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For those individuals who struggle with substance abuse dependency , medical detoxification is critical in order to begin a recovery process. Medical detoxification, is required to be performed under medical supervision of Substance Abuse Professionals, and is the most effective type of  “cleansing” method of drugs in your body. In addition to medical detoxification, the patient may be given addiction medication to help manage the withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Detoxification, or detox, is the initial step in treating painkiller addiction or physical dependency.  Detox involves “cleansing” the drugs out of person’s body. This means a complete abstinence from the drugs, and allow the body to experience withdrawal. The detox has be to be managed by Substance Abuse Professionals, as it may involve medical intervention for conditions that are caused by painful withdrawal symptoms, and the patient may need addiction medications to help with withdrawal symptoms and other conditions associated with drug addiction.

Depending on the stage of addiction, and any associated medical conditions, medical detox may be performed in either in-patient or out-patient setting. In the in-patient setting the patient stays in the hospital type  facility, such as Alcohol and Drug Rehab Hospital. And the out-patient setting, the patient has to attend regular office visits to be observed by a physician. An in-patient detox at the hospital is much more effective, as the patient has a 24 hours professional medical care. And in the case of emergency, medical professionals can get involved right away to assist the patient in any critical situation.

During detox the patient can get medical assistance for withdrawal symptoms, that can be really difficult at times. The withdrawals symptoms are:

  • Powerful cravings
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal tract problems
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability

If the detox performed at home without medical supervision, the cravings and the withdrawal symptoms can drive a person to take more drugs, or use other drugs to try to help with their conditions.  For this reason, medical intervention and supervision is necessary, to avoid overdose and death.

There are several addiction medications that can help the patient manage his withdrawals symptoms and powerful cravings .

The medications that are often used in treatment for opioids are:

  • Naltrexone-is used for preventing opioids from attaching to the receptors. It is often used to treat addiction and overdoses.
  • Mehtadone-is a synthetic opioid, that diminishes withdrawal symptoms and cravings,  by altering brain areas responsible for reward system.
  • Buprenorphine, is a partial opioid, that can help to manage cravings.

In some cases the patient chosen to go through detox under anesthesia. However, recent reports advised that, this type of detox may lead to negative side effects, and may not be very helpful for managing withdrawal symptoms.

Medical detoxification alone is not sufficient enough for substance abuse treatment program.  In the next step, the patient has to undergo  substance counseling and behavioral therapy, that addresses substance abuse and physical dependency. The recovery is a long process, and the patient has to continue with individual and group counseling ,support from his family and friends, in order to avoid relapse and lead a drug free life.