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Finding a drug detox center can be an intimidating process. Fortunately, there are many resources that can help an individual or their family to find the right drug and alcohol detox program for their needs.

When choosing a substance abuse detox center, it’s important to make sure that the facility offers comprehensive services that fit a person’s circumstances. In many cases, such as for people who are addicted to alcohol or opioid drugs, this may include the use of certain medications.

A medically assisted detox program uses medications to reduce or alleviate withdrawal symptoms. This integrated approach helps a person’s body to heal and prepares them for the next stage of recovery.

Quite frequently, addicted individuals abuse more than one drug. If a person is experiencing polydrug abuse or multiple addictions, it’s important that they receive skilled treatment for all drugs of abuse.

Further, many people who are addicted experience a co-occurring mental health disorder or medical condition that may influence the course of treatment. If this is the case, it’s critical that a drug detox center provides care for these conditions.

Not every facility delivers the same level of care. When finding a drug detox center, looking for a facility that is fully licensed and accredited helps to ensure a person will receive a high quality of treatment. Making sure that the facility’s clinicians are licensed and/or credentialed is also important.

Finding A Drug And Alcohol Detox Program

Choosing a drug and alcohol detox program is best done with professional guidance. While this process can start at a doctor’s office, in many cases, contacting a drug detox program directly can expedite the process. Our knowledgeable staff can help loved ones find the right alcohol and drug detox center for their family members as well.

In order to determine what type of alcohol and drug withdrawal management program is best, an evaluation will likely be administered by an addiction specialist or other highly-trained substance use disorder professional.

During this clinical assessment, a variety of questions will be asked so that the providers can build the best treatment plan for a person’s needs. These questions may include:

  • What drug(s) is a person abusing or addicted to?
  • How long has a person been abusing the drug(s)?
  • How high is the dose and how often do they take it?
  • When did they last take the substance?
  • Has a person attempted to quit using the drug before?
  • Have they experienced withdrawal before?

A physical exam, including blood tests, urine tests, and full health and medical questionnaire should also be done. The purpose of this is to determine if a person has any health or medical conditions, including dual diagnosis mental health disorders, that may require treatment during detox.

A substance abuse detox program is only the first stage of treatment, it’s not a standalone treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.

Drug and alcoholism detox programs treat the physical addiction. Once a person has successfully detoxed and is stabilized, they should progress to a drug or alcohol rehab program. Here, the psychological and behavioral aspects of addiction can be treated.

If a person is experiencing post-acute-withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) from alcohol, benzodiazepines, opioids, or other drugs, they can receive continued support in a drug rehab program as well.

Many of the best inpatient drug rehab centers for drug addiction or alcoholism have on-site medical detox programs.
This allows a person to smoothly transition from one step of treatment to the next without leaving the facility. By doing so, the risk of relapse is reduced and the chance for a successful recovery is higher.

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Types Of Drug And Alcohol Detox Programs

Drug and alcohol detox program options range from outpatient detox to medically supervised inpatient detox programs.
Typically, the heavier and more frequent substance abuse, the more severe withdrawal symptoms are. Because of this, individuals who are heavy drinkers or who take large amounts of a drug may require more intensive support.

Individuals who do not have an active support system or who may be exposed to relapse triggers in their day-to-day lives may be better served in a residential or inpatient detox program.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine criteria, there are five levels of withdrawal management or detox programs:

  • Ambulatory Withdrawal Management Without Extended On-site Monitoring: Also referred to as an ambulatory detox program, this outpatient detox program allows a person to be treated in a substance abuse treatment program, at a doctor’s office, or at home.
  • Ambulatory Withdrawal Management With Extended Onsite Monitoring: This outpatient detox program provides the same level of care as the above, however, it is administered in a day or partial hospitalization program that offers onsite monitoring.
  • Clinically Managed Residential Withdrawal Management: Commonly referred to as a nonmedical or social detoxification program, this detox program relies heavily on peer and social support. Clients receive 24-hour supervision and support.
  • Medically Monitored Inpatient Withdrawal Management: During this inpatient detox program, clients receive 24-hour medically supervised detoxification services in a freestanding drug detox center. In addition to providing medical care, this program addresses behavioral, cognitive, and emotional problems.
  • Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient Withdrawal Management: Intensive and full medical services are delivered during detox in an acute care inpatient setting or a psychiatric hospital inpatient unit.

Though some people may be tempted to try a do-it-yourself detox or at-home detox kit, this route can be unsuccessful and dangerous.

Without professional, medical support and treatment, a person can face a much higher risk of relapse and serious complications of withdrawal.

Additionally, a medical opioid detox program that uses a gradual taper is typically recommended over a rapid opioid detox program. Serious risks and dangers may be higher with a rapid opioid detox program.

Types Of Drug Addictions That Need A Drug Detox Program

Many drugs of abuse cause physical dependence, however, not all types of addiction require a detoxification program.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse cautions that people who are addicted to the central nervous system (CNS) depressants like hypnotics, sedatives, and tranquilizers should not withdrawal without professional help.

Certain drugs can cause painful, uncomfortable, and/or dangerous withdrawal symptoms. This is common with CNS depressants such as alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and opioid drugs.

In certain cases, such as with alcohol and benzodiazepines, these symptoms could be life-threatening. Though the direct symptoms of opioid withdrawal are not in themselves deadly, certain complications caused by them may be. For these reasons, an inpatient medical detox program may be preferable for high-risk patients.

In addition to alcohol, the following substances are most frequently treated in a drug detox program:

Benzodiazepines commonly treated in a drug detox program:

  • alprazolam (Xanax)
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • diazepam (Valium)
  • lorazepam (Ativan)
  • temazepam (Restoril)
  • triazolam (Halcion)

Opioids commonly treated in a drug detox program:

Illicit opioids

  • heroin
  • fentanyl

Prescription opioid pain medications:

  • codeine
  • fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic)
  • hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco)
  • hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • meperidine (Demerol)
  • methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • morphine (Duramorph, MS Contin)
  • oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
  • oxymorphone (Opana)

Though stimulant drugs don’t require a detoxification program nearly as frequently as these substances, this class of drugs can still produce withdrawal symptoms. These substances may include amphetamines, cocaine, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine (crystal meth).

Drug And Alcohol Withdrawal Signs And Symptoms

Ideally, if a person wants to begin their recovery from drug or alcohol addiction they should have a treatment plan in place before they begin to withdrawal. However, sometimes a person may go into withdrawal without having made these arrangements.

In this case, it can be beneficial to know the signs of drug or alcohol withdrawal so that appropriate treatment can be sought quickly. Without this professional help, the threat of relapse and withdrawal complications can be high.

People who are dependent on drugs or alcohol could go into withdrawal if they suddenly stop taking the substance. This is often referred to as quitting a drug “cold turkey.” Other people may develop withdrawal symptoms if they drastically cut back on the amount they take.

Individuals who are taking a high dose of a drug or who are abusing a short-acting medication may experience withdrawal more heavily.

Cravings are one of the most frequent side effects of withdrawal. Other side effects vary and are dependent on the drug of abuse.

Alcohol Withdrawal Signs And Symptoms

When an alcohol-dependent person goes into withdrawal, they may have:

  • anxiety or depression
  • mood swings
  • nausea and vomiting
  • no appetite
  • pale skin
  • shaky hands
  • sweaty skin
  • trouble thinking

Severe alcohol withdrawal may produce seizures, delirium, hallucinations, and other serious side effects. This state, delirium tremens, can be deadly without medical treatment.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Signs And Symptoms

An individual who is addicted to benzodiazepines may develop:

  • anxiety
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased sensory stimulation
  • insomnia
  • mood shifts
  • quickened heart rate
  • sweating
  • tremors

Like alcohol, benzodiazepine withdrawal can become severe and cause seizures and delirium tremens. Though rare, benzodiazepine withdrawal can be life-threatening.

Opioid Withdrawal Signs And Symptoms

Addiction to opiates or opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl, or prescription opioid painkillers may cause the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • achy muscles
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • diarrhea or vomiting
  • enlarged pupils
  • goosebumps
  • runny nose
  • stomach cramps
  • sweating
  • teary eyes
  • yawning

Additionally, withdrawal from amphetamines, cocaine, methamphetamine (crystal meth), and other stimulants could cause anxiety, headaches, mood swings, poor concentration, tiredness, and/or psychosis.

Alcohol And Drug Withdrawal Treatment And Detoxification

The primary aim of detoxification from alcohol or drugs is to make a person safe and comfortable as their body begins to cleanse the drug from its system.

The way this is achieved is dependent on how severely a person is addicted and the type of program they’re enrolled in.

Certain types of withdrawal frequently require medications as part of the detoxification process. Medications are commonly combined with behavioral therapies so that both the physical and psychological elements of addiction are addressed. This is called medication-assisted treatment or MAT.

During alcohol withdrawal, certain benzodiazepine drugs or anti-seizure medications may be used to help a person safely detox. Acamprosate (Campral) is also used and can be especially helpful for people who are experiencing protracted withdrawal or PAWS.

There are several FDA-approved medications for opioid withdrawal. The most commonly used are methadone and buprenorphine. Buprenorphine-based medications for withdrawal include:

  • Bunavail (buprenorphine and naloxone)
  • Sublocade (buprenorphine)
  • Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone)
  • Subutex (buprenorphine)
  • Zubsolv (buprenorphine and naloxone)

In addition to reducing cravings and painful withdrawal symptoms, these medications help a person taper off the drug of abuse.

By slowly tapering a person off a drug, the risk of dangerous side effects is decreased. In addition to medications, IV fluid hydration, and nutritional support may be administered.

Withdrawing from drugs or alcohol can be an emotionally exhausting and overwhelming time. The most comprehensive programs offer compassionate support and counseling during this process as well.

Paying For A Drug And Alcohol Detox Program

The cost of addiction treatment, including detox, can vary from facility to facility and be dependent on the level of care and medications a person receives.

If a person needs an inpatient detox program that uses medications, the cost of treatment may be more expensive. However, choosing detox and treatment is an investment in a person’s future. Without it, the price of continued drug abuse can be far more expensive.

Prior to enrolling in a program, a person or their family member should see if their health insurance company is in a network and if they cover a drug detox program. If they do, a person may still be responsible for a portion of treatment.

In this circumstance, or for individuals who don’t have health insurance, there are still options that could help a person pay for detox and rehab. Many programs offer financing options, including monthly payment plans. These could help make detox and treatment more affordable.

Other facilities may offer income-based sliding scales that reduce the cost of detox for low-income individuals. Scholarships and grants for drug detox and rehab may be available as well.

Choosing the right medical detox program for drug addiction or alcoholism could start a person on the path to long-term sobriety. For more resources and information contact DrugRehab.org today.

Medicaid.gov - Overview of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Care Clinical Guidelines: A Resource for States Developing SUD Delivery System Reforms

Medline Plus - Alcohol Withdrawal

Medline Plus - Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal

Medline Plus - Substance Use - Amphetamines

Medline Plus - Substance Use - Cocaine

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Methamphetamine: What is methamphetamine?

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Misuse of Prescription Drugs: How can prescription drug addiction be treated?

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Pharmacotherapies

SA Health - Benzodiazepine withdrawal management