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Medical detox, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is a method of safely managing withdrawal symptoms that are triggered when one ceases drug use. It is only one step in the overall recovery process, but it is a critical first step. To maximize the chances of long-term abstinence, individuals should be surrounded by supportive people during withdrawal.
Per the Department of Health and Human Services, evaluation and stabilization are important parts of detox. Individuals are tested for substances of abuse and their concentrations, and screened for physical and mental issues that can impact the detox and recovery process. In the stabilization phase, medical, psychological, and social aspects of withdrawal are managed.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40-60 percent of people who struggle with drug addiction relapse. These relapse rates are similar to those of chronic physical diseases, such as asthma and diabetes. Those who successfully complete detox and continue into a comprehensive treatment program are more likely to abstain from drug use and function better in a social, psychological, and occupational capacity. Support from loved ones and addiction treatment professionals is critical to remaining in treatment on a long-term basis, and this is vital to guarding against relapse.
Whether conducted at a facility or an outpatient clinic, drug detox and recovery should involve the help of supportive professionals and family and friends. Individuals in detox are often afraid and uncertain. Per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, facility staff should educate clients on their addiction and withdrawal symptoms, offering support and guidance.
Further, a clinician’s job also involves instructing visitors, family members, and friends on the importance of support during detox and ongoing recovery. Supportive individuals in can motivate the client to remain abstinent and strengthen their resolve to ongoing recovery.