California Highlands Addiction Treatment offers the first step in addiction treatment through safe and comprehensive medical detox for drug and alcohol dependence. We are committed to providing medical detox services with fully accredited medical professionals on staff, monitoring you for 24 hours per day. Through medical treatment, we can help alleviate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and avoid any serious medical complications.
Withdrawal occurs after you form a chemical dependence on drugs or alcohol. The longer you have been using an addictive substance, the more intense your withdrawal symptoms could be. When your brain and body become used to a psychoactive chemical, it takes time to return to normal brain chemistry after quitting. In some cases, as with central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines and alcohol, withdrawal can cause potentially dangerous symptoms that require medical treatment. Withdrawal symptoms can be different from person to person and drug to drug, but there are a few common ones, including:
- Elevated heart rate
- Muscle and joint soreness
- Shortness of breath
Though certain drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous, the prognosis is typically greatly increased with medical care. Medical detox is about more than just mitigating discomfort; it can help treat and avoid dangerous medical complications.
Frequently Asked Detox Treatment Questions
What Is Detox Treatment?
Detox treatment is the highest level of care in addiction treatment, and it’s often the first step in the continuum of care. Detox can also be referred to as medically managed intensive inpatient services since it involves 24 hours of medical care every day. Detox is a medical treatment that is designed to help you get through the first stage of addiction recovery while your brain chemistry is returning to normal after you stop using drugs or alcohol. The first goal is safety, and you will be monitored and treated for any potentially dangerous medical issues. The second goal is comfort, and any unpleasant symptoms will be alleviated as much as possible.
The nature of your addiction treatment will depend on a variety of factors, but your treatment will generally adapt to your specific needs. Factors that affect the type of treatment you receive in treatment can include:
- The kind of drug you became dependent on. Different drugs have different effects during withdrawal and require different medications to treat. For instance, opioids cause flu-like symptoms, depressants cause an overactive nervous system, and stimulants cause depression and psychological symptoms. All need a unique approach to treat them effectively.
- If you need treatment for polydrug use. Using more than one kind of drug is common, especially among recreational users. If you’ve become dependent on multiple drugs at once, your treatment plan will need to adapt to multiple types of withdrawal symptoms.
- Other medical issues. Injuries, diseases, and medical complications that your enter treatment will need to be addressed. Addiction can cause medical complication, but it also can lead you into other issues like intravenous drug use diseases. For treatment to be successful, all medical needs have to be met.
- Psychological complications. Some drugs, like methamphetamine (meth for short), can take a psychological toll that can be treated in detox. Symptoms like anxiety and depression are common in medical detox and can be addressed when necessary. Depression and anxiety have close relationships with addiction and are often underlying issues that cause substance use disorders.
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The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has a set of six criteria that are used to place people in the right level of care for their specific needs. The first three are used to determine a person’s need for medical detox. They include acute intoxication or withdrawal potential, biomedical complications, and psychological complication. Someone that has pressing needs in any of these three areas will probably be placed in a higher level of care like detox.
Do I Need Medical Detox Treatment Services?
If you’ve been using potentially addictive psychoactive drugs and you are wondering if you need detox treatment services, there are several warning signs that your drug use is becoming a physical dependence. First, you may feel a growing tolerance to the drug, and you may need to take more to achieve the same psychoactive effects. If you escalate your drug use to make up for your tolerance level, you will increase your risk of becoming physically dependent.
One of the clearest signs that you’ve become physically dependent is using drugs to maintain a sense of normalcy, rather than recreation. You may start using drugs or alcohol alone, apart from a social atmosphere.
Withdrawal symptoms are another clear sign that drug use is becoming dependence. If you cut back or stop using and experience uncomfortable symptoms, or if you try and fail to quit because of those symptoms, that indicates a physical dependence.
If you’ve become dependent, the type of drug also will indicate the urgency of your need for detox. Stimulants cause uncomfortable psychological symptoms, opioid withdrawal mimics the flu and can become dangerous if you become dehydrated, and depressants like alcohol can cause dangerous nervous system overactivity. All can be treated, but it’s incredibly important for you to seek treatment if you want to stop using depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines.
What If I have Medical Conditions Unrelated to Addiction?
Medical detox is about meeting your most pressing needs, including ones not related to withdrawal or drug dependence. Active addiction can lead a person to a variety of medical issues and complications, and it’s common for people to enter treatment programs with injuries and infectious diseases. But it’s also possible for you to enter addiction treatment with medical conditions that predate your substance use disorder altogether. In some cases, conditions such as chronic pain can be an underlying cause for the development of a substance use issue.
For treatment to be effective, all of your biggest needs should be taken into account any medical concerns should be treated. At California Highlands, we follow Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which considers basic needs like physiological needs and safety to be critically important. When you enter detox, those needs will be met first, even if that involves a medical condition that’s not related to addiction.
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How Long Is Medical Detox Treatment?
The length of time you spend in detox will depend on your specific needs, but it generally lasts for about a week. In some circumstances, it could last for about two weeks. The presence of other medical issues also can cause treatment to last a bit longer. But when your condition is stabilized, and you no longer need constant care from medical professionals, you may be moved to a lower level of care like medical monitoring or clinical monitoring.
Continued Commitment to Recovery
California Highlands Addiction Treatment offers a full continuum of care after detoxification. If you’ve become addicted to drugs or alcohol, a week of detox may not be enough to treat your substance use disorder effectively. Addiction is a deeply seeded disease that affects the limbic system of the brain. Continued addiction treatment is the best way to learn to cope with addiction and achieve long-lasting recovery.
To learn more about medical detox services or addiction treatment, call (888) 969-8755 and speak to an addiction specialist at California Highlands Addiction Treatment. Start your journey to lasting recovery today.
American Society of Addiction Medicine. (n.d.). American Society of Addiction Medicine. from https://www.asam.org/resources/the-asam-criteria/about
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 06). Prescription CNS Depressants. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants