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Medical Detox
affordable drug rehab centers in colorado

Medical Detox

Medical detox is a necessary first step in the rehabilitation of an established addiction. Once the cravings and withdrawal symptoms of an addiction have developed, the addict will need to go to a licensed drug treatment center, a hospital or other medical facility for a period of detox. Not all treatment centers offer in-house detox, but those that don’t usually will not accept a patient until they have completed detox at another facility.

Detox lasts for roughly four to seven days. During that time, patients reside at the facility and receive medical care and monitoring around the clock. This gives them a safe environment in which to come down off the substance they’ve been abusing and get through the worst of their withdrawal symptoms. Once this process is complete, the patient moves on to the next step — usually a residential treatment stay of at least 30 days in a licensed and accredited substance abuse treatment facility.

Don’t Detox At Home

People sometimes feel that beating an addiction is just a matter of willpower, and that they can go “cold turkey” at home without going through the expense or trouble of detox. They usually learn very quickly that this is a major mistake. Addiction causes a physical dependency that actually changes the composition of the brain, and it takes a long time and proper care to even reverse this damage to manageable levels.

Those that try “DIY Detox” usually find that the cravings and withdrawal symptoms drive them back into substance use within a day or two. For strong addictions that have been established for a long time, the sudden shock to the system caused by entirely cutting off the substance can actually be dangerous to health. Symptoms of a “shock detox” can range from uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea all the way up to coma and death. There’s also the risk of an overdose death due to binging. Self-detox is just a terrible idea all around; it doesn’t work, and it creates far too many health risks.


Commonly Abused Substances in Colorado and Their Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Alcohol – The worst of alcohol’s withdrawal symptoms are collectively called “delirium tremens” or “D.T.” These symptoms usually appear in stronger addictions that have been established for a long time. D.T. symptoms include fever, uncontrollable tremors or shaking, strong headaches and impaired thinking. The death rate for those suffering from D.T. is about one to five percent. Alcohol withdrawal is also known for unpleasant psychological symptoms, most commonly anxiety, depression and irritability.
  • Meth – Meth withdrawal causes the most severe and long-lasting depression of any drug, even more so than that of cocaine or opioids. Users in withdrawal also often feel itchy all over and will pick at their skin in the belief that they have tiny bugs on them, causing scars and sores all over their body.
  • Heroin – Heroin withdrawal is characterized by strong nausea, strong depression, a lack of energy and intense cravings for a period of up to a week. Heroin users in withdrawal also frequently experience aches and pains in their lower body, excessive sweating and a runny nose that won’t seem to stop.

Common Detox Medications Prescribed in Colorado

  • Methadone: Methadone is one of the most common drugs prescribed for the management of an opioid addiction. It is an opioid itself and satisfies cravings, but does not bring on an intense high as other opioids do. It cannot be prescribed for home use and must be taken in single doses at a clinic.
  • Antabuse: Antabuse is one of the most common trade names for disulfiram, a drug that interferes with the process of alcohol digestion such that users start feeling like they have a hangover almost immediately upon drinking. The effects can last for over a week on just one dose of the drug. It cannot be taken if alcohol has already been consumed in the previous 12 hours, however.
  • Neurontin: Neurontin is one of the most common trade names for the drug gabapentin, a drug that is used for a wide range of neurological symptoms as well as for treatment of substance abuse. It is generally prescribed to lessen symptoms of withdrawal, with a particular effectiveness when used for alcohol withdrawal. It does not do anything to prevent addicts from using a substance, however.


Licensed Treatment

Medical detox at a licensed treatment center is a virtual necessity for those with an established addiction. It gets treatment off to a proper start, forming the foundation that addicts need for lasting recovery. If you have questions about medical detox rehabilitation, call your local rehab treatment centers today.