Drug Detoxification & Opiate Addiction
Drug Detoxification is the gradual withdrawal of an abused substance in a controlled environment. It is a period of medical treatment, usually including counseling, during which a person is helped to overcome physical and psychological dependence on drugs (American Medical Dictionary, 2000).
Patients undergoing detoxification need to know that someone cares about them, respects them as individuals, and has hope for their future.
“Detoxification” is a set of interventions aimed at managing acute intoxication and withdrawal. Detoxification does not constitute substance abuse treatment but it is one part of the continuum of care for substance-related disorders.
Supervised detoxification can prevent potentially life-threatening complications that might appear if the patient were left untreated.
There are three essential components to detoxification (San Luis Medical Journal, 2011):
Evaluation entails testing for the presence of substances of abuse in the bloodstream (drug testing) and screening for co-occurring mental and physical conditions to determine the appropriate level of treatment following the detoxification.
Stabilization includes the medical and psychosocial processes of assisting the patient through acute intoxication and withdrawal to the attainment of a medically stable, fully supported, substance-free state. This is often done with the assistance of medications.
Fostering the patient’s entry into treatment involves preparing the patient for entry into substance abuse treatment by stressing the importance of following through with the complete substance abuse treatment continuum of care.
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