Medical Detox for Heroin and Alcohol Abuse

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. There is no set time for medical detox. It could be from a few days up to 2 weeks depending on the situation and the severity. Medical detox for heroin differs from medical detox for alcohol. However, a facility experienced in polydrug abuse treatment and medical detoxification can handle addiction to heroin and alcohol effectively and safely.

Medical Detox for Heroin and Alcohol Abuse

Managing Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

For heroin detox, withdrawal symptoms may range from mild to severe, depending on how dependent the individual is on the drug. Dependency can be tied to the length of time taking the drug, dosage amount, how the drug was taken, underlying medical conditions, the co-occurring presence of a mental health issue, and certain biological and environmental factors, such as the family history of addiction, previous trauma, or highly stressful and unsupportive surroundings. Withdrawal from heroin may vary from person to person.

Some early heroin withdrawal symptoms that start within 6 to 12 hours often include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Agitation
  • Trouble falling and staying asleep
  • Excessive yawning
  • Anxiety
  • Nose running
  • Sweats
  • Racing heart
  • Hypertension

During medical detox for heroin and alcohol dependency, the patient stops using the heroin to which they’re addicted to and then the patient is monitored and surveyed to conclude what medications to administer so the oncoming withdrawal symptoms experienced with the least bit of pain and as safe as possible. While medical treatments are administered such as suboxone or Subutex, there is individual and group therapy commonly available as well.

Managing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Medical detox is similar to how the patient is monitored but the withdrawal symptoms are different therefore the medication may be different. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 6 – 8 hours after the last drink but can occur days later. Symptoms usually peak by 24 to 72 hours but may go on for weeks.

Withdrawal symptoms from chronic alcohol abuse can include:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness or shakiness
  • Sweating, clammy skin
  • Enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • Headache
  • Insomnia (sleeping difficulty)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremor of the hands or other body parts
  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Seeing or feeling things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
  • Seizures
  • Severe confusion

With severe cases of alcohol abuse and dependency, around-the-clock medical monitoring is recommended. Part of the detox process includes keeping the patient’s system right and avoiding major physiological upsets. Sometimes medications are necessary to do this. Benzodiazepines (benzos), including Librium, Valium, and Ativan, are commonly used for alcohol treatment because they reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms and also prevent alcohol withdrawal seizures. Seizures are one of the most common causes of fatality in alcohol withdrawal, so additional anti-convulsion drugs are often used as well.

Detox for Heroin and Alcohol Withdrawal

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) states that 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.

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.

Although patients will often leave a medical detox facility feeling better than they have in years, those that do not transition from detox to continuing addiction treatment are almost certain to relapse.

Get More Information on Heroin and Alcohol Treatment

There is a multitude of Medical Drug Detox Centers throughout the country such as, 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.