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Addiction Treatment: What is Medical Detox and it is Right for You?

She may seek addiction treatment, such as medical detox

There are many types of addiction treatment, but which one is right for you? One option is medical detox. Let’s start by defining the main terms of drug addiction.

What are Drug Addiction, Rehab, and Relapse?

Drug addiction is a disease where a person has uncontrollable and compulsive urges to use substances, despite negative consequences that can be mental and physical. Over time, self-control becomes more difficult as impairment occurs in the brain. Depending on the drug, these effects may be somewhat minor, but long-lasting use can become increasingly serious.

Next, rehab is the process of removing the drug from the person’s system, and then staying clean long-term. Relapse is then when a person who hasn’t been using a drug for an extended period starts using again.

The Beginnings of Drug Addiction

Often, severe drug addiction doesn’t start with much more than experimenting with the substance out of curiosity, without intending to continue use long-term. The effects are often pleasant for the user, but in all cases, are addicting. Once the body starts craving the substance, the addiction gets ingrained, and then usage becomes compulsive. This process can have serious negative effects on both a person’s mental and physical health and the lives of those around them.

Treating Drug Addiction

Drug addiction can be treated, but the process isn’t necessarily simple. After long-term use, the time and effort it takes to function without the drug worsens. Most people need lengthy professionally-guided plans and treatments to prevent relapse down the road.

There are several steps to treat addiction. The first is to stop using the drug, and then stay away from the drug. Finally, return to the community of family and friends, and work. No single treatment works for everyone though. Often, a combination of techniques must be used for rehab to be successful. This may include a combination of addiction treatment types:

  • Behavioral therapies
  • Certain medications
  • Medical devices to help lessen symptoms
  • Follow-up treatments after primary treatment ends

Addiction Treatment Types: Defining Medical Detox

An example of an integrated treatment may be a fentanyl detox with a structured tapering program. Medicines and medical devices are often useful during the detoxification part of the treatment. What follows is an explanation of how medical detox can be helpful.

When a drug that a person has become chronically reliant on is removed from the system, withdrawal is common. This will often come with physical and mental symptoms including flu-like symptoms, seizures, and worse. To lessen these uncomfortable and even painful effects, rehab professionals often use medication and medical devices. In 2014 alone, almost 80 percent of detoxifications included some assistance from additional medication.

When a professional administers these medications properly within detox in a clinical setting, they can help to:

  • Re-establish normal brain function
  • Give the body a milder version of the chemical it got used to
  • Taper off the drug
  • Stimulate certain brain areas to help lessen reliance on the drug

Types of Medications in Detox

Opioids are a common drug during professional medical detox. This particular class of drugs targets the same part of the brain as common addictive drugs, including heroin and morphine. Other medications, such as Naltrexone, block the effects of the harmful drug in the brain and help to ease cravings.

As an example, for tobacco addiction treatment, one may use patches for gum with some nicotine in them. Doing so can to help an addict come off the bad habit of smoking more gradually, without having to endure the full effect of withdrawal from the drug at once.

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