Detoxification from drugs and alcohol is a medically managed process and is the very first stage of residential rehab treatment here at Smarmore Castle Private Clinic, Ireland.
Drug and alcohol addiction is a significant problem and public health concern that affects millions of people. Sadly, only a small percentage find lasting freedom. Recent data suggests that drug use and drug-induced deaths have become more common among the adult general population in the UK and Ireland over recent years.
Alcohol and drug detox is an important part of finding recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. With the support of a clinically supported detox treatment programme carried out in a caring, non-judgemental inpatient environment, lasting recovery is possible.
What Exactly is Detox? What are the Timelines?
Detoxification is a set of interventions with three main goals:
- Initiating abstinence
- Managing the safe withdrawal from drugs and alcohol and any severe withdrawal symptoms
- Retaining clients in treatment post-detox
Detox involves a clearing of toxins from the body of someone who is acutely intoxicated and/or dependent on illicit drugs, illegal drugs, and/or alcohol. Detoxification is a process that looks to minimise the physical harm caused by the abuse of substances.
On average, the detox process lasts for seven to ten days depending on how much alcohol/drugs someone may have been consuming, the length of time they have been using, and the severity of their withdrawal symptoms associated with the substances in their system.
An evaluation will establish the substances being abused as there are differences in severe complications and in the management of withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and sedatives, opiates, and stimulants. This process can involve blood testing for the presence of substances in the bloodstream and their concentration. At this point, any co-occurring mental and physical conditions will be investigated. During the evaluation, the client’s medical and psychological conditions, and social situation will be reviewed to help determine what their drug and alcohol addiction treatment will look like following the detox process. As such, the evaluation serves as a basis for a personalised substance abuse treatment plan.
This stage of detox includes the process of assisting the client through withdrawal to attain a medically stable and substance-free state. To ensure the safety of the client, this is often achieved with the assistance of medications although this isn’t always necessary. During this stage of detox, clients will be fully informed of what to expect during the withdrawal phase, proceeding with treatment, and recovery.
When the alcohol and/or drugs in a patient’s system are reduced, they will typically begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Each person experiences detox differently. The type and severity of withdrawal symptoms experienced will depend on how long someone has been addicted to alcohol or drugs, the type of substances they have been misusing, how much of the substances are being consumed, and general mental and physical states.
The spectrum of drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms ranges from such minor symptoms as insomnia and shivering to severe complications such as withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens. When withdrawal is handled as part of a detox process, these symptoms can, as far as possible, be minimised.
Physical symptoms may include (but are not limited to):
- increased heart rate and blood pressure
- nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting
- sweating, shaking and/or shivering
- temperature and/or chills
- physical pain – headaches, abdominal cramps, muscle and bone pain
Psychological symptoms may include (but are not limited to):
- mood swings
- irritability, agitation, or anger
- anxiety and depression
- confusion and paranoia
- lack of concentration
Entry Into Treatment
Following the detox process, clients will be prepared for starting their therapeutic treatment programme. The importance of completing the substance abuse treatment will often be stressed at this time. A written treatment contract for clients who have a history of completing medical detoxes but not therapeutic treatment programmes can be helpful and may encourage entrance into a continuum of substance abuse treatment. Therapeutic contracts are not legally binding and are voluntarily signed by patients when they are stable enough to do so. This is the assist those who merely admit themselves into a detox facility to dry out and then continue with substance abuse, to find long-term recovery, breaking the detox loop.
The process of detox can feel frightening but at Smarmore Castle we treat our clients with compassion and understanding, viewing them as individuals with varied needs rather than just patients. We provide hope for a future free of drugs and alcohol. Each person going through detox at Smarmore Castle will be carefully monitored 24 hours a day, for the duration of the process to ensure they are physically safe and feel emotionally supported.
The Importance of Drug and Alcohol Detox
When someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs, they may need to go through a detox process which is an important first step in finding sustained freedom from addiction.
The need for detox is based on the evidence that when someone is physically unwell with drug addiction or alcohol addiction, they will struggle to tackle the underlying causes of their illness. Detox sets up clients to be mentally and physically available to address the psychological features of addiction as part of a personalised addiction treatment programme. This gives them a greater chance of long-term sobriety or clean time and prevents relapse.
Without a medical detox, withdrawal symptoms might be expected to peak between 36 and 72 hours after cessation of substance use, depending on the substance. If the use of drugs and alcohol is stopped abruptly after prolonged use at high doses, this may trigger discontinuation syndromes, symptoms of which vary depending on the substance. Discontinuation syndromes can be fatal so a managed taper as part of a medically supervised process is incredibly important to ensure someone safely detoxes.
Detox Medications Explained
A clinical detox of drug and alcohol withdrawal often involves substituting a medication for the substances being abused before tapering commences or during taper. These medications can mimic the effects of addictive drugs which relieves withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Medications will be selected carefully to ensure a low potential for abuse, overdose, and negative side effects.
Detox for drug and alcohol dependence can last several days to several weeks depending on the drug. The following drugs may be used to support this process.
Benzodiazepines have a sedative effect that reduce anxiety and irritability, common symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol and many drugs including cocaine and opiates. Doctors are cautious about prescribing benzodiazepines because they can be addictive.
Because drugs affect levels of serotonin in the brain, when drug use is stopped, people often experience depression. Antidepressants like Zoloft and Prozac can help relieve these feelings until the brain is able to produce mood-stabilising chemicals naturally.
Clonidine is often used to treat alcohol and opiate withdrawals. Clonidine reduces sweating, cramps, muscle aches and anxiety and can also stop tremors and seizures associated with drug withdrawal.
Methadone is an opiate used for moderate to severe opiate addictions that helps to suppress cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is used with caution because some people have become addicted to it in place of heroin and painkillers.
Can I Detox at Home?
As withdrawal from alcohol and drugs can be fatal or have serious consequences to health and mental wellbeing, it is usually recommended that detox is carried out as an inpatient so you can be monitored around the clock, kept safe and supported emotionally.
Outpatient detox may be appropriate if you have mild-to-moderate withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol, have no significant co-occurring conditions, and have someone willing to monitor your detox progress closely. However, if serious complications – delirium tremens, suicidal ideation, or psychotic symptoms – start to occur, it is important to seek medical support immediately.
Drug and Alcohol Detox at Smarmore Castle
Detoxification from drugs and alcohol is a medically managed process and is the very first stage of residential rehab treatment here at Smarmore Castle, Ireland.
The detox practices at Smarmore Castle are based on a well-established detox programme that ensures the process is managed by medical professionals, and the client is made as comfortable as possible. A consultant psychiatrist will prescribe a personalised detoxification plan, which is agreed upon with the client in advance after a thorough assessment. We provide round-the-clock medical care, support and encouragement because we understand that this can be a daunting time for our clients. All clients receive medical care as an inpatient at Smarmore Castle; we don’t offer outpatient treatment.
All patients are closely monitored throughout the process of detoxification, easing withdrawal symptoms and reviewing their condition several times a day. A specialist doctor and experienced nursing staff are always on-site or on-call in case of an emergency.
Get in touch todayTo find out how we can help you, please telephone Smarmore Castle on our 24-Hour Helpline: 041 214 5111 or click here to arrange a free addiction assessment. You're almost there.
Detox is the First Step
Detoxification will not curb the compulsion to drink or use drugs. It is the just first step in the much longer process of recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.
Following detox, the most effective treatment for the chronic illness of addiction and finding long-term recovery is an abstinence-based programme. A specialised residential treatment will provide you with an expert team that works together to develop a personalised care plan to meet your specific needs. This may include a combination of medical treatments, individual and therapy, alongside complementary therapies.
Whatever your background, age, religion, gender, and sexual identification, if you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription drugs, residential rehab following detox is the most effective way of setting you up for long-term freedom and recovery.
The benefits of residential addiction treatment include:
- therapies that target the specific causes of your addiction and help prevent relapse
- a clinically proven, intensive treatment that produces lasting results
- learning to cope more effectively with life’s stressors
- quality care from clinical psychiatrists, doctors and nurses who provide round-the-clock care, make thorough clinical assessments to ensure clinical care is focused and appropriate diagnoses are made
- a chance to build healthy and open relationships with your peers and therapy team that are based on trust
- an introduction to 12-step recovery
Therapy is crucial for the treatment of addiction and there are many forms that might help you overcome a substance use disorder following a detox.
Individual therapy is widely used in addiction treatment. It provides you with the space and privacy to discuss any underlying causes of addiction. If you are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or grief, individual therapy can be particularly helpful.
Group counselling helps you understand addiction and builds self-awareness through the shared experiences and openness of your treatment groups.
The more those closest to you know about addiction, the better equipped they are to offer you the right support. Addiction is a family illness, and it is common for support networks to need support themselves.
You might be looking into detox and rehab options for yourself or a loved one, finding yourself feeling sceptical. Is it going to work?
There are no universally accepted criteria for treatment effectiveness, so inpatient treatment rehabs define success in different ways. However, a Public Health England study found that rehab success rates range from 50% to 400% for treatment that had a residential component. The same study also notes that the best hospitals see more than 60% of their residents overcome dependence and addiction.
Deciding to enter rehab is an important step in finding recovery from addiction. It is normal to feel overwhelmed by the logistics of taking time off for treatment and planning can feel stressful. An admissions team, therapy team and your support system can help you take steps to ensure that you can focus on your recovery while in treatment without being distracted by everyday responsibilities.
Supportive & Effective Drug & Alcohol Detox
The detox policies and practices at Smarmore Castle are based on a well-established detox programme that ensures that detox is managed by medical professionals, and as comfortable as possible.
We provide 24/7 round-the-clock medical care, support and encouragement because we understand that this can be a daunting time for our patients. All patients receive medical care as an inpatient at Smarmore Castle; we don’t offer outpatient treatment.
All patients are closely monitored throughout the process of detoxification, easing withdrawal symptoms and reviewing their condition several times a day. A specialist doctor is always on-site or on-call in case of an emergency, and our experienced nursing staff are always at hand.
Contact Us About Drug or Alcohol Detox
Contact us about detox
If you, a friend or a loved one suffers from an addiction to alcohol or drugs, please contact us now for help and to discuss a potential detox programme. We are available to answer queries 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can arrange a quick admission onto our addiction rehab programme.
Last updated & clinically assessed 20 July, 2022