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Medical Drug & Alcohol Detox



The process of changing any ingrained behavior is difficult. When you add addictive and dependency-forming chemicals to the mix, it becomes even harder. For some people, their dependence on certain substances is so severe that it may be intensely painful and even unsafe to abstain from the substance on which their body has become dependent without medical support.

What is Medically-Supervised Detoxification?

Detoxification can be medically-supervised in either an outpatient or an inpatient setting. Generally when people talk about “medical detox,” they are referring to an acute care inpatient program, where medical help is available 24/7.

Sometimes medically-supervised detox involves taking prescription medications to help the body taper off the substance in question or to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes it simply involves monitoring a person to make sure that no complications arise.

Some Situations where you May Need Inpatient, Medically-Supervised Detox:

  • In case of overdose
  • When a person is at high risk for psychiatric or behavioral complications such as psychosis, hallucination, or uncontrolled behavior
  • When death may result without immediate abstinence
  • Biomedical complications, already severely compromised health
  • If a person would be in significant discomfort withdrawing without medical assistance

Substances that Most Commonly Require Medically-Supervised Detox:

Alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening and medical professionals should supervise alcohol detox in cases of severe dependence.

Benzodiazepines (benzos), such as Xanax or Valium. Sudden cessation of this class of drugs can be lethal. Withdrawal should be medically supervised in an outpatient setting at minimum.

Opioids. While rarely dangerous, withdrawal from opioids such as heroin or prescription painkillers like OxyCodone can be very painful.

Cocaine/stimulants. Severe mood imbalances can occur during early withdrawal.

Scenarios when Outpatient Detox Can Help

A Teen or Young Adult May be Able to Detox from Substances in an Outpatient Setting in the Following Situations:

  • They have adequate and safe transportation to and from outpatient care.
  • They are not at significant risk for complications.
  • They and/or their family members can understand instructions and follow directions for self-administering medication.
  • The overseeing physician feels comfortable treating them in an outpatient setting.

If you are unsure whether it is safe for you or your loved one to cut back or quit using substances without medical supervision, get a professional substance abuse and mental health assessment. Sandstone Care’s competent and caring team of clinicians can help you determine whether you need inpatient medical detox. It is important to note that detox is not a substitute for treatment.

It is the first step in addressing severe physical dependence. However, sustainable recovery is built on addressing root causes, learning skills for recovery, and finding a support network. Sandstone Care offers safe, medical detox at our Colorado Springs location for those 18 years and up. Along with medical detox, we offer a longer inpatient and assessment stay that prepares you to transition into our services if you are a young adult or to our treatment partners for those above the age of 30.

Drug and Alcohol Detox
For teens and young adults who are chemically dependent, detoxing should be the first step in their drug and alcohol addiction treatment plan.
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