DRUG AND ALCOHOL DETOXIFICATION
DETOXIFICATION, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Drugs and alcohol abuse has become a great concern to first families of villains, the government, clinicians, and caregivers. Addicts range from youths to senior citizens, but the alarming rate of youths caught in the web of abuse has become so worrisome.This has provoked the quest from clinicians and caregivers that the process of rehabilitation should not be completely free.
Mostly abused substances include illicit drugs, such as cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. Ice has also become one outstanding drug abused in some countries, with adverse effects that are grievous. Prescription drug abuse is also a prevalent problem for many people, especially opium related drugs (painkillers and sedatives).
Alcohol abuse has been for generations; it has now become a tradition for some people. When drug abuse or alcohol use becomes a problem, detoxification may be necessary to move through the addiction and onto recovery. Detoxification also has taken a new turn with different methods advertised daily. And with the rise in the number of addicts, so is the rise in the demand for rehabilitation and detoxification. However, before a detoxification session, it is best to be sure of the sincerity of the program.
When a drug or alcohol addict suddenly stops using these illicit substances, the body undergoes a process of withdrawal as it adjusts and adapts to the cessation. The withdrawal process often involves physical and emotional symptoms, some of which can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. Many lives have been lost during this process. That is why there is a need for a clinical or professional handling of the detoxification process. Detoxification involves the process of a patient’s body ridding itself of the unhealthy chemicals that have accumulated during the period of drug or alcohol abuse. It can take from weeks to months and can even extend to years depending on the individual’s level of involvement with the drugs and the kind of drugs involved.
THE PROCESS OF DETOXIFICATION
The process or method for detoxification of alcohol varies from that of drugs. There also different methods for different drugs. Also, the period of addiction and so many other medical variables are put into consideration before the detoxification program. Detoxification can be in a home or center or as deemed fit for the program. However, the primary goal is to get rid of the patient’s system of the entire ingested harmful chemical and bring him or her back to normalcy.
The process starts with identifying the need to be detoxified of the harmful chemicals. The patient must agree or find a need to be free. Secondly, an appointment is booked with the clinician. The patient is counseled on the need for a better life and the process. It can be from inpatient treatment to outpatient treatment.
During alcohol detoxification, a patient may receive medications that can eliminate the risk of hallucinations and seizures. Medication can also help alleviate the anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal. Inpatient OpiateDetoxification may involve administering medication to help the patient through the withdrawal period. The withdrawal symptoms are what generates into addiction. The next fix of the drug is the only cure of the withdrawal symptoms. Drugs like ice and heroin have grave withdrawal symptom that can even result into eventual death.
There is a range of drugs that have been tested for use in alcohol withdrawal Lorazespam(Ativan), and Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) are two Benzodiazepines (Benzos) that are commonly used during alcohol detox. Diazepam (Valium), Clonazepam (Klonpin), is another set. They help in the withdrawal process of alcohol.
Methadone is a common medication used for opiate detoxification. People addicted to drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine may receive assistance during withdrawal with antidepressants or tranquilizers. It is a synthetic opiate that inhibits the withdrawal symptoms. A patient is given a daily dose of the drug which gives the same feeling with the abused drug but without the after effects of damage to organ or the painful withdrawal symptoms
MODES OF DETOXIFICATION
There are two modes of detoxification action; inpatient and outpatient services. It all depends on the level of the patient’s involvement with the drugs, the level of damage the patient has done to himself, the financial capability of the patient and other variables that are considered by caregivers and clinicians.
Inpatients are patients that are housed in a facility and taken care of by those that run the facility. It is the best mode of detoxification process. Experts are always on ground to administer help if there is a need. Also, the patient is closely monitored and followed up on the process. Drugs are given at the right time, and the patient has to take it under supervision.
Outpatients visit daily, they spend time at the facility and return home, or take treatment and return home. This method has disadvantages. The patient won’t have supervision by experts. There is a greater tendency of returning to the drugs. There is also the challenge that treatment may not be taken at the exact time, especially with medications that have time lapses.
There are general withdrawal symptoms, but there are some that are peculiar with patients especially as a result of their vulnerability. Different drugs have different withdrawal symptoms also. Heroin has withdrawal symptoms that need close monitoring. The patient can have spates of convulsions, involuntary kicking, racing or thumping heart, goose bumps, sleeplessness, restlessness, nausea and vomiting and even death. Symptoms like this are best managed in a facility for clinical monitoring because it can last more than one week with some drugs. There is also an uncontrollable craving for the drug, thus if the patient is not put under close check, such will have to find a way to take the illicit drug. Note, it is the next fix which is some drugs starts about four to eight hours after the next fix that can cure the withdrawal symptoms. But unfortunately, that is also the process of addiction or dependence on the harmful substance.
Withdrawal symptoms for a patient who has engaged in series of snowballs, which is the concoction of several drugs for a fix can be very heinous and life threatening. Withdrawal from alcohol can also be very severe needing clinical attention. It involves an uncontrollable craving for alcohol, hallucinations, insomnia, delirium, grand mal seizures, tremors, nausea and vomiting, tremors, anxiety, sweating and severe migraine and headaches especially the forehead, with thumping effect.
SUPPORT FOR PATIENTS
Detoxification process can be very challenging for families of patients and the patients’ themselves. Example, during detoxification from opiate drugs, the patient is required to visit the health center every day for the daily dose of methadone. This takes a toll on the finances of patients and their families and even the government. As a result, unequivocal support from family and friends is important for the patient. Encouraging inpatient detoxification can be helpful to ensure that the patient receives complete and comprehensive care during withdrawal.
The counseling session is to prepare the mind of the patient and the relatives on the importance, process and the challenges of the detoxification process. There is always the feeling of frustration, physical and emotional depression during the session with spates of anger, anxiety. There is also the tendency of an intense and uncontrollable desire for the drugs or alcohol. This is the whole essence for the unequivocal support for patients during the detoxification process. Patients need support, advice, and encouragement.
Encourage patients to eat healthy diets, to drink plenty of water. You can also join patient in mild activity or exercise. Encourage and assist the patient during participation in therapy sessions, and cooperating with health care staff. Offer to listen if the patient wants to talk. Do not look down or discriminate any patient. Allow patients to express themselves. Here them out
WHY A PATIENT NEEDS TO DETOXIFY
Detoxification is not negotiable, if the patient has to be well again then detoxification is the only way out. The harmful chemicals accumulated in the body system during the period of abuse need to be flushed out. This is by detoxification. There needs to be a repair of the brain cells that have been damaged. The kidney has to be flushed before in packs up. The lever has to be cleansed. The overworked heart needs to be given some peace; it is only through detoxification.
Another very important reason for detoxification is saving the life of the patient from the life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. With detoxification, the body is flushed and cleansed from the traces of the harmful chemicals in the abused drugs, thus giving the addict a freedom from the series of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
GUIDELINES TO A SPEEDY DETOXIFICATION PROCESS
- There should be a proper evaluation before the process of detoxification
- Patients should not be discriminatedagainst; all patients should be treated equally, adult, male or female, senior citizen or youth.
- Be patient with patients
- Patients should be monitored
- Give patients suitable counsel
- Patients need proper follow ups
- Give patients an ear, hear them out
- No part of the program should be handled with levity
DETOXIFICATION AND CURE
It is important to note that detoxification is not a cure or treatment for addiction. It is the first point of call, to stabilize the patient. It prepares the patient for a real cure. It is pertinent to know that detoxification is part of an intervention program leading to the real cure. Detoxification puts the patient into a state of balance in preparation to a cure. However, some patients can be sustained with detoxification. It can be said to be a kind of intervention program.