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Posted on February 11th, 2016

Detoxification: The first step to recovery from addiction

Detoxification: The first step to recovery from addiction

More people die in America each year of opioid abuse than by road accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified prescription drugs or opioids problem an epidemic, while the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that its abuse was a threat to the achievements of modern medicine. As more and more people queue up at rehabilitation centers for treatment, it is necessary for people to know more about the detoxification process – the first step to recovery from an addiction.

Detoxification for any substance, including the commonly abused opioids, is the first step of the recovery process. Addicts committed to free themselves of their dependency on the substance must begin their journey with detox. Detoxification from drugs is a procedure of medically supervised withdrawal from addictive substances under the care of a certified medical practitioner. The whole process needs to be done under accredited therapeutic control due to the physical dependence of the addicts on the substance over time and the withdrawal symptoms that they display because of the addiction habits.

Some common methods of detoxification are:

Rapid detoxification: A patient undergoing the process is made to sleep under general anesthesia. He is injected with medications called opiate blockers, which stop the action of narcotics and opiate drugs apart from other medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms such as muscle relaxants or anti-nausea medications. Rapid withdrawal of the physical effects of addiction is an essential feature of this process. The whole process achieves completion within four to eight hours, with doctors using opiate blockers as naltrexone, naloxone and nalmephine. They usually discharge the patients within 48 hours following their recovery from anesthesia and after having assessed their physical status.

This process is a boon for people suffering from addiction to drugs like heroin, Vicodin, Percocet, Demerol, Dilaudid, Darvocet, OxyContin, opium, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, prescription painkillers, and all other opiates as the duration of detoxification is less and patients are spared the pain and distress during the withdrawal process.

Stepped rapid detoxification: Practitioners use this approach as an alternative to the rapid detoxification process injecting small doses of Narcon (Naloxone) or providing oral doses of naltrexone along with small levels of withdrawal management medications, though the oral process rids the body slower than the intravenous procedure. During the procedure, the patient keeps communicating with the medical staff till completion of the process. Detoxification and stabilization are possible with Naltrexone Maintenance Therapy with two or four small manageable bites.

Ultra rapid detoxification: General anesthesia is administered to the patients and dosages of Naltrexone are given to the patients which, in turn, block their endorphin receptors. The withdrawal process gets accelerated allowing full detoxification within a span of 5-30 minutes. The process is described as painful by the patients with doctors lessening the level of pain with the help of anesthesia. This is a costly process and involves a great deal of risk.

Outpatient detoxification: This is a safe method and considered effective for people exhibiting mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms. For example, detoxification of opiates in the outpatient primary care setting can be achieved with a variety of medications such as buprenorphine-naloxone (BUP/NX) or clonidine alone or combined with naltrexone. Buprenex has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can be given on an outpatient basis by physicians who receive the required eight-hour training. The procedure, making use of Buprenex, can be completed within one to two weeks.

Methadone: This is the most common process of opiate detoxification and makes use of Methadone in an approved clinic. The process involves tapering the patient down from the usual dose to zero over a period of approximately three weeks. Patients feel uncomfortable during the withdrawal period and often relapse to drugs during the withdrawal period.

Road to recovery

If you or your loved one is suffering from an addiction, it’s time for specialized intervention. Call the Arizona Detox Helpline now to learn more about ways to get rid of the dependence and enjoy a new lease of life. You may call our 24/7 helpline number 866-593-8453 or chat online to one of our representatives for further information.