(press release: summitbehavioralhealth) // New Jersey // Maria Ulmer MA, LMFT, CAADC | Chief Clinical Officer
Drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, Serenity at Summit, offers drug and alcohol detox and residential addiction treatment. Here, they address questions about medications that are commonly used to treat patients who are going through detoxification.
Detoxification is the process of ridding the body of the drugs or alcohol that it has become dependent on due to the habitual use of them. When a person who is dependent or addicted to drugs or alcohol stops using them, the body goes into withdrawal, which can be very uncomfortable physically and emotionally. That is why medically-assisted detox is recommended for addicts. In medically-assisted detox, patients are treated with medications that help manage withdrawal symptoms to keep them at a tolerable level.
Which types of medications are used for detox depends on which substances the patient has been using. The symptoms of withdrawal vary based on the type and amount the patient used, and they vary based on other factors like the physical health of the person as well.
Anti-nausea medications and over-the-counter medications are commonly used for withdrawal from all types of substances to help keep the user more comfortable.
There are other prescription medications that work best for the withdrawal symptoms of specific substances, but as with any medication, there are often side effects associated with them. The following describes the most common detox medications, how they work, and their possible side effects.
Heroin and Opioid Detox
Heroin is an opiate, so the detox for it and opioid painkillers is the same. The most commonly used detox drugs for opioid withdrawal are from the class of medications called opioid partial agonists. These medications require daily dosing and may require that the user show up daily at a doctor’s office or clinic to receive their dose.
The possible side effects of these medications are:
- Bluing of lips and fingernails,
- Shallow breathing
- Slow or uneven heartbeat
- Severe confusion
- Constipation, stomach pain, or vomiting
Withdrawal from alcohol can be very dangerous when it is not medically supervised, even resulting in death. Delirium tremens affects about ten percent of people who withdraw from alcohol, and they can be severe. The use of benzodiazepines is usually prescribed in order to calm psychomotor agitation. It’s estimated that without treatment about two to five percent of those who suffer from delirium tremens die during withdrawal.
Often, there are more substances involved with addicted people than just alcohol, which can make treating them more difficult. The administering of benzodiazepines has to be done carefully and only for the short-term to avoid dependency.
The common side effects of benzodiazepines are:
- a feeling of depression
- loss of orientation
- sleep disturbance
Addiction to benzodiazepines is often difficult to treat as those who typically abuse them suffer from anxiety-related disorders and they needed the medication in the first place. This type of drug is one of the most abused prescription medications.
Usually, a tapering schedule has to be adhered to in order to detox a person from benzodiazepines. Some people feel withdrawal symptoms almost immediately after the tapering begins, but most don’t feel the effects for a couple of weeks. Treatment for this type of withdrawal is very challenging because the drug that would typically be used to lessen the discomfort of withdrawal is the drug that the patient is addicted to.
Drug Detox at Serenity at Summit
At Serenity at Summit, we offer a medically-supervised detoxification program where we do our best to keep clients as comfortable as possible. Contact us today for more information about drug and alcohol detox.
FOR DRUG & ALCOHOL DETOX & PERSONALIZED 12 STEP PROGRAM ADDICTION TREATMENT
Serenity at Summit - New Jersey Addiction Treatment Centers - 609-422-5788 (Union, NJ)
40 Minutes from New York City
Serenity at Summit - New England, Addiction Treatment Centers
978-574-5999 (Haverhill, MA)
45 Minutes from Boston, Massachusetts
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