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Medical Detox

The first step in most drug addiction programs in Mississippi is detox. Detoxification is the process of cleansing the system of the addictive substance. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks or even months, depending on the substance and how long and how much the person has been using.

For many addicts, the fear of detox is enough to keep them from seeking help. They know how bad the withdrawal symptoms can be, and they are afraid to go through that process. Thanks to medical detox, more addicts can seek help without worry over the pain and unpleasantness of the process.


What is Medical Detox?

Medications can be given during and even after detox to help the person move through the process without relapsing. Some medications alleviate the withdrawal symptoms while the person detoxes. An example is anti-nausea medications for alcohol withdrawal.

Other medications slow down the detox process to allow the body to adjust slowly to the change. The medication may mimic the addictive substance without providing the addictive qualities. The amount is gradually reduced as the body adjusts to the new chemistry until it is no longer needed.


Symptoms of Withdrawal

Not every addict experiences the same symptoms or at the same level. It often depends on which substance they have been using and how much. These substances alter the body’s chemistry and may prevent certain hormones from working. A long-term addict may have a difficult time getting those chemicals to work correctly. In some cases, it may never happen and the person must stay on medications for the long-term.

Alcohol addiction often causes headaches, nausea and vomiting when detoxing. A severe alcoholic may experience hallucinations, tremors and paranoia as the system tries to readjust. These continue to get worse for the first 24 to 48 hours and may last for several days.

People often think prescription drugs are safer, but they can also cause side effects during withdrawal. One example is OxyContin, which leads to vomiting and extreme abdominal pain.

Illicit drugs such as heroin cause a variety of symptoms, including nausea, severe pain in the bones and muscles, hallucinations and paranoia. It’s common for Mississippi drug treatment centers to provide medications for opiate addiction because the withdrawal symptoms are so extreme and painful.


Options in Detoxing

Numerous medications exist to help with detoxification. Some are prescribed for specific types of addiction. More medications are being tested for use in the future. Popular medications in use now include the following:

  • Methadone – inhibits the feelings of euphoria in opiate addiction, often used to reduce symptoms in intravenous users
  • Diazepam – used to assist in addictions to stimulants, helps with mild symptoms
  • Buprenorphine – reduces the length of detoxing in opiate addicts
  • Naltrexone – often prescribed after detox to prevent relapse
  • Antidepressants – given in alcohol detox to prevent depression

Many medications are given in Mississippi inpatient drug treatment programs, but they may also be prescribed in outpatient settings as well. All medications must be monitored to ensure they are being taken correctly.

One thing all addicts need to be aware of is that detoxing is not the end of the treatment for drug addiction. It’s only the first step. Without the rest of the process, which includes therapy and other programs, the person is likely to relapse.

Overcoming addiction is a complex challenge, but it can be made easier with programs such as medical detoxing. Having these programs in place encourages the addict to seek help and begin a new life.


Seek Treatment

If you have a loved one who needs treatment but avoids it because of the withdrawal symptoms, let them know how medical detoxing can help them.