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Detox Myths Debunked! 5 Facts About Medically Managed Withdrawal

When it comes to detoxing from drugs and alcohol, there are a lot of misconceptions and potentially dangerous ideas floating around. Depending on the substances being used and duration of use, coming off drugs and alcohol without proper medical supervision can be fatal. In this blog we’ll debunk the myths and provide clarity on proper medical management of withdrawal symptoms for those struggling with substance abuse. If you are in need of a detox program, you’ve come to the right place!


Myth 1: Detox Can Be Done Alone


Fact: Medically Managed Detox Programs are Essential


Attempting to detox on your own is the most common, and fatal, misconception around. Detoxing off drugs like alcohol, benzodiazepines and certain opioids can create life threatening situations and must always be supervised by medical professionals. Alcohol and benzo withdrawal can lead to seizures. Additionally, the abrupt cessation of heavy alcohol consumption can result in a condition known as delirium tremens which cause hallucinations, disorientation, and mental confusion. The mortality rate for patients experiencing DT’s can range up to 25%. Alcohol withdrawal is to be taken seriously. 


The prevailing idea is that opiate/opioid detox, while unpleasant, is not life-threatening. This is not true. Any opiate withdrawal, but especially fentanyl withdrawal, can cause vomiting and diarrhea. This can lead to severe dehydration, hypernatremia, and heart failure. 


Myth 2: Detox is a One-Size-Fits-All Process


Fact: Detox Patients Require a Personalized Treatment Plan


Every person that enters into a withdrawal management program is unique. With their own medical history, psychological history, and specific needs, treating all detox patients the same is a recipe for disaster. Not addressing potential medical complications could result in unwanted side effects and serious health concerns which could interfere with the recovery process. In order to maximize safety and effectiveness, a personalized treatment plan should be created under the supervisions of doctors and nurses. 


Myth 3: All That is Require to Treat Addiction is Detox


Fact: Detox is the First Step Towards Recovery


While detox is an essential part of addiction treatment, it should not be confused as the only part. The treatment process begins with managing withdrawal symptoms and continues with comprehensive treatment. This includes clinical treatment modalities such as therapy and support groups and a well rounded aftercare plan to ensure accountability and continued treatment outside the facility. Detox treats the physical dependence while treatment handles the underlying behavioral and psychological reasons for addiction. 


Myth 4: Detox is Painful and Unbearable


Fact: Medically Managed Detox Eases Withdrawal Symptoms


It is rare that drug detox will be a completely painless ordeal but it does not have to be unbearable or intolerable. Symptoms will vary in their intensity depending on the substance and individual. The use of supervised medication can help to ease withdrawal symptoms to help with discomfort and reduce cravings. This makes the process much easier to handle and reduces the chances of relapse while increasing the odds of maintaining sobriety. 


Myth 5: Any Facility Can Provide Safe Detox


Fact: Due Diligence! Find a Licensed and Accredited Facility 


There are over 14,000 substance abuse treatment facilities in the United States and that number is growing month over month. To say that not all of these centers are created equal would be an understatement. When choosing a detox facility, it is important to find a licensed and accredited program. This will ensure a safe and humane detox experience. When doing your research, look for CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) or JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) accreditation as these are the two most prominent accrediting bodies in the country. Accredited detox programs must offer evidence-based treatment options, employ trained medical staff, and adhere to strict standards in health, safety, training, and record keeping. 


Making the decision to detox is a huge step in the right direction. As you begin your journey, it’s important to remember that detox myths can be harmful and misleading. Finding a medically managed detox program followed up with comprehensive treatment will keep you safe, comfortable, and put you on the path to success. Call Holland Pathways today to learn more about our detox program and treatment options.