Monday, February 20, 2012

What is Drug Detox?

The first step in recovery from addiction to opiates or other drugs is the detox process.  This is the process of eliminating all traces of the drug from a patient's brain and body.  When regular drug use ceases, the detoxification process begins.  Without clinical assistance, detox takes between one and two weeks, and includes a wide variety of symptoms accelerating from mild discomfort to intolerable pain.  This naturally occurring detox is known as withdrawals and few patients ever succeed in overcoming them without assistance.

Clinical treatment has proved invaluable to recovering drug addicts suffering from withdrawals.  In the past, there was little that could be done to speed recovery.  Traditional, in-house treatment programs kept patients in a controlled atmosphere with no access to drugs, as well as providing sedation or counseling as needed.

Recent advancements in clinical detoxification has resulted in a much faster, more comfortable experience for the patient as well as opportunity for long-term recovery.  Programs are now available for accelerated detox, which allows the patient to be completely drug-free in just a few days.  These programs are carefully administered by skilled medical professionals and typically require no hospitalization. 

In most cases, the patient will be mildly sedated for the first day, making the symptoms easily enough tolerated he or she will be able to return home.  On the second day, they will again be mildly sedated, as well as given a precise amount of medication which speeds the body's release of narcotics which speeds up the detoxification.  On the third, and most often final day of treatment, the patient is sedated completely, or to whatever extent is needed to ensure comfort.  They are monitored while specialized medication called antagonists, removes the final traces of narcotics from the body and brain. 

At the point the detox process is considered complete, the patient is completely drug-free.  While this is the first hurdle one must overcome in drug addiction recovery, there are many more to come - from social to psychological to habitual addiction issues; all of which may be successfully and permanently eradicated with determination and proper clinical assistance.  For more information on narcotic detox treatments, or any other step in the recovery process, please visit

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