According to the Drug and Alcohol Services Information System (DASIS), hundreds of thousands of Americans enter inpatient drug detoxification and treatment centers every year to seek help from an addiction. About 25 percent of all patients, around 436,000 people, enroll in drug rehab centers solely to seek medical assistance for drug detoxification. An estimated half of all detox admissions were for patients addicted to alcohol, while 33 percent were fighting addiction to opiates and 10 percent were battling cocaine addiction.
However, these statistics are quite misleading. Although hundreds of thousands do enter proper detox treatment, they only represent 1.8 percent of the total 20.8 million drug abusers that need it. It is estimated that 93.6 percent of individuals addicted to illicit drugs or alcohol feel they do not need treatment, while another 4.6 percent understand they need treatment but fail to make the effort.
Since substance abuse and addiction is still steadily increasing in the United States, it is essential to become aware of available drug detox programs and squash the popular detox myths. Read on to find out the facts you must know about drug detoxification and how important it is to overcoming addiction.
Drug Detoxification is the First Step to Recovery
Proper detoxification from drugs is the critical first step to a successful recovery process. In fact, it is so essential that drug detox must be thoroughly completed before the rest of drug rehabilitation can even begin. If drug abusers try to begin therapy or counseling with the drug toxins still in their system, there is a high likelihood that they will relapse back into addiction again.
In order to receive proper drug rehabilitation treatment, all of the toxins must be eliminated from the body through detox. During drug detoxification, all of the dangerous elements from the last few doses of the drug are expelled out of their system for good. That being said, drug detox is only the first step of breaking an addiction and will not work on its own.
Detox Must Occur Under Medical Supervision
Unlike popular belief, it is never suggested that drug abusers and addicts try to attempt drug detoxification on their own at home. Never buy into the infomercials advertising magical medications and herbal supplements that will make detoxification easy, because they simply are selling false information. Drug detoxification can only be successfully completed under medical supervision in an inpatient drug rehabilitation facility or drug detox program.
When users decide to stop using their drug of choice on their own, they rarely ever succeed and cannot withstand the deep urge to start using again. In addition, tolerance levels go down after the user stops cold turkey; but, when they start using again at the same dosages, drug overdose is the common potentially fatal result. Therefore, those addicted need to eliminate the drugs from their system in a safe environment that will remove all temptations for relapsing.
Withdrawal May Cause Dangerous Complications
Many mistakenly believe that drug detoxification is simply the process of stopping the use of the drug of choice, but it is much more complicated. When addicts have used a drug or alcohol for years, they have developed an extreme physical dependence on it. Therefore, detox can cause serious medical complications, especially for those with co-morbid underlying health conditions. There may also be issues with the individual’s heart or respiratory system that have gone unseen because of the addiction.
While detoxification is unpleasant for all drugs, it is most dangerous with alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines. Sometimes, the withdrawal symptoms that result from stopping use of these drugs can prove to be fatal. If detox occurs without the close eye of a medical professional, there is a chance that it can end in coma or death.
Some of the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms include:
• grand mal seizures
• delirium tremens (DTs)
• heart palpitations and chest pain
• difficulty breathing or respiratory failure
• heart attacks
• suicidal thoughts and extreme depression
Fortunately, withdrawal symptoms and the risk for these dangerous complications can be dramatically minimized when an individual undergoes drug detoxification in a medically supervised inpatient treatment center. The specially trained professionals consistently monitor patients going through detox and are able to detect the early signs of these complications to reduce the risks. Being under close medical care is invaluable for getting through the difficult process safely.
If you or some you know is currently battling an addiction that is detrimental to the quality of life, seek help from an inpatient drug rehabilitation center. The professionals have a deep understanding of the potential risks of drug detoxification and are prepared to help you get through this tough situation. Most of all, inpatient drug rehabilitation centers are a safe and accepting environment, where you will be welcomed with open arms and able to get through this challenging time effectively.