George Hannan, CAC, CADC, ICADC, LADCII
As a front-line counselor of the detox unit at Hanley Center at Origins for two and a half years, I’ve worked with every patient who has come through our doors for treatment. Now I’d like to share some things I’ve learned about my experience with patients and medical detox.
I cannot stress enough the importance of adequately detoxing in a medical facility.
The first point I will make is obvious; medical detox is much more comfortable and less painful than attempting to “stop cold turkey” on your own. Detoxing from alcohol or benzodiazepines is incredibly dangerous. These two substances put you at the highest risk for withdrawal seizures.
With proper medication and round-the-clock supervision, risks significantly diminish.
Other withdrawal side effects include headaches, sleep issues, nausea, vomiting, agitation, irritability, and panic attacks. Some patients arrive with a history of seizures, which places them in an even higher risk category that requires close monitoring. Our medical team has access to detox medications that will slowly taper drugs out of your system over an extended period.
The opioid epidemic has brought the disease of addiction to its knees.
With overdose death numbers reaching over 90,000 in 2020, medical detox accompanied with treatment gives you a better chance of survival. It also decreases your susceptibility to relapse.
You must be honest about your level of drug and alcohol usage.
People tend to either minimize or exaggerate their opiate use in fear of feeling uncomfortable through the withdrawal process. Opiates cause physical dependence, meaning you rely on the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are minimized significantly through a proper medical detox and are much more bearable. Although opiate withdrawal is not life-threatening, it is very painful and leads most people back to the drug unless medically detoxed.
Methamphetamine and cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include fatigue, increased appetite, agitation, insomnia, excessive sweating, paranoia, and hallucinations. Other symptoms include confusion, nausea, loss of motivation, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, severe depression, and dehydration. All these symptoms are uncomfortable, and without proper medically supervised detox, the risks of relapse significantly increase, and the process is worse than it has to be.
Marijuana usage has increased to levels higher than any generation has ever experienced. As more states legalize marijuana and offer it in numerous forms, addiction is on the rise. Withdrawal symptoms of marijuana include paranoia, hallucinations, irritability, agitation, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and even psychosis. As minor as one may think marijuana use can be, the increased acceptance and potency of the drug present a significant detox challenge.
Detox does not have to be as painful, uncomfortable, and stressful as you think.
But it is up to you to take the first step in asking for help. With the combination of proper medical detox, clinical treatment, and commitment to following a solid continuing care plan with the 12-Step program, your life can be healthier than you can imagine. You are worth it.
Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 844-501-4673.