What is Medical Detox?
Detoxing is the process a substance abuser goes through in which they cleanse their body from toxic substances. Essentially, it is the period of abstinence of substance abuse that is needed at the beginning of any addiction treatment program. As a patient goes through this, they will experience multiple symptoms and effects that need to be managed to avoid significant issues.
The detox is essential for the treatment to work for multiple reasons. The first of them is that it might be physically impossible to sit through a session of anything while experiencing withdrawal. The level of discomfort and severity of the symptoms stops a patient from concentrating or doing anything productive. That is why the actual treatment can only start once the patient has completed the detox stage.
Another reason why detox is essential is because of the long-term effects of addiction in the body. If there’s a need for medication to be given during treatment, the body needs to be free of major toxins to avoid serious side effects. But most importantly, detox is necessary because of the chemical and neurological consequences of addiction, which need to be overcome.
The development of addiction is a result of continued misuse of any substance, from pills to alcohol to even prescription medication. The body goes through many changes that can cause a lot of damage to the brain, the nervous system, and other organs that might be involved in the process of absorbing the drug. That could mean the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and others.
Once the person is addicted to a certain substance, that means their body relies on it to function normally. Substance abuse produces unusual supplies of hormones and chemicals, and neurotransmitters become dependent on that supply. This is extra dangerous considering how prolonged misuse of these drugs makes the person more tolerant of it. They’d need higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect, risking severe alterations – some, even permanent.
These alterations caused by addiction have to do with areas of the brain that manage judgment, decision-making, self-control, behavior, and many other functions. So it’s no wonder that, once the supply of substance is cut, an addict’s system goes into disarray. These and other functions might become impaired, and that is when the symptoms of detox begin to manifest themselves.
What To Expect From Medical Detox
The first thing most people are concerned about when it comes to detox is the side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Everyone will experience them, on some level, due to the imbalance the body goes through during the abstinence period. The symptoms and the degree of their intensities will depend on multiple factors. Some of them are: the dosage usually taken, how long the person has been misusing substances, genetic factors, health, etc.
When it comes to the specifics, it is hard to say for certain what each patient will experience. The timeline of symptoms varies depending on the substance taken, too. For some short-acting substances, the symptoms might start as early as 6 hours after the last dosage was taken. When it comes to alcohol, that timeframe might be somewhere in the first 12 hours as well.
The types of symptoms experienced are usually related to the nervous and digestive systems. While not all of them are solely linked to them, in general, the most commonly reported ones by recovering addicts are:
- Feeling restless, anxious, and/or nervous
- Experiencing issues related to the digestive system such as nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
- Running a fever
- Sweating and tearing up more often than usual
- Jitteriness, shaking, and/or chills
- Heart-related problems, like hypertension and/or erratic heartbeat (too fast or too slow)
- Erratic sleep cycles, which can either be insomnia or sleeping too much
- Extreme changes in eating habits, eating either too much or too little
- Moodiness and extreme moods
- Craving the substance
After the symptoms start, they can usually linger for seven to ten days, on average. The most acute symptoms can actually be experienced in the beginning, and they tend to become milder with time. In moderate cases, most effects can be managed with the help of over-the-counter medication, resting, and lots of liquids.
However, quitting cold turkey can be an unpredictable, very risky process. For instance, during alcohol detox, as the symptoms die down, a person might actually experience seizures, which can be lethal. Therefore, even when a medical scenario looks stable, it can be really hard to tell whether they are safe to quit on their own.
Why Go Through Medical Detox?
As mentioned, detoxing is a process that everyone goes through during addiction treatment – but it is a complex one. As a patient experiences the multitude of symptoms that come from withdrawal, things can go from uncomfortable to actually deadly.
Medical detox is the safest option, even in moderate cases. If symptoms become too severe, having a team that can monitor and medicate you according to your needs is a big advantage. They can make sure the medication given will not make things worse or trigger additional symptoms. Emergency procedures can also be done much faster in case they are needed.
Another reason for someone to opt for medical detox is the risk of relapse. As you try to quit on your own, the urge to have “just one more dose” can be too strong to handle. While relapse episodes are common among recovering addicts, relapsing during detox can be much more dangerous. That is because the body is at risk of going into shock, albeit that’s not just in the case of relapse. While the body can go into shock at any moment while detoxing, misusing after abstaining can put a person at risk.
Most importantly, medical detox helps patients transition more smoothly into their treatment program. Detoxing alone is not enough to overcome addiction, but doing it properly is crucial in order for the treatment to work.
Things to Know About Medical Detox in NJ
Do you need help finding the best medical detox in NJ? Most addicts and alcoholics begin their journey into sobriety by seeking out medical detox centers to help detoxify their bodies from the harmful toxins that have built up during their use. Some people might prefer to go through detox and addiction treatment in the same center. Others might choose to do so in different ones, depending on their options.
Finding a drug detox or alcohol detox center in New Jersey is a critical first step for those who may be struggling or know of someone struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism. At this stage in the recovery process, having medical supervision is essential, as withdrawing from certain drugs and alcohol can be highly dangerous. Once an assessment is made, the patient will know what should be the course of action regarding their treatment after detox.
As it is in other states, getting medical detox in NJ can be effective and affordable. There are many insurers that provide some level of coverage for rehabilitation services in NJ. Whether it is inpatient or outpatient, insurance plans can help cover the costs of treatment.