Drug detox is the usually the first step an individual takes when going into drug rehab. Not everyone going into rehab needs detox, but for those seriously addicted to drugs and alcohol, detox can be effective. Individuals addicted to alcohol and opiates generally require a detox prior to drug rehab.
Medications Used for Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable for the individual detoxing from drugs and alcohol. However, there are medications available that will help the individual detoxing cope with the uncomfortable feelings associated with withdrawals. The type of drug used, severity of the disease, and the individual’s commitment to sobriety all play a role in determining the correct medications to use during addiction treatment.
9% of the population misuses opiates at some point in life. Commonly used opiates are morphine, heroin, and painkillers like OxyContin. Medications used during opiate detox are: clondine, buprenorphine, and methadone. Methadone is most commonly used in inpatient treatment settings with intravenous users. These drugs don’t negate withdrawals symptoms, but they make them more manageable. Medications like buprenorphine can shorten the detox length and be used like methadone in long-term treatment plans.
Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can range from shakiness and irritability to death. Alcoholics tend to be depressed, and during detox those depressive symptoms can increase. Diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), and phenobarbitals are medications that show promise in helping with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Most commonly used in inpatient treatment centers are diazepam and chlordiazepoxide. These medications help an alcoholic transition through withdrawal safely. Benzodiazepines also help with the effects of alcohol withdrawal. Librium and Valium are two examples of benzos that assist with withdrawal.
Stimulant abuse is related to depression, which is similar to the depression experienced with alcohol abuse. Antidepressants are often used when detoxing off stimulants, but aren’t necessarily good for long-term use. Desipramine (Norpramin) is an antidepressant that is used for major withdrawal symptoms and would be appropriate in a detox facility. Diazepam is used for mild to moderate withdrawals, and isn’t suggested for severe withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepine tranquilizers are also used to treat methamphetamine and cocaine addictions.