What is a Substance Addiction Detox?

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When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, their chances of experiencing negative withdrawal symptoms are high. This means that their body has become dependent on their drug of choice, and without it, they experience harmful physical side effects, including death in extreme cases.

At this point, detox comes into play. A professional drug detox center helps individuals safely come off whatever drug is in their bodies. The detox center’s goal is to get rid of any drug in the individual’s body and get them to a healthy enough point where they can hopefully enter a substance abuse treatment program, such as Emerge Healing Center. 

What is a Detox?

First, it’s important to know that a detox center is not the same as a rehab center. Emerge Healing Center offers many programs to treat substance addiction, but the client needs to be healthy enough to begin that treatment.

If unsure if the individual in question has an addiction, common symptoms include:

  • Increased relationship problems, familial or other
  • Financial problems
  • Decrease in interest in activities the individual once enjoyed
  • Legal problems
  • Many physical and mental health issues
  • Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop the use of the drug of choice 

Detox is often the starting point. A detox center takes in clients and uses specific techniques, such as medications and other therapies, to manage the client’s withdrawal symptoms safely, and to completely rid their body of the substance. 

Oftentimes, families reach out to rehab centers first, who then work with you to find a detox center if the specified client needs that level of care. 

Find out more about deciding if a person needs to detox below. 

Who Needs to Detox?

First, if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a Substance Abuse Disorder, it’s likely detox may be necessary before entering a treatment program. Managing withdrawal symptoms on your own is dangerous and not recommended. A telling sign that detox may be the right course is if severe withdrawal symptoms occur when attempting to stop using.

Signs of withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the drug being used, but often include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Inconsistent blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Unstable heart rate
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • In severe cases, death

If you or a loved one experience any of the above, asking a professional about a detox center may be in your best interest. Quitting cold turkey without medical help is not recommended, and a specified team to help is nothing to be ashamed of. 

What to Expect With a Detox

Knowing what to expect in a detox program may help alleviate any anxiety before going in. Usually, the first step is an initial physical exam, so the professionals can get a clearer picture of what’s going on. This can include specific tests, blood work, and being honest about your drug of choice and usage. Mental health is also looked at in detox centers and treated appropriately. 

After that exam, the detox team puts together a plan specific for you which may include monitored medicine to help with the withdrawal symptoms and alleviate any other issues that arise. During this process, the individual stays at the detox center 24/7 to get the best possible care and help them get stable enough to move on to a treatment center. 

Although using medication may seem strange if you’re trying to get an individual off drugs, these FDA-approved medicines are usually essential to the process and are only used when deemed necessary by a medical professional.

Common medicines used in the detox process include:

  • Acamprosate – one of three FDA-approved medications to treat alcohol use disorder
  • Antiadrenergic agents – used to treat withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, opiates, and benzodiazepines 
  • Anticonvulsants – These can prevent seizures along with managing other symptoms from drug and alcohol withdrawal
  • Antidepressants – Relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other disorders
  • Antipsychotics – Can help treat bipolar disorders, dementia, schizophrenia, and other psychiatric issues 
  • Anti-nausea medications – Helps fight nausea
  • + Others 

Typically a detox program takes a few days, depending on the severity of the individual. 

What Comes After a Detox?

Again, detox is not equivalent to treatment for Substance Abuse. Although an important first step, detox without treatment can be compared to losing weight on a fad diet and then going back to old eating habits immediately. 

Depending on which detox center you or a loved one goes to, their team may help you find a treatment center best suited for you. At Emerge Healing Center, we welcome all individuals to contact us and our skilled team can help you decide if detox is needed before treatment. If so, we’d love to help you find a detox center that’s best for you.

After detox, we can also work with you to get into one of our treatment programs. We treat drug addiction, alcoholism, dual diagnosis, PTSD, and trauma. We do this through a range of programs, such as Intensive Outpatient Programs, Partial Hospitalization Programs, and our Trauma + PTSD Program. 

These programs include evening outpatient services, CBT/DBT, Rapid Resolution Therapy, EMDR Therapy, Holistic Therapy, Equine Therapy, and 12 Step education. 

Getting Treatment

If you or a loved one need to undergo detox, or are currently dealing with an addiction and would like to know more about treatment options in Atlanta, contact us today. Our team at Emerge Healing Center is available at 770-573-0055 and can answer questions on which program is appropriate for you or your loved one.


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