Drug And Alcohol Detoxification

Alcohol AddictionAlcohol abuse is one of the most common abuses around the globe. Drinking alcohol is socially accepted by most people, and if not controlled, it can lead to addiction. Alcohol consumption is legal, but it is controlled. Alcohol is taken in the forms of beer, wine, and liquor. If consumed for a period it can cause slurred speech, loss of coordination and balance.

Also, it can tamper with your relations at work, family or even in the community. Surprisingly, not everyone who takes alcohol is an alcoholic. If you find you or your loved is generally affected in life by consumption of alcohol; not able to accomplish their goals or are continually causing problems when drunk, they are suffering from alcohol disorder, and they need medical attention.

Beer Addiction and Abuse

Beer is an alcoholic drink formulated using water, barley, hops, and yeast. It has the lowest content of alcohol as compared to other forms of alcohol such as liquor and wine. The most consumed beers are Coors Light, Corona, and Budweiser. Mostly, people drink 3 – 5 bottles of beer to get drunk.

In America beer is commonly taken in activities such as games, in happy moments; it is in their culture. Alcohol use disorder is characterized by wanting to drink even when your friends have stopped or drinking in odd and boring situations such as when you lose a loved one or job.

Wine Addiction and Abuse

Wine AddictionWine is mostly distributed as white or red wine with different flavors. It is formulated using grapes or fruits like berries and pomegranates. White wines include pinot grigio, Moscato, and Chardonnay. Merlot and Pinot noir are examples of commonly used red wines.

Wine has more alcohol content as compared to beer. People usually enjoy drinking wine at parties, and you can rarely detect if one has a problem. If you find yourself consuming wine more frequent than usual or taking it in uncomfortable situations, you may be having a problem.

Liquor Addiction and Abuse

vodka gin rumLiquors are hard drinks or spirits such as vodka, gin, rum, tequila, or whiskey. They have high contents of alcohol and most are combined with water or sodas. Carbonation accelerates the absorption of alcohol in the system thus when combined with soda; one gets intoxicated faster. Although many people who drink claim that different alcohol causes different intoxication feelings, researchers argue that no matter the alcohol drink one takes, alcohol has similar effects.

People who are addicted to alcohol, find it challenging to start their day without a sip of the drink or cannot sleep without passing by at the bar. Irrespective of the type of alcohol consumed, one is at risk of suffering a severe addiction problem.

Immediate Impacts of Alcohol

Alcohol supress the function of the central nervous system. It slows down the body and mind reactions. Although, if you drink it at first, you may feel like your anxiety or stress has been reduced, it can harm you physically later. Alcohol is a social lubricant; it gives one more confidence to meet new people and cares less about how people perceive them.

Since alcohol use is licit and broadly accepted in the society, it can be difficult to note the difference between a person who is abusing and the one who is using within the agreed limits. Consumption of alcohol can harm your body and lead to financial strains. A person abusing alcohol will rarely perform at work and will always be having problems with the bosses and family members.

Abusing alcohol can lead to addiction which will call for medical attention.  Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is characterized by wanting to drink alcohol even when it is causing harm to your relations or body.  When a person is addicted, they will drink more than the required amounts, want to stop but are not able to, or experience painful withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking. Most alcohol addicts don’t care about their professional or family responsibilities; if they are high, that is all that matters.

Drug Detoxification and Withdrawal Programs

Ideally, the primary objective of the detox process to assist the body in healing after a period of harm by drugs and alcohol. It does this by removing all substances and alcohol from the body and stabilize one. Depending on the substance, period of addiction, and personal preferences, one can either detoxify in an inpatient clinic, outpatient clinic or at home. The more severe your addiction is and presence of other mental conditions, the better an inpatient program can be for you.

Detox is a painful process that can be accompanied by other side effects, and thus medical supervision is paramount. It ensures that the process is safe and effectual. Trying to detox at home? We have been there. Although it maybe the only option you have, it can harm you and, in most cases, it does not work.

Home drug kits are meant to aid you in the process privately, however they are unsuccessful, and if not guided by a doctor, it can be fatal. Before choosing to detox on your own, seek professional advice. Detoxification is the initial step that prepares and stabilizes you for recovery. It can combat withdrawal symptoms that result from the abrupt cessation of consumption of the substances or alcohol.

First, one is assisted in stabilizing and learning to live without depending on the drug or alcohol. Later the process of detox focusses on monitoring and supporting the body to get rid of the substance and help you manage the withdrawal symptoms.

The Process of Detox

Everyone reacts differently to detoxification depending on the drug and how profoundly it has been abused. Also, the length of detox varies between individuals and drugs. It can go for days or months before treating the withdrawal symptoms of many substances. The process involves three distinct steps.

The first step is an evaluation that entails screening the patient. The medical team conducts physical and mental examination by using the blood sample. It measures the amount of substance in the patient’s bloodstream. By doing so, the doctor will be able to determine the medications required and later what treatment plan may be useful for you.

The second step is stabilization to prevent any harm that the patient may experience. Medications are prescribed to assist in minimizing withdrawal symptoms. Also, therapies are conducted to calm your thoughts.  The last step prepares your body and mind for the treatment plan. One is familiarized on the whole treatment process; importance, medications and what to anticipate.

Detoxification Period

In the first stage of drug detox, it can be traumatizing for many patients. Therefore, medical and psychiatric support is vital to help the patients manage the side effects of the process. Patients who are dealing with opioid addiction such as heroin, experience severe withdrawal symptoms within the first few hours such as agitation, insomnia, muscle pains, sweating, and runny nose.

The withdrawal symptoms are manageable, though they can be uncomfortable and hence it is essential to get medical supervision during the process. Various issues pop up within the first hours of detox; they addressed according to urgency and impacts on the patient until when one is stable. There are multiple issues which include;

  • Violence

Some substances increase aggressive behaviors in  the consumers such as synthetic Cathinones or “bath salts.” Users can physically hurt themselves or those close to them. Such patients are customarily sedated to prevent them from harming themselves or the medical team. Sedation is only done if they are actively aggressive and they have attempted to hurt staff.

  • Injury

In some cases, before a patient is brought into the treatment facility, some might have harmed themselves while under the influence of substance or alcohol or have been sexually assaulted. Phencyclidine causes feelings of more energy and invulnerability if consumed. Although it is a misconception, most of its users put themselves in compromising situations where they can be hurt believing  that they will not be injured.

They will also try to commit suicide, and in instances where it is unsuccessful, they are severely injured. Before prescribing any treatment, the injuries are first addressed.

  • Threat to oneself

Withdrawing a substance that one has been dependent on for a long time can be depressing. If one has been taking opioid or any other drugs, they may have suicidal thoughts or successful suicide if they stop taking the drugs. If a patient is suspected of having suicidal thoughts, they should be given all clock round supervision. This can be noticed during admission or the process.

  • Signs of psychosis

They include visual hallucinations and delusional thoughts. Psychosis is a chronic complication that can be due to impacts of consumption of some drugs like cocaine. Use  of excess cocaine may cause paranoia. Psychosis can be because of frequent episodes of mental disorder like schizophrenia or insomnia caused by the stimulant. A patient of psychosis can be unpredictable and hence it is critical to treat it carefully before the patient gets into the treatment plan.

Drug Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Scientists claim that the abrupt halt of consumption of drugs has different withdrawal symptoms depending on the types of the drugs consumed. Also, the severity of the symptoms varies from persons. Various factors may affect the intensity of the withdrawal signs;

  • The period of addiction– if one consumes a substance daily for a period, they can have severe withdrawal symptoms which may take a more extended period to stabilize.
  • The amount of substances in the bloodstream at the time of admission to the facility– tolerance occurs due to persistence abuse of the drug. Ideally, the more quantities of the drug you take, the high the desired results. The higher the doses of the drugs, the more intense the symptoms will be.
  • Presence of mental disorders – this is typically determined during the first step of detox, evaluation. If one has co-occurring mental conditions like stress, anxiety, depression or physical ailments such as severe pain, the symptoms might be amplified because of withdrawal of the drug and lead to distress.
  • The halflife of the substance – generally, if a substance has a short-life, the withdrawal symptoms occurs shortly after the last dosage. On the other hand, if it is long-acting, one may experience the symptoms after a period.

Different drugs bring different withdrawal symptoms  but generally one experiences the following;

  • Insomnia– one suffers from sleep disturbances and constant fatigue.
  • Mood swings- it makes one very unpredictable and irritation or agitations.
  • Cravings – constant urge to take the substance to stop the withdrawal symptoms.
  • Physical conditions – the body experiences physical issues such as sweating, nausea, runny nose, headache, vomiting, and many others.

Types of Drug Detox

There are two main types of detox programs. The choice depends on the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms, drug abused, and personal preferences.

Outpatient Detox

Most physicians don’t recommend this type of detox, but it can be the best if the withdrawal symptoms are not severe, and one has a supporting family. Also, during the detox, one should continuously check in to the doctor to get medication and advice. In some cases, people are not able to afford the inpatient program or are the bread winners of their family and must work to provide for them.

Seeing the doctor often can be quite beneficial. It gives you the freedom to continue with your normal life while undergoing recovery. The focus iscounselling, educating and supporting the patient. Only individuals who are determined and disciplined benefit from the outpatient program; it is very tempting. There are different schedules of seeing the doctor; it can be daily, weekly or even monthly.  This depends on the substance used, the period, and one’s schedule.

Day program

In a day program, a patient is required to check with the doctor 5-7 days in a week for some hours. Mostly it is done in groups and one receives counseling and therapies such as biofeedback or music therapy.

Intensive outpatient program

An intensive outpatient program is an option for individuals who are much committed to recovery but are still needed at work or family. It is a treatment plan with measurable milestones to check the progress of the patient. As you achieve each milestone, the time committed weekly is reduced.

Continuing care

Continuing care involve support groups such as Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotic Anonymous that offer resources to addicts to enable them to gain sobriety. They are licensed, and members meet every week. They are sometimes formed depending on age or gender.

Advantages of Outpatient Program

For mild withdrawal symptoms, committed, disciplined and people who have other responsibilities, the outpatient program is best and has the following benefits;

  • Affordability– one is only required to see the doctor maybe daily or weekly, and thus you will be able to continue to work and earn. Since you will be staying at home, you will not incur costs of accommodation like in inpatient program.
  • Flexibility– it offers you different options, whether daily, weekly depending on your availability. It is very easy for those who have families to take care of to recover through this program.
  • Family support – one lives with their family thus they get all love and support they need. Detox can not only be challenging but also painful. During the period, one needs a family to motivate them.

Inpatient Detox

This is where a patient resides at the treatment center. It helps in preventing frequent episodes and ensures that patients receive medical attention every time. It is the most recommended by medics since it provides a positive environment for recovery. The ideal length is 30 days, but depending on the severity of withdrawal symptoms, it can be three months or even longer.

Benefits of Inpatient Program

It is the most recommended by doctors since it has various advantages. Benefits of signing for inpatient program range from a safe environment that is comfortable with 24/7 medical support to freedom from distractions or lousy company that may drag you back. The medic team encourages you throughout the process. Most addicts suffer from anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. In an inpatient program, you receive psychiatric care to help you deal with such mental conditions.

A patient receives personalized support and treatment plans from professionals. After evaluating and deciding on the medications, the patient receives medications  and support that help in addressing the specific needs. During the program, therapies are conducted to help you cope well with the treatment plan.

Inpatient program, since one stays at the clinic, they are educated on alcohol and drugs impacts. At the end of the program, individuals have essential life skills to help them in recovery. During the program, they share their experiences with other addicts that help in inspiring them.

Length of Drug Detox

Drug detoxification will always be conducted if the withdrawal symptoms are present. It is usually stopped after the patient has fully stabilized physically and mentally. Apart from helping the patient stop abusing substance or alcohol, detox also assists one in preparing them for the therapies and counseling that await them.

If one experiences depression and other mental related conditions, antidepressants are prescribed. In most cases, depression is commonly experienced by stimulant addicts such as cocaine or opioids such as heroin. Surprisingly, not every person who starts the detox program manages to complete on the first attempt. Keep trying no matter how many times, get it from me. One day you will get there.

Methods of Detox

Various factors contribute to the type of detox to be applied; class of drug, dosage taken before the patient begins detoxification process, the period one has been addicted and if the patient has combined with other substances. There are three detox approaches;

  1. Cold Turkey” detox – A patient quits using the substance abruptly with no medical attention and one may experience acute withdrawal symptoms. For some drugs, the withdrawal symptoms can be intensive and take weeks to disappear.
  2. Short-term medicated Detox – the type of detox where a patient stops consuming the drugs, and once the withdrawal symptoms appear, a short-term medication plan is prescribed to relieve them. For instance, if one is experiencing insomnia, they are given sleep drugs which are not addictive.
  • Long-term medicated detox – Other medications are given for a long time to help ease the withdrawal symptoms and prevent elapses. For example, an alcohol detox patient is given methadone to minimize the symptoms, but as time goes, the dosage is reduced.

Medications Used in Drug Detoxification

Medications are usually prescribed to help in calming cravings. They are useful in assisting one deal with withdrawal symptoms and maintain sobriety. Ideally, some mimic the action of drugs in the body and reduce the symptoms of withdrawal safely and comfortably.  Not all substances that have medications to help with withdrawal symptoms but commonly prescribed are;


MethadoneMethadone is mostly used for the treatment of opiates addiction. If prescribed by a doctor, one can only use it under supervision since it is restricted. The dosage can only be obtained from a methadone facility. Methadone helps in reducing cravings and has acts for a long time; 24-36 hours. Although it can help in alleviating withdrawal symptoms, it has a risk of addiction.

Usage has got side effects such as nausea, vomiting, itchy skin, excessive sweating among other effects of opioids.


Doctors usually prescribe Disulfiram to patients after alcohol detoxification. It is usually given after gaining sobriety; when somebody fears a relapse. The drug works by provoking negative impacts when somebody drinks alcohol such as blurred vision, excessive sweating, flashy face, or dizziness. If one experiences these disturbing side effects, they are likely to deter from taking alcohol.

Apart from discouraging somebody from drinking alcohol, Disulfiram has been known to be effective in stopping unwanted behavior, especially at parties. Besides the above advantages, the medication has got shortcomings which are inclusive of not being able to minimize cravings, does not stabilize brain functioning, and can fail to work if the patient isn’t inspired to stop drinking alcohol.

Additionally, this drug can cause detrimental side effects if the user continues to take large amounts of alcohol such as damage to liver and peripheral nerves.


Various drugs are commonly abused in the society,  whether legal or illegal a drug can be addictive and pose health dangers to your body.  Although some substances are recommended by the doctor for therapeutic treatment, they may affect your mind and body; hence it is important to be cautious. Drugs cause different feelings; some can make more energetic, and others slow down your activity.

Constant use of drugs causes addiction. Once a person is addicted it can be difficult to quit and thus support is required. However, it can be challenging to discover when you or your loved one are addicted, observe any negative that consumption of the drug is causing to your life. For instance, if your performance at work has dramatically reduced, it is high time you seek medical advice.

Getting assistance from specialists will assist in getting rid of the substances in your bloodstream. It is the first step towards recovery and helps in gaining and maintaining sobriety.  Detox is not a complete treatment for addiction, but one will require strict follow-up and therapies to prevent relapses.