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How are Withdrawal Symptoms Managed During Detox?

Detox from alcohol and drugs can be a harrowing experience. Anyone who has undergone a detoxification process without medical aid can attest that it is a painful experience. Fortunately, treatment centers that provide detox are staffed with medical professionals who are able to monitor and medicate patients to manage withdrawal symptoms as they occur.

Without medical help, a person is unlikely to make it through detox without relapsing before the process is over. In some cases, such as with individuals attempting to detox from alcohol and benzodiazepines, withdrawal symptoms can be lethal. Medications are often used to minimize the risk of dangerous withdrawal symptoms, as well as to keep an individual as comfortable as possible throughout the process.

Opiate withdrawal can be painful and medications such as buprenorphine are often used to manage a person’s discomfort. According to the World Health Organization’s Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings, “Buprenorphine is the best opioid medication for management of moderate to severe opioid withdrawal. It alleviates withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings. Because of its pharmacological action (partial opiate agonist), buprenorphine should only be given after the patient begins to experience withdrawal symptoms (i.e. at least eight hours after last taking heroin).” Medical professionals are able to determine the dose given based on the amount and frequency of opioids a person was using.

Alcohol withdrawal can lead to severe symptoms, such as delirium, hallucinations, and seizures. Doctors will often use benzodiazepines such as diazepam to treat symptoms, and may us non-sedating anti-seizure medications. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains, “First, seizures are one of the most serious complications of AW, and the use of an anti-seizure medication should decrease the probability of a patient experiencing a seizure. Second, anti-seizure medications have been shown to block kindling in brain cells. Third, anti-seizure medications do not appear to have abuse potential. Fourth, these medications have been used to treat mood and anxiety disorders, which share some symptoms with AW, including depression, irritability, and anxiety. Fifth, anti-seizure medications are generally not as sedating as BZ’s and therefore allow the patient to engage more quickly in alcoholism treatment programs.” Other forms of withdrawal may require the incorporations of other medications to treat symptoms.

Recovery is possible. Once we concede to the fact that our addiction is a problem and we require help to overcome it, we can begin the rewarding journey of recovery. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists, spiritual guides, and holistic experts to help clients develop all the necessary tools to achieve a fulfilling life in sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431