The Importance of Medical Detox During Withdrawal


The decision to fight an addiction to drugs or alcohol is complex and often intimidating or frightening; however, it’s also something to be celebrated as that individual can look forward to beginning the journey to recovery and a better quality of life.

When a person suddenly stops using their substance of choice, they may experience unpleasant or even dangerous physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms indicate that the individual is going through withdrawal, which is the brain’s reaction to suddenly being without a substance that it has become dependent on.

In the case of withdrawal, a person may need to go through the detoxification process. During the detoxification process, or detox for short, the drugs and alcohol leave the body and send a person into withdrawal.

Because withdrawal can be uncomfortable and even lethal, counselors typically recommend that clients who want to end their substance use enter a residential detox facility. Oftentimes, clients will cite valid reasons for being unwilling to go to detox: they can’t take the time off work, they can’t afford detox, or they don’t have childcare. However, it’s very important to comply with your counselor’s recommendations if they tell you that you need to go to a detox facility. Here’s why medically monitored detox is safer than choosing to detox at home.

Reason #1: Withdrawal is Uncomfortable

Withdrawal from any substance is uncomfortable. Most people report physical symptoms when they are withdrawing, including:

  • Shakes
  • Restlessness
  • Sweats
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Withdrawing from a substance can also affect a person’s mental health and cause or exacerbate anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. When someone is withdrawing from drugs and alcohol, they may also experience a change in their sleeping or eating habits.

A residential detox facility is staffed by nurses and doctors that can prescribe palliative medications that can ease the physical and mental effects of withdrawal, making the process more comfortable.

Reason #2: Withdrawal Can Be Lethal

Withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepines like Xanax and Klonopin can be deadly, especially when stopped abruptly. Withdrawal from these substances can cause psychosis, delirium tremens, and seizures. Seizures experienced during withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepines pose the highest risk for death.

In residential detox facilities, doctors and nurses can monitor and address withdrawal symptoms and prescribe medications to help patients gradually taper off these substances as opposed to stopping abruptly.

Reason #3: Higher Risk for Relapse

It can be very difficult to resist the temptation to use substances while trying to detox on your own. When you’re feeling uncomfortable because of your withdrawal symptoms, you may feel more likely to use substances to numb your pain and discomfort.

In an inpatient detox facility, you will not have access to any drugs or alcohol, nor will you be as uncomfortable as you would be trying to detox on your own. Since drugs and alcohol are not accessible in an inpatient detox facility, your likelihood of relapsing while in treatment is virtually non-existent.

There are some very legitimate reasons not to go into inpatient care to detox from drugs and alcohol. However, the reasons to detox in an inpatient facility are far more compelling. Detoxing under the care of medical professionals can save your life and help start your recovery off on the right foot.

Looking for more information on medical detox? We answered eight frequently asked questions on our blog to help those who may be considering inpatient detox for themselves or a loved one.

Pyramid Healthcare offers inpatient detox for adults and adolescents looking to recover from substance use disorders. We provide 24-hour nursing care, medications for pain relief, and an element of therapy for the emotional challenges that come from detoxification.

If you are in need of an assessment to help determine whether detox is right for you, contact Pyramid Healthcare today. Once completed, clients in our detox programs meet with a specialist to begin developing future treatment plans to encourage continued success in sobriety.

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