What is detox, why is it important in the treatment process and how does it help improve your chances of long-term recovery from addiction?

The numbers don’t lie. Those who go through medical detox are more than 20 percent more likely to successfully complete treatment than those who don’t, according to statistics published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (www.SAMHSA.gov).

Do-It-Yourself Detox Dangers

Still, detox is a scary prospect for many struggling with addiction. Some find it so frightening they opt for a do-it-yourself approach, trying to “white knuckle” it or go cold turkey, attempting to overcome addiction by sheer power of will. Going this route is dangerous, though. Addiction isn’t a weakness or character defect, and trying to overpower a chemical addiction with an emotional response doesn’t make those very real physical cravings go away. When you add that to trying to manage the effects of chemical withdrawal without medical supervision, it can be downright dangerous.

Medical Detox Facts

Detox is serious business and something Foundations Recovery Network facilities take very seriously. Our programs offer a medical detox that allows those with an addiction to safely, carefully get the substances out of their system with the least amount of discomfort and risk. Detox usually takes place in a separate wing.

Rapid Detox – Fact or Fiction?

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to sobriety. A growing trend in recovery would have you believe different. A relatively new service called Rapid Opiate Detoxification (also called ROD or “rapid detox”) certainly sounds appealing. Who wouldn’t want to detox in a matter of hours instead of days, with little to no memory of the withdrawal symptoms? But this controversial approach, which often includes sedating patients so they “sleep” though detox, can be very taxing to an addict’s already fragile body and very dangerous. There are medical risks, including death in extreme cases, and even when this approach seems to work, there is the danger of introducing “magic pill” thinking. By promising a quick fix instead of the truly hard work that overcoming an addiction takes, it can set up the patient for disappointment and eventually failure or relapse. Medically managed detox, on the other hand, is time-tested and has proven results.

Are You Addicted?

Maybe you’re not sure you need medical help. How can you tell if you, a friend or a loved one is in need of treatment for an addiction? Try answering these simple questions:

  • Are you using a chemical substance to escape today?
  • Have you tried to stop and can’t?
  • Are you practicing this behavior more than you did a few weeks or even a few days ago?

(For more on identifying an addiction and signs to watch for, go to www.helpguide.org)

Once a problem has been identified, it’s time to get help. There is a withdrawal period from any chemical substance and the side effects vary by patient and by drug of choice. Severe agitation, nausea and anger management issues are all common. Fortunately, these side effects diminish with time, allowing for more focus on the actual treatment process.

Help for Addiction

A comprehensive assessment by a trained professional can determine if medical detox is needed. If you think you or someone you know is in need of detox or treatment for an addiction, contact us at 269-280-4673.