Drug Detox 2019-03-20T17:36:49+00:00

Drug Detox in Colorado

Drug Detox in Colorado

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Detox Definition

After the initial intake where the person suffering from substance abuse would talk to a doctor or counselor to learn about their medical history and get an idea how and why the person is taking drugs, the detox process is expected to commence immediately. Detox is the period where a person safely stops using any kind of substances, whether they are illegal or prescribed and its goal is to lessen the effects of drug withdrawal by undergoing a drug treatment program.

The process of detoxification usually takes several days, even weeks and during this time the withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to deal with, especially when a person with substance use disorder was dependent on using strong drugs for a long time.

First Stage of Drug Detox

As we mention before, the initial period of detoxification can be difficult for many patients. That’s why medical and psychiatric staff members need to be on hand to help the patients to deal with the withdrawal symptoms during this difficult time. Based on research, some of the most common withdrawal signs and detox symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Aching muscles
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of sleep or insomnia
  • Muscle cramp
  • Lachrymation
  • Yawning
  • Sneezing
  • Sweating
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pins and needles sensation in body organs
  • The feeling of hot and cold
  • Involuntary bristling of hairs or piloerection
  • Tachycardia

Although these symptoms aren’t life-threatening, they can be quite uncomfortable.

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Drug Detoxification Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms and the duration of drug withdrawal during detoxification depend on the type of substance used by the patient and the patient’s length of addiction. For instance, opioids, such as heroin and painkillers, would cause flu-like symptoms that could last for almost a week. The symptoms of withdrawal appear from six to 12 hours after the last dose of short-acting opiates and 30 hours after the last dose of long-acting opiates. For methadone, withdrawal symptoms appear in 24 to 36 hours.

For stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, the withdrawal symptoms, including cravings, sleep disorder and paranoia appear earlier, usually starting 90 minutes after the last dose. The symptoms could last from seven to 10 days. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms can be more subtle compared to other drugs. Once a patient sees the benefits of no longer using marijuana and decides to stop ingesting, the withdrawal symptoms like irritability, aggressiveness and sleep disturbance, appear within a week.

Cheaper “bath salts,” the common name for synthetic cathinones, which are used by some to replace cocaine and methamphetamine, have withdrawal symptoms that can be observed between 48 hours to a week. Symptoms include intense cravings and anhedonia. Meanwhile, ketamine withdrawal symptoms appear within 24 hours after the last dose was taken. The acute withdrawal symptoms like hearing loss, rapid breathing, nausea, and depression can last for 72 hours.

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Types of Drug Detox

Drug detox programs are offered in drug rehab facilities that provide comprehensive treatment were before starting the detoxification, the patient shall undergo an initial assessment, physical examination, and laboratory tests. These tests will guide the medical personnel to assess the patient’s needs and to choose the best drug detox program.

The types of drug detox programs include the following:

Outpatient detox:

Even outpatient rehab includes detox as part of the treatment. Patients who are enrolled in outpatient treatment usually travel to a treatment facility for their outpatient detox, depending on the program set for the patient. For outpatient detox, the process of assessment up to the laboratory tests and initial detoxification might take an hour or two.

If the patient only has mild to moderate addiction, he may be required to undergo shorter outpatient treatment and the outpatient detox sessions may take only 15 to 30 minutes. However, for those needing a detoxification program with a hospital program combination, the outpatient detox sessions may last for several hours. Aside from being a cheaper option, outpatient treatment allows the patient to perform their regular daily duties at work and at home. However, one of its disadvantages is the high rate of relapse due to the person’s easy access to the substance.

Inpatient detox

This type of detox is recommended for those who have severe cases of drug abuse. Patients are also admitted to a facility for the whole duration of the comprehensive drug treatment recommended by doctors.

Most counselors would recommend inpatient or residential detox that assures round the clock medical help for patients. There are inpatient detox programs that are offered in a separate program, while there are those that are included in the in-house treatment program offered to address psychological issues.

Compared to outpatient detox, the inpatient detox has an increased rate of detox process completion. A study in 1989 found that there were more patients under inpatient detox who have completed detoxification process, compared to those who are getting outpatient detox.

However, since inpatient drug rehab requires the admission of the patient at the drug facility for a certain period, it costs more than outpatient detox.

Methods of Drug Detox

Each person who suffers from substance use disorder have different needs and the method of drug detox would depend on what the person’s history of substance abuse is, the family’s medical history, and the duration of addiction to a substance. There are short-term medicated detox and long-term medicated detox to help the patient ease the symptoms of withdrawal and ultimately help him overcome drug abuse.

Why you Should Not Detox at Home

Managing detox at home without the assistance of a medical professional can be done, but it can be a risky process because dealing with drug withdrawal at home without medication, and professional support could be fatal. Besides, the risks of detoxing at home, the success rate of a drug detox at home is considerably lower than the success rate of those who underwent outpatient and inpatient detox. Because when the person is unable to detoxify their body from the harmful substance effectively the chances of relapse increase considerably.

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Drug Detox Kits Aren’t a Complete Treatment Program

Drug detox kits, like detox drinks and detox pills, are not only dangerous. It also does not provide a complete treatment program that should be given to a person with substance use disorder. If a person would carry out the detoxification process, without assessing how their medical history, duration of drug abuse, and the type of substance used, the detoxification process might not be completed. This will later lead to a possible relapse of drug use.

Drug detox is just part of a comprehensive treatment program that will increase the person’s chance to cope with addiction. Even before the detoxification process begins, the treatment’s first step is an assessment of the person’s medical history and scope of drug addiction. This will determine which type of detox method and treatment is suited for the client. To have a successful and safe drug detox, the process of detoxification should be customized to the needs of the patient.

After the patient completes the detox, the treatment process including therapy sessions and medications will commence. This will be followed by an aftercare program to avoid relapse.

Duration of Drug Detox

The drug detoxification process will continue as long as the patient exhibits and experiences withdrawal symptoms. To help the patient complete the drug detox efficiently, doctors also recommend medications to ease the symptoms and gradually withdraw from the use of the illicit substance.

Medications Used for Drug Detox

Medications help the patient in managing withdrawal symptoms. There are many types of medications used in drug detox. These are:


The use of methadone in detox should only be done with the assistance of a doctor who will prescribe it as part of the treatment program and a medical professional who will administer it to the patient. With the help of methadone, the withdrawal symptoms are alleviated and the drug cravings are reduced.


Buprenorphine can be administered to a patient on its own or in combination with other medications such as naloxone. However, using it with naloxone increases its capacity to reduce the risk of abuse.


Naltrexone is commonly used in alcohol detox. Like methadone and buprenorphine, it also helps to reduce cravings. The drug binds to the brain’s opioid receptors and blocks the opiate effects of producing rewarding sensations. Naltrexone has no withdrawal symptoms even when a patient stops its use.


Acamprosate is found to be effective in normalizing brain activity during withdrawal. It works well with long-lasting withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and insomnia. It is also suited for patients’ suffering from liver damage. However, Acamprosate is not recommended for patients with kidney illness.


Disulfiram discourages a patient to take alcohol while under medication because its effects include palpitations, hyperventilation, blurred vision, and nausea among others. This drug is recommended for patients who are already stabilized and are regularly attending treatment. It helps the patients to decrease cravings and avoid relapse.

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Drug Detox: First Step to Recovery

Detox alone isn’t a complete treatment for addiction to any drug. In most cases there are phycological issues that require to be treated to fully recover from addiction. These issues must be addressed in therapy once the withdrawal symptoms have passed and the drug toxins are no longer in the body. Here are some of the therapies found effective to support a patient:

  • Family therapy. This plays a significant role in making the treatment work for the patient. If there is a receptive and supportive family system, the patient has an increased rate of recovery.

  • Medical services. Quality medical services, especially for patients suffering from co-occurring disorders is vital for the treatment to work. Even patients with chronic illnesses need proper medical care to make sure that the treatment is continuous and is apt for the patient.

  • Relapse prevention. Help and support from medical professionals, family members, co-workers, and friends, will definitely help a person to prevent relapse. Treatment does not only involve detox and therapies, there should be a clear aftercare program for the patient to continue treatment and maintain sobriety for a long time.

Finding the Right Drug Detox

The right drug detox will help the patient go through the withdrawal phase of clearing the body from harmful substances. It is not an easy thing to do, but if done properly and when completed, detoxification makes an important contribution to the patient’s successful journey to recovery. Seeking professional help will help the patient and its family to better understand the detox program and treatment he needs.

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Benefits of a Drug Rehab Program

When a person undergoes a drug rehab program, he will have a chance to hear the doctors and counselor’s assessment on how their addiction can be managed based on factual data – including their medical history, social situation, and the medical treatment he needs. Aside from this, undergoing drug rehab will also benefit the patient through:

  • Psychiatric care: This will help patients with co-occurring disorders to manage both addiction and mental health issues. Only a quality drug rehab program can afford the needed treatment for patients who have comorbidity.
  • Individualized treatment plans: Patients need different treatments. A comprehensive drug rehab program is fitted to the needs of the patient and is based on their mental and physical condition.
  • Medicine maintenance: When a patient undergoes a drug rehab program, he will be provided with the proper medication he needs. Medicine maintenance is important to help the patient with the withdrawal symptoms.
  • Aftercare planning: Comprehensive drug rehab programs do not stop with the detox process and therapy sessions. A quality drug rehab facility offers patients an efficient aftercare planning that promotes ongoing treatment for long-term recovery.
  • Individual therapy: Therapies are not only done by groups. Efficient drug rehab programs offer individual therapy where patients can have a personal session with a counselor to make sure that their issues are addressed and their skills are gradually developed to help him cope with drug addiction.
  • Group counseling: Group counseling is essential to create a whole person. During group counseling sessions, patients are given the opportunity to express themselves and find support from persons who are also struggling with substance addiction.
  • Drug education classes: The best drug rehab program will provide education to patients to help them understand the effects of a substance on the person’s physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. During education classes, patients can understand substances more and how it affects them. They may discuss questions, like: is Xanax an opiate? Or what can methadone do to your health? Drug education classes empower individuals to allow him to understand himself better and how he can recover from drug addiction.
  • Life skills classes: Drug addiction affects a person’s mental and physical well-being which leads to weakened skills. Through life skills classes, the patient can slowly gain back their confidence. These classes ensure the patient can have the necessary tools and skills to make himself self-sufficient and sustaining.

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