Do I need Detox?
The first thing to consider when thinking about detoxification, or detox, is dependency and tolerance. Dependency will result in withdrawal symptoms if a person stops using drugs and/or alcohol or decreases the amount/frequency of use. Tolerance happens when a person no longer responds to a drug in the way they did when they first started using. Therefore it takes higher doses of the drugs to get the “high” they use to achieve when they first started.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
Withdrawal is the physical and mental effects that someone goes through after they stop or reduce the amount of drugs or alcohol they were using. There are several different types of withdrawals and they can vary depending on what type of substance was being taken. Some common symptoms of withdrawal include:
• Change in appetite
• Change in mood
• Muscle aches/pains
While physical symptoms may only last up to a week, the mental withdrawal, such as depression, can last much longer.
Addiction Versus Dependency
Addiction is classified as a disease. Dependency is being physically dependent on a substance. Addiction is rooted in your brain. Dependency occurs when your body is used to the effects of the drug you’re taking and then goes into withdrawal if you reduce or stop using that substance.
Does My Drug and/or Alcohol Use Qualify As Addiction?
Determining when substance abuse has turned to addiction can be complicated especially if you are trying to self evaluate. There are questions that are part of a “self test” to help you see if you need professional help to overcome addiction . A few of the questions you can ask yourself are:
• Do you drink/use drugs because you are uncomfortable in social situations?
• Is drinking/drug use affecting your relationships with friends?
• Do you drink/use drugs alone?
• Do you feel guilty or depressed after drinking alcohol/using drugs?
• Do you get into financial troubles over buying alcohol/drugs?
• Do you make sure you have a steady supply of alcohol/drugs on hand?
These are just a few of the questions used to help determine if you are addicted and need to seek help. Professionals state if you can answer yes to three or more questions on the list then you need to seek professional help.
How Does Medical Detox Work?
Detox is the process of removing drugs and/or alcohol from your body. Medical detox provides a safe environment to withdrawal under medical supervision. Medical detox will not help you avoid all of the withdrawal symptoms that may occur, but it can reduce the severity and allow you to detox comfortably.
Do I Need Medical Detox?
If you have a physical addiction to drugs or alcohol, then you need medical detox. If you have withdrawals after reducing or trying to quit on your own, you need medical detox.
People suffering from dependency and addiction can benefit from detox. Just remember, detox is the first step in the recovery process. After you are clean, the next step will be to enter a rehab program to help achieve long term sobriety and help avoid relapse.
What does Dual Diagnosis Mean?
A person who has a Dual Diagnosis is someone who has both a mental illness and a substance abuse disorder. Either illness can come first. In some cases, a person with mental health issues will turn to alcohol or drugs to try and cope. In other instances, alcohol or drug use can lead to mental illness. Dual diagnosis effects almost 9 million people a year. A person with a mental health condition is two times as likely as a mentally healthy person to suffer from substance abuse.
For someone that has a Dual Diagnosis, it is very important that you treat both the mental illness as well as the substance abuse. If you only treat one, it will act as a merry-go-round, making one condition worse and perhaps, relapsing on the other. It will be a continuous cycle. The old way of thinking where doctors would tell you they couldn’t treat your depression because you are also using drugs and/or alcohol is outdated. Both illnesses need to be attended to.
Conditions that May Co-Occur
There are many disorders that can Co-Mingle together, although some are more common than others. The most common Co-Occurring disorders that are seen with substance abuse are:
• Anxiety disorders
• Eating disorders
• Bipolar disorder
• Personality/mood disorders
In another category, certain mental illnesses “attract” certain substance uses. Some examples includes:
• Bipolar and Alcoholism
• PTSD and Opioids
• ADHD and Alcoholism
• Depression and Cocaine
Signs and Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis
Some common signs and symptoms to look for when trying to determine a Dual Diagnosis include:
• You can’t remember the last time you were happy and drugs and/or alcohol were not involved
• You started drinking and/or using drugs to try and help manage stresses of every day life
• You have experienced trauma in your life
• Mental illness runs in your family
Treating Dual Diagnosis
Dual Diagnosis requires special care to make sure both conditions are being addressed. People can receive this type of treatment through Rehabilitation Facilities that offer treatment for both substance abuse and mental illness. Only treating one problem may put the person at risk for relapse.
It is important to remember that no two people are the same. So when it comes to recovery, the process should be handled on a person by person basis. Everyone’s needs are different. What recovery process has worked for one person, may not work for you at all. It is good to know all of your options and choose what is going to help you the most. There are several different options to help with your recovery process. Detox, rehabilitation, sober living homes and even medications to help with substance cravings. Along with Psychosocial Therapy, Medication Addiction Treatment is the most effective intervention to treat opioid use and is even more effective than behavioral interventions or Medication alone.
Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT)
Medications prevent overdoses and support long-term recovery. There are three drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of substance addiction: Buprenorphine , Methadone and Naltrexone.
Buprenorphine (also known as Suboxone): Sometimes referred to as a narcotic, it is also used to treat narcotic dependency. It is an oral tablet or film that is used daily to help with cravings
Methadone: This treats moderate to severe pain and can also treat narcotic drug addiction. Its primary use is in detox and maintenance of people who are dependent on drugs. This comes in the form of a liquid that is taken orally
Naltrexone: This is used to help prevent a relapse back into alcohol and/or drug abuse. This comes in the form of a once monthly injection
Using medication as a form of addiction treatment is misunderstood a lot of times. One may think that all you are doing is substituting one drug for another. In reality, these types of medications are no different than a person who takes medicine for diabetes or depression. When properly used, it will not create a new addiction but can actually help with an existing one.
Medications prevent overdoses and support long-term recovery. The use of medications reduces the death rate among addicted persons by at least 50%. Addiction changes the brain and these medications can help.
Even as drug or alcohol addiction threatens to rewrite a person’s life, anti-craving medications are one treatment option that can begin to help the person achieve health, balance and happiness.