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What is Medical Detox for Alcohol and Drug Addiction?

What is Medical Detox?

Medical detox, also known as Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a detox and rehabilitation plan that combines the use of prescription medications with counseling, behavioral therapy, and clinical care to ensure the safety and comfort of patients who are coming off opioids, alcohol, and other physically addictive substances that may have dangerous or deadly withdrawal symptoms.

Medical detox focuses on the whole patient, rather than just the physical withdrawal symptoms, so you can begin to get to the root of your addiction, dealing with unwanted and unproductive emotions and behaviors, increasing the chance of a full recovery.

Some of the benefits of going through a MAT program at The Healing Place include:

  • Not suffering needlessly through your detox
  • 24-hour monitoring by medical professionals to ensure you remain safe and healthy
  • Therapy and counseling provided for emotional support
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions are diagnosed and treated at the same time as addiction
  • Programs customized to best suit specific needs, with transitions into rehab after detox made as seamless as possible
  • A physical separation from enablers, drug dealers, and locations that may trigger a relapse

After MAT detox and a customized rehabilitation program, you will regain control over your life, with the ability to live independently without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Who Can Benefit from a Medical Detox Program?

A medical detox program will benefit anybody who has a physical dependence on a substance. Some signs of physical dependence include:

  • Experiencing drug cravings or withdrawal symptoms, being unable to quit using the substance on your own
  • Developing a tolerance to a substance, needing to take more to get the same effect
  • Using a substance over a long period of time or bingeing frequently

Drugs that Require Medical Detox

Common drugs that require a medical detox include opiates, alcohol, cocaine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, MDMA, and crystal meth. Both prescription and illicit drugs can create a physical dependence over time, especially if they are abused over a long period of time, large quantities are taken (bingeing), or if you have a history of addiction.

Medications Used in Detox

Common medications used in medical detox for alcohol and drug addiction include:

Methadone – reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, Methadone is used to replace the addiction, then it tapered off slowly

Naltrexone – used for alcohol and opioid addiction, and acts as an opioid blocking agent, stopping euphoric and sedative effects that contribute to addiction

Vivitrol – an injectable form of Naltrexone used for opioid and alcohol addiction

Suboxone – a medication equal in effectiveness to methadone for opioid addiction treatment, but is a partial activator of the opioid receptor so it carries less addiction and overdose risk than methadone

Buprenorphine – reduces opioid cravings and minimizes uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms

Sublocade – a long-acting, injectable form of buprenorphine

Disulfiram – causes unpleasant symptoms if you drink to reinforce abstinence after detoxing

Acamprosate – does not prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms but will help patients avoid alcohol use

Medications used in medical detox programs are provided by medical professionals in prescription doses, with 24/7 monitoring by staff to ensure you are progressing safely, without feeling the pain, restlessness, and cravings that come with withdrawal.

How Long Does Detox Last?

There is no definitive answer to the question of how long detox will take, as everybody’s situation is different. Your timeline will depend on factors like:

  • The frequency, duration, and quantity of drug/alcohol use
  • The type of substance used and whether you were using more than one at a time
  • Individual factors like metabolism, weight, age, genetic factors, and more

In general terms, detox usually takes between five to seven days to get to a point where you are physically stable enough to move on to your next phase of treatment.

What Happens After Medical Detox

Detox is the first step to recovery but is only a short-term solution. Treating the underlying causes of addiction is the key to recovery, and through The Healing Place inpatient or outpatient rehab program you will be able to get to the root of your addiction, reframe and alter your mindset so you are able to identify and change unproductive, unhelpful behaviors and attitudes, and gain sobriety tools you will need to maintain your recovery for the long-term.

We will provide you with a fully supportive community, along with physical and mental health care and all the support you will need to take back control of your life. Contact us today to learn more about medical detox programs, and what we can do to help get you back on track and become the best version of yourself.


Medical Detox from Drugs or Alcohol: When is it Needed and Why? (therecoveryvillage.com)

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