8 FAQs about Medical Detox

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Addiction is a chronic disease, and long-term drug use can lead to chemical dependency to drugs or alcohol. Inpatient or medical detox is often recommended for those with a history of addiction. If you’re considering inpatient detox for yourself or a loved one, you probably have lots of questions about the process. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

What is Medical Detox?

When the body becomes dependent on a substance, removal of the substance can cause physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. Medical detoxification provides a safe environment for withdrawal from drugs or alcohol under medical supervision. When/if necessary, you receive medication to relieve some symptoms associated with detox. This can make detox safer and easier to get through than if you tried to do it on your own.
There is a wide range of symptoms an individual can experience during detox. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Shaking
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating

Medical detox won’t help you avoid all of these symptoms, but it can reduce their severity and allow you to detox in a comfortable environment.

Does Detox Treat Addiction?

Yes and no. Medical detox helps in the sense that your body is cleansed of addictive substances in the short term, and it can relieve acute symptoms associated with withdrawal.
Importantly, it does not address the root cause(s) of addiction, nor what you’ll have to do to maintain sobriety. It sets the stage so that you can receive the therapeutic measures to help you achieve your long-term goals, but detox alone does little to change addictive behaviors.

When Can You be Admitted?

In most instances, you should be able to enter detox treatment at any time of day. If you are having a medical emergency, same-day admittance is necessary. Pyramid Healthcare’s detox centers all offer 24-hour admissions.

Do Detox Centers Accept Teenagers?

Yes, detox is available for teens. Again, if a teen has a long history of substance abuse, clinicians may recommend detox as a part of treatment. You can learn more about our drug detox process for teens at Pyramid, including which locations offer detox for adolescents.

How Long Does Detox Take?

The duration of medical detoxification varies from person to person. Factors like co-occurring disorders, severity of withdrawal symptoms, length of your addiction, recency of drug use, and substance(s) you were using can all impact the duration of detox.

That said, the time range tends to be a few days to two weeks. To be safe, expect two weeks, but again, every individual is different. Our philosophy is that detox should take as long as needed to reach a drug-free state.

Can You Leave Detox for Short Periods?

The care you receive in detox is 24 hours a day and administered by qualified medical professionals. In limited circumstances, outpatient detox may be possible, but plan on inpatient detox truly meaning that it occurs in an inpatient setting.

Is Detox a Sign of Weakness?

There are some stigmas associated with detox and treatment. Physical withdrawal is a serious medical issue; it is not a sign of weakness. For your safety, it is best to go through detox while under medical supervision. In addition, you deserve to be surrounded by people who are concerned about your well-being and who want to help you seek treatment.

Does Insurance Pay?

Many inpatient detox centers accept insurance. You may also be able to use state programs, employee assistance programs, and self-payment to fund treatment.

For many, medical detox for addiction is the first step on the long road to recovery. Once detox is complete, you’ll likely discuss next steps for your treatment plan. For more answers to frequently asked questions about treatment at Pyramid Healthcare, visit our FAQs page or contact our admissions department.

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