There are certain drugs you can stop taking on your own without going through a medically supervised detox. Drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and even methamphetamines do not require that you undergo a medical detox to kick your habit. Sure, quitting any one of these drugs is sure to be uncomfortable and guaranteed to make you a very unhappy camper for at least a week, but withdrawal is not life-threatening.

With certain other drugs, it’s a different story.

Prescription opiates, alcohol, heroin, and benzodiazepines absolutely require a medically supervised detox. Learn more about the process.

The Disease of Addiction – The Struggle is Real

If you’re reading this article, chances are you have been in a fight for a long time. You’ve either been battling addiction yourself or you have been watching it destroy someone you love.

Take heart. There is hope.

Addiction is not a moral failing. Addiction is a complex brain disease that effects the overall mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health of the person it attaches itself to. This is a difficult concept for many people to understand. This is largely because we live in a society where drugs are illegal and addiction is treated as a criminal issue by the federal government.

Addiction treatment is available in the United States and medical experts agree that it is a medical condition. However; if a law enforcement officer catches you with a bag of heroin in your pocket, you will go to jail and become a convicted felon. This is unfortunate.

Addicted people are not bad people. We are sick people. Sick people need medical help. This is especially true if you have been abusing prescription opiates, alcohol, heroin, or benzodiazepines.

If you are addicted to one of these commonly abused drugs, you need to go through a supervised medical detox.

What is a Medical Detox?

A medical detox is the first step to getting clean and sober. If you’ve been abusing alcohol or specific types of drugs for an extended period of time, a medically supervised detox is not only recommended, but required. Most people simply cannot kick their addiction to certain substances without medical detoxification – and they shouldn’t.

A medical detox takes place in the safety and comfort of a medical facility like a hospital or a substance abuse treatment center like an in-patient rehab. Medical detoxification implements the use of certain medications to ease the suffering of withdrawal symptoms brought on by certain drugs or alcohol.

This process is completed with the assistance of a certified medical professional at a licensed healthcare facility. You will be administered medication and your progress will be monitored and evaluated closely. Generally, a supervised medical withdrawal takes three to seven days, depending on your situation.

If you have health insurance, you are most likely covered for a medical detox. If not, there are other options available.   

Drugs that Aid in Detox and Withdrawal

If you are considering a medical detox, you’re probably wondering what medications you will be given if you decide to go this route. The answer is that everybody is different. If you decide to medically detox, you will work closely with an addiction specialist who will decide what medications are right for you so that you can effectively withdrawal from whatever substance you have been using.

Typically, you can expect to be given sedatives like Valium to ease your discomfort, replacement medications that are taken instead of the drug you have been abusing to help you slowly “step down” from your addiction, antidepressants to cope with withdrawal symptoms, and/or anti-seizure medications.  

Withdrawal – The Strongest Motivator for Medically Supervised Detox

When you stop abusing mood and mind-altering substances, your body goes through the process of withdrawal. Withdrawal is what happens when you remove these chemicals from your brain and your body. As you go through this process, you will experience symptoms that can be excruciatingly painful and cause you to want to crawl out of your skin.

Avoiding withdrawal is what keeps the cycle of addiction going. When you become addicted to certain drugs, the withdrawal is so unpleasant, you will keep using your drug of choice to avoid the symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no way to get sober without going through the process of withdrawal.

Withdrawal is what prompts the need for a medical detox. Some drugs cause more severe withdrawal symptoms than others. For example, if you stop smoking marijuana, you will experience irritability and sleep disturbance, which can be managed without a supervised medical detox. Conversely, with heroin, withdrawal symptoms are so extreme, they can become life-threatening.

Here are the four drugs that require a medically supervised detox – no ands, ifs, or buts about it.

#1 Prescriptions Opiates Require Supervised Medical Detoxification

Opiates are a classification of pain-relieving drugs prescribed by a doctor for a number of conditions like Fibromyalgia, chronic back pain, or joint pain. Opiates are highly addictive substances – powerful stuff, to say the least. Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Morphine, Fentanyl, and Percocet are all classified as opiates, which have a similar effect on the brain and body as heroin.

Opiates are among the most difficult drugs to withdrawal from. This is why tens of thousands of Americans become addicted to drugs like Oxycodone every year and stay addicted to them. Most people find they simply cannot stop using this type of drug without professional help because the withdrawal process is too painful.

Some opiate withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Extreme head-to-toe-body aches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Death (in extreme cases, which is why detoxification is so important)

There is no reason why you have to quit opiates alone. This is why medical detoxification is available – to assist you in safely withdrawing at a licensed healthcare facility.

#2 Alcohol – Yes, it Requires a Medically Supervised Detox

Most people completely underestimate how dangerous alcohol is. This is because alcohol is legal and sold at the corner store. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance. If you have been drinking large quantities of beer, wine, or liquor for an extended period of time, you will most certainly experience terrible withdrawal symptoms if you try and quit on your own.

More importantly, you need to know that alcoholism can cause seizures, strokes, and death if not properly managed through medical detoxification. If you are thinking about quitting alcohol, it is imperative that you talk to an addiction specialist about undergoing a supervised medical detox. If you are searching for a proven, local alcohol detox near Denver, Colorado look no further than Valiant Living. 

When you medically detox from alcohol, you will be given anti-seizure medications that lower your risk for seizures and strokes. You will also be given a sedative like benzodiazepines to help ease the suffering of alcohol withdrawal and be monitored closely by a healthcare professional to ensure that you safely detox.

Here are just a few of the withdrawal symptoms you can expect from alcohol withdrawal:

  • The shakes, also known as the “DTs”
  • Fever
  • Extreme mental confusion or delirium
  • Five to ten percent of people experience hallucinations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Migraine headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Death (in extreme cases, which is why detoxification is so important)

Although Alcoholics Anonymous is an awesome place to find recovery, many alcoholics first have to go to detox to stop drinking.  You can enjoy life in recovery, but first, you have to put down the bottle. And, to do so, you need to safely detox at a supervised medical facility.

If you’re addicted to alcohol, the party ended a long time ago. There’s no reason to be afraid of alcohol withdrawal now that you know about the process of supervised medical detox. A medically supervised alcohol detox can make all the difference if you have a desire to stop drinking and you’re ready to turn your life around.

#3 Benzodiazepines Will Require a Trip to Detox if You Want to Get Clean

Benzodiazepines, often referred to as “benzos,” are a classification of medications prescribed by a doctor for anxiety and mood disorders. They are tranquilizers that have a short-lived, calming effect that lasts for a few hours. They are highly addictive and incredibly difficult to quit. Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin are the most common types of benzodiazepines.

If you have been abusing benzos, you have probably already tried to stop taking them on your own and found that it’s pretty much impossible. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms will keep you returning to the drug time and time again to alleviate the discomfort.

Here are a few symptoms that accompany a withdrawal from benzos:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Extreme depression
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Irritability
  • Shaking of the arms, legs, hand, or feet
  • Seizures
  • Death (in extreme cases, which is why detoxification is so important)

You should never try to stop taking benzos without medical supervision. Not only is it extremely uncomfortable, it can be life-threatening.

#4 If You’re Hooked on Heroin, Medical Detox is How You Kick the Habit

Heroin is an opiate just like Hydrocodone or Oxycodone. It is derived from the poppy plant and is a highly addictive substance. The only real difference between heroin and prescription opiates is that heroin is illegal. In today’s world, more and more people are switching from legal opiates to heroin because the stuff is cheaper and easier to find.

Heroin is almost impossible to quit on your own. The withdrawal symptoms are just too intense. People who have kicked heroin cold turkey say it was the most painful experience of their lives. Stopping abruptly is not a good idea – not only because of the pain involved but because heroin withdrawal can be life-threatening.

Heroin withdrawal is much like detoxing from prescription opiates. The symptoms are the same:

  • Extreme head-to-toe-body aches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Death (In extreme cases, which is why detoxification is so important)

The best way to get off heroin is to go through a medically supervised withdrawal. This is not a demon you want to fight alone on your bathroom floor at 3 a.m.

What Happens After a Medically Supervised Detox?

Detoxing from drugs or alcohol is only the first step to recovery. Remember, a supervised medical detox usually only lasts from three to five days. This is only the beginning to an ongoing process of recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

After detox, most people go through an extensive stay at an in-patient rehabilitation facility. This can last anywhere from twenty-eight days to three months. It is during this time that you will learn more about the disease of addiction and understand what it means to be in recovery. You will be given the tools you need to prevent relapse and avoid ever having to go through the pain of detox again.

Many in-patient rehabs offer medically supervised detoxification. This means you can withdrawal and then stay at the facility to get a solid foundation of recovery before you return to your everyday life.   

There are Only Benefits to Medical Detoxification – No Drawbacks

If you have been struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, chances are you haven’t been able to quit on your own because you’ve been avoiding the pain of withdrawal. A medical detox makes recovery possible.

Only positive results can come from a medically supervised detox. You can go through withdrawal in a safe place under the supervision of someone who knows how to keep you comfortable. You can find a new way to live and enjoy a life that doesn’t revolve around the use of drugs or alcohol. You can start living again.

Detoxification is the way to go if you have the willingness to stop abusing alcohol or drugs like prescription opiates, heroin, or benzodiazepines. What are you waiting for?

Have you completed a supervised medical detox process? What was your experience? Would you recommend it to people struggling with an addiction?