How Does a Medical Opioid Detox Work?

Detox, also known as detoxification, is the first stage in the recovery process for most drug and alcohol addictions., where the body is cleansed of the substances that are polluting it.

One of the biggest obstacles to recovery is the fear of the withdrawal process. Many drug and alcohol addicts will continue their addictive behavior long after they want to quit, simply to avoid the detox process and painful symptoms that accompany the withdrawal. Some even try to detox from their addictions at home, suffering through days of discomfort and violent withdrawal only to go back to abusing drugs and alcohol to relieve the pain. This is where a Medical Drug Detox is necessary.

How Does a Medical Opioid Detox Work?

What is a Medical Drug Detox?

A medical detox facility is a treatment center that is staffed with doctors and nurses trained in helping patients cope with the withdrawal symptoms of early drug or alcohol abstinence. Without medical care, these withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, dangerous, and even life-threatening.

Patients are significantly more likely to complete a supervised medical drug detox than an unsupervised detox. There are several reasons for this, including increased comfort, better safety, having a support system, the love and connection provided by treatment professionals, and increased motivation. Once a patient gets through detox, their eventual likelihood of successfully obtaining sobriety goes up dramatically.

How Does a Medical Opioid Detox Work?

Having an addiction to opioids is not an easy thing to overcome. For many of us who has gone through opioid addiction, the results have been nothing but horrific. The fear of detoxing or withdrawal is what keeps an addict using. Detox can be an unpleasant and painful experience. Some of us have tried to detox at home under no medical supervision. This although not life-threatening in most cases, can be dangerous.

The timeline of opioid detox can vary by person depending on the frequency they were using and how they were using the drug. Detox can start from a couple of hours and last up to a couple of weeks. Since it can become dangerous detoxing under medical supervision is recommended.

Medical Detox Step-by-Step

Successful, lifelong therapy to stay opioid-free usually involves a combination of short-term and long-term medication as well as counseling or talk therapy programs. Then to fully recover and eventually abstain from all substances the most effective withdrawal method is substituting and tapering methadone or buprenorphine with a continuation of supports in the recovery community for lasting support.

In the initial detox time, you will most likely be given something for anxiety and when the opioids are fully out of your system 24 to 48 hours you will start on the medication for opioid detox treatment. There are many different options for detox:

  • Methadone is a long-acting opioid that affects the same parts of your brain as the drug you’re having a problem with, but it doesn’t get you high. You can take it every day, but you have to go to a special clinic to get it. The correct dose prevents withdrawal symptoms and eases drug cravings.
  • Buprenorphine is another medication that is approved for the treatment of opioid dependence. It hits the same receptors in your brain, but not as strongly. It has less risk of lethal overdose, so experts often favor it. It is also available in combination with naloxone. It comes in different forms. Usually an oral tablet (Suboxone, Zubsolv) or a film you place under your tongue.
  • Naltrexone blocks opiate receptors. Unlike methadone or buprenorphine, it doesn’t ease withdrawal symptoms or cravings. But you can’t get high if you use drugs while taking them. Naltrexone works best as part of a broad recovery treatment program. You’ll start it when you’re done with detox. It usually is taken monthly by injection and it’s called Vivitrol.

Is Medical Drug Detox Enough?

What does medical drug detoxification actually do? The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) has a position on the issue:

Medical detoxification safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. However, medical detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug use. Although detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, for some individuals it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective drug addiction treatment.

To continue on your road to recovery it takes a lot of daily reflection, strength, and courage. It is not a one and done thing, staying sober takes effort every single day and some days it can and will get tough. These days are when you need people in recovery to support you through the hard times and in turn, you can do that for someone new to recovery.

Contact Allure Detox for Medical Drug Detox

There is a multitude of Medical Drug Detox Centers throughout the country including our Allure Detox, which is a comfortable and evidence-based drug and alcohol detox in West Palm Beach, Florida. Allure can free you or your loved one from the physical symptoms of addiction and start you on the path to recovery. They offer detox from drugs and alcohol on a medical basis so that you can safely resume the life you once lived, the life you thought was lost forever. Addicts emerge from Allure Detox healthy, sane, and prepared for a lifetime of recovery. Please contact them today if you or someone you love is suffering the pain of addiction.