effects. Without going through detoxification, you can’t begin the process of regaining your mental/physical equilibrium, or establish the basic conditions needed for entry a residential or outpatient substance treatment program.
Potential Symptoms of Substance Withdrawal
Each form of substance abuse/addiction produces its own typical withdrawal symptoms and potential withdrawal complications. For example, people withdrawing from opioid drugs and medications commonly experience symptoms that include:
- Abdominal Cramps
- More Generalized Muscle Aches
- Anxiety and
- Mental Agitation
The most prominent potential complication of opioid withdrawal is an overdose associated with a relapse back into active opioid use.
People withdrawing from alcohol commonly experience symptoms such as:
- Loss of Mental Focus
- Unusual Irritability and
One of the most severe possible complications of alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens (the DTs), a sometimes fatal syndrome marked by seizures, hallucinations, high fever and extreme mental confusion.
What Is Detox?
Detox is short for medically supervised detoxification. In a program that relies on this approach, the physical and mental symptoms of substance withdrawal are managed under the guidance of a team of trained professionals, including doctors, nurses and mental health experts. This team works together to continually monitor your condition during the detox process and help you avoid any intolerably strong withdrawal symptoms that could potentially derail your attempt to halt drug or alcohol use and establish sobriety. The team also works together to quickly address any complications that could affect your physical or mental well-being while going through detox.
Each participant in a detox program is assessed individually at the start of enrollment. In some cases, the program staff only need to provide basic forms of support such as intravenous (IV) hydration or the use of over-the-counter pain relievers. However, some program participants need more advanced care in the form of prescription medications that address problematic or highly uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Most people only receive these medications during the relatively brief timeframe of the withdrawal process, although some individuals affected by opioid abuse/addiction continue to receive medication for an extended, potentially open-ended timeframe.
Medications Used During Detox
The medications used during detox depend on several factors, including the substance that acts as the source of abuse/addiction and the specific symptoms that appear during withdrawal. Common options for opioid detox include medications called buprenorphine, methadone, naloxone, naltrexone and clonidine. Common options for alcohol detox include tranquilizers such as lorazepam (Ativan) or diazepam (Valium). People going through methamphetamine detox may receive medications that include antidepressants for withdrawal-related depression or atypical antipsychotics for withdrawal-related psychosis.
How Long Does Detox Take?
A wide range of factors have a direct or indirect influence on how long it takes you or a loved to complete detox. One of the most important factors is the specific substance that acts as the source of physical dependence/addiction. Additional considerations that play a primary role include the length of time that dependence/addiction is present before the start of detox and how severely substance use has altered normal mental and physical function. The list of important factors also includes the severity of withdrawal symptoms during the course of detox and the absence or presence of physical or emotional/psychological complications during detox.
Why Choose Detox?
It’s possible to go through substance detoxification on your own. You can also go through the process with help from people who have no specialized training in dealing effectively with the symptoms of drug or alcohol withdrawal. However, for some very important reasons, detoxing without specialized assistance poses a significant danger and adds an unnecessary layer of risk to substance withdrawal.
First, the withdrawal process can trigger dangerous or even life-threatening complications, especially in individuals detoxing from alcohol or benzodiazepine tranquilizers. If these complications occur outside of a medically supervised setting, they can quickly lead to avoidable tragedy. Even without the onset of severe complications, the symptoms of withdrawal can be unpleasant enough to encourage detox participants to seek relief by returning to active substance use. In people going through detox for opioid abuse or addiction, this return to substance intake can lead directly to a potentially fatal overdose. In people detoxing from other substances, the experience of unmanaged withdrawal symptoms may permanently deter them from pursuing or achieving a sober lifestyle.
People in a properly structured detox program simply have smaller chances of running into problems than people who attempt to detox on their own or with assistance from untrained personnel. Doctors and other program staff members can react rapidly to serious withdrawal complications and help keep you safe from harm. They can also ease your highly unpleasant symptoms and help you avoid abandoning detox and returning to active drug or alcohol intake.
Our Detox Programs
At FootPrints BHC, we don’t use a blanket approach to detox. Instead, we make sure that every participant receives appropriate care for his or her individual circumstances. First, we maintain separate programs that cover each of the most commonly abused drugs and medications. And within each of these programs, we offer varying levels of care in order to target resources effectively for each person. For example, someone who has relatively minor withdrawal symptoms may only need monitoring and general medical support while detoxing. However, more severely affected individuals may have symptoms too strong to tolerate without the use of medication.
Proper evaluation is key to providing the appropriate level of care during detox. For this reason, every new enrollee in our substance-specific programs undergoes a complete assessment of his or her mental and physical health. This assessment is then modified and updated as the detox process proceeds. In this way, we ensure that our doctors and support staff always remain aware of any complications or other reasons for changing their initial treatment approach.
Detox Leads to Substance Treatment Enrollment
The detox process gradually drains your body’s residual supply of alcohol and/or drugs. However, in order to establish a long-term pattern of abstinence, you must do much more than wean yourself from substance use. In fact, unless you get further help, you have an extremely high chance of quickly falling back into substance intake once your detox program comes to an end.
To stay on the path to abstinence and sobriety, you must follow up your detox participation with enrollment in a substance treatment program. This type of program plays an absolutely essential role by helping you understand how you first got involved in drug or alcohol abuse, helping you change your long-term relationship to substance intake and helping you recognize the thoughts, behaviors and environments that significantly increase your chances of returning to substance abuse in the future.
FootPrints BHC offers substance treatment resources that help you achieve every one of these milestone objectives. In addition to the use of medications, these resources include a range of therapy options, including individual sessions with a therapist, group sessions with a therapist and other individuals involved in the recovery process, and family therapy that involves loved ones affected by your substance use in the past, present or future. We offer all of these treatments in a residential setting, as well as in two different outpatient settings. Regardless of the nature of your substance problems, we have the tools needed to help you live life substance-free.
Paying for Detox
In some cases, people who desperately need detox may be deterred from seeking help because they believe that they can’t afford treatment. Increasingly, major insurance carriers recognize the validity of detox and follow-up substance treatment, and therefore cover at least part of the expenses for substance-related care in some of their available plans. However, even if you don’t have insurance that covers detox enrollment, we do our best to make our programs affordable. You can choose from a number of financing options, and we provide a free consultation to simply and streamline this process.
Not sure where to start?
Speak to one of our treatment counselors and plan your roadmap to recovery.
Call (866) 921-8893 to speak with a treatment counselor near you.