Those who enter treatment for substance abuse in the midst of an active addiction will often begin their journey with a detox program. Detoxification is a process of physical healing during which drugs and/or alcohol are flushed out of the body, helping recalibrate your body systems so you can begin to feel normal and balanced while sober.
Long-term, habitual drug or alcohol abuse can have severe effects on brain chemistry and bodily functions. These substances are called “mind-altering” for a reason — when you drink or take drugs, they interfere with neurological pathways, resulting in the feeling of being high or drunk but also leaving your brain depleted of natural chemicals that control everything from mood to heart rate. Over time, your brain will become accustomed to functioning with the help of drugs or alcohol, and you’ll experience increasingly severe withdrawal symptoms if you don’t have constant access to the abused substance. Withdrawal symptoms are among the top reasons that many people become trapped by addiction; they begin to feel seriously ill if they aren’t using drugs or alcohol, and so they continue to use them even if they understand the consequences.
Overcoming withdrawal symptoms — a process known as detoxification — is the first step in healing from substance abuse. Getting past this obstacle allows people to finally free themselves from the cycle of addiction, moving beyond physical dependence and learning to readjust to sobriety. But withdrawal is not something that should be faced on one’s own — symptoms can be dangerous and even life-threatening, and attempting to quit cold turkey without help can easily become overwhelming and lead to relapse. The best way to ensure that your detoxification process is successful is through a professional, medically monitored detoxification program.
What is Medical Detox?
Medical detox ensures that those beginning their recovery with detoxification are kept safe and comfortable as they experience difficult withdrawal symptoms. These programs are staffed by licensed medical professionals such as doctors, nurses and care technicians who monitor patients’ health as they take this first step toward sobriety. In many cases, medications are used to ease symptoms like pain, nausea, anxiety or paranoia or to wean a patient off of serious drug abuse. It’s especially important to seek professional medical help with detox if your case involves abuse of multiple substances, if you are addicted to harder drugs such as opioids or if you have a co-occurring diagnosis of an addiction and a mental health disorder.
Common characteristics and services of a medical detoxification program include:
- Inpatient, round-the-clock care
- Duration of approximately one week
- Medication management
- Mental health care
- Facilitation of movement from detox care to recovery treatment
It’s also common for detox programs to be housed within recovery treatment centers, or provided as part of a broader treatment program at a partner facility. Choosing to go through detox and residential or intensive outpatient care with the same organization can help ease you into recovery treatment and avoid a disruptive transition from one level of care to the next.
Not everyone who seeks treatment for addiction or substance abuse will need to go through a medical detox program. Some people choose to seek treatment for substance abuse before it becomes serious enough to require detox; others might be spurred to get help after experiencing withdrawal symptoms on their own and still others re-enter treatment after a one- time relapse. But medical detox is appropriate and strongly recommended for those who are currently struggling with a serious addiction and who experience the early signs of withdrawal if they go too long between drinks or uses. Withdrawal can be unpredictable and harmful to the health of the person experiencing it, and it’s always best to have the help of medical professionals to navigate this difficult phase of recovery. Some key indications that you or your loved one might need an addiction treatment facility that offers medical detox include:
- Bouts of unexplained flu-like symptoms
- Erratic behavior or mood swings
- A significant decline in physical health such as drastic weight loss or fatigue
- Constant drug or alcohol use without periods of sobriety
- Recent overdoses
- Use of multiple substances
- Presence of any other pre-existing physical or mental health concerns, particularly those that require medication
Medical Detox at Vista Taos
At Vista Taos, or medical detoxification program is a 6-10 day healing process that can be customized to each individual and their particular health needs. During this phase of treatment with us, our clients live in our fully-equipped facility and are monitored by our top-tier medical staff. Full-time detox care is provided by our medical director, director of nursing and direct care staff. Our team regularly monitors health and vital signs, administers medications to alleviate discomfort and works with each client to create a personalized treatment plan.
Vista Taos focuses on a whole-person approach to addiction treatment — our programs all include therapeutic offerings that aim to heal the body and the mind from all aspects of substance abuse. Our medical detox program is no exception. Alongside expert clinical care, participants will have access to our holistic healing staff, including our holistic nutritionist executive chef, acupuncturist and massage therapist. By providing a range of approaches to help the body recover from substance abuse, we are confident that we can help you regain the strength you need to begin treatment for addiction and find a long-lasting recovery.
Contact Vista Taos
Vista Taos is a family-owned, nationally accredited substance abuse treatment center located in Taos, New Mexico. Our scenic and secluded location affords our clients the peace and relaxation they need to heal physically, psychologically and spiritually from the damage of addiction to drugs or alcohol. We are fully equipped to treat adult men and women who are struggling with substance use disorders as well as co-occurring mental health concerns, from medical detoxification through residential care or extended treatment. If you believe that you or your loved one might be a good fit for the Vista Taos community, contact us today to learn more about the admissions process and availability. Call us at 575-613-9014 to start your journey of recovery with us.