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Understanding Drug and Alcohol Detox & Withdrawals

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Understanding Drug and Alcohol Detox & Withdrawals

Those that have been using drugs and alcohol consistently for a while will always have lots of questions about withdrawals and detox. Some people never experience withdrawals until they finally decide to quit, while others may have experienced past withdrawal symptoms and did not realize it.

What Is Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is your body’s reaction to a lack of chemicals in that the body has become chemically dependent-upon. Simply put, your bodily systems and organs have become addicted and are asking for more of the chemical(s) they are addicted-to. They “ask” by producing a range of unpleasant effects: cravings, flu-like symptoms, chills, anxiety and panic attacks, elevated heart rate, heart palpitations and heart murmurs, vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, fever, and more…

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Can You Die from Withdrawal Symptoms?

Alcohol withdrawal is the most serious of chemical dependency withdrawal cases. Yes, alcohol withdrawal can be deadly if not managed under the care of a detox professional or physician (doctor).

Benzodiazepine withdrawal (Like Xanax, Valium, etc.) has also been deadly in extreme cases in the past — although the risk of death from benzodiazepine withdrawal is generally considered much lower than alcohol withdrawal.

[Note – Many of those that abuse benzodiazepines have multiple addictions and may also be using other drugs and alcohol. This greatly increases the overall risk of death from overdose and related medical conditions].

List of Benzodiazepine Medications:

  • Xanax (Alprazolam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Ativan (Lorazepam)
  • Valium (Diazepam)
  • Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)
  • Restoril (Temazepam)
  • Versed (Midazolam)
  • Halcion (Triazolam)
  • Dalmane (Flurazepam)
  • Tranxene (Clorazepate)
  • Serax (Oxazepam)
  • Lorasepam (Lorazepam)
  • Niravam (Alprazolam)
  • Doral (Quazepam)
  • Prosom (Estazolam)
  • Loreev (Lorazepam)
  • Zetran (Diazepam)
  • Nayzilam (Midazolam)
  • Seizalam (Midazolam)
  • Byfavo (Remimazolam)

Heroin & Opioid Withdrawal is not usually deadly — contrary to what many believe. It is the opioids themselves that are highly deadly, carrying a high risk of overdose. Many heroin and opioid addicts that are trying to quit are able to stay sober for a while, and when they relapse, the overdose more easily — due to lowered drug tolerance. The “Relapse” that occurred — probably during withdrawals and cravings — is most often the cause of death.

[Note – Complications from withdrawal symptoms do exist — Withdrawal Seizures, for example, have caused falls, burst blood vessels, and other medical complications in the past which (without medical care) can be fatal].

Cocaine Withdrawal is not usually deadly, though is reported as being extremely uncomfortable, especially in cases of extreme cocaine addiction.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal like cocaine withdrawal is not usually deadly, but uncomfortable.

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Do I Need to Go to a Doctor for Drug and Alcohol Detox?

You should go to a licensed provider of drug and alcohol detox services. It does not necessarily need to be a general physician or medical doctor (MD), but should be a professional detox service provider. There are many different types of detox service providers that offer a range of specialties. At Active Recovery Care, we are both doctors and providers of detox services that specialize in intimate care at our Mesa AZ Detox Facility.

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Can I go Through Detox If I Am Pregnant?

Yes! You can and SHOULD go to detox as soon as possible if you are pregnant and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Active Recovery Care specializes in Drug and Alcohol Detox for Pregnant Women.

Stillborn, drug and alcohol-addicted newborns, and fetal alcohol syndrome are just a few of the risks that pregnant, addicted mothers face. Pregnant women that are struggling with drugs and alcohol and increase their own health and safety (as well as the unborn baby’s) by getting to detox immediately. From there, the detox professionals can help you get set up with any drug and alcohol rehab options or further assistance that you need. Detox should be considered the first step in treating addiction.

What Can I Expect from Drug and Alcohol Detox?

Depending on what substances you are addicted-to, how long you have been using them, and how much of the chemicals are already in your system, your detox professional will create a detox plan. Medications may be given to you to ease your withdrawal symptoms and prevent medical issues like seizures. The idea is to keep you under medical care and comfortable for the duration of the withdrawal symptoms.

Once the worst of the withdrawal symptoms have subsided, your detox professional will assist you in moving into the next phase of treatment. Depending on your situation, options may include residential rehab, outpatient treatment, sober living or halfway-house options (if requested or needed), relapse prevention and extended care.

Therapy for Addictive Behaviors

In every case of addiction, there are underlying behaviors that prompted a person to drink or use drugs in the first place. These behaviors do not go away with detox. Detox also does not take away your urge to use drugs or alcohol — this needs to be addressed in ongoing addiction treatment & counseling.

Active Recovery Care partners with Arizona Relationship Institute for addiction counseling and therapy as an integrated options for our patients. With a staff of therapists — all unique in their specializations and backgrounds — AZRI can help our patients decide the next step in their recovery after drug and alcohol detox.

Full Continuum of Addiction Treatment Care

What is the “Full Continuum of Care” with Addiction Treatment?

Active Recovery Care fully believes in the “Full Continuum of Care for Addiction Treatment Patients.” This means committing to the patients’ full recovery, all the way through life. You begin your addiction recovery journey with Active Recovery Care, and move through the phases of treatment with other providers, but we still remain an active participant in your recovery.

All providers in your journey of recovery should be working together to get you better. Your addiction therapist may not be helping you with sober living, or residential rehab living situations, but should be a part of the overall continuum of care.

A full continuum of care provides you with easy access to all of the resources you will need in your recovery, whether it be relationship therapy or counseling in your life to help you through the dark times, or dealing with relapse.

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