Medicated Detox or Medically Managed Detoxification

Detox, short for Detoxification is the first step in any recovery program. Detox is not a treatment but a phase in recovery while cleaning the body of poison. The fear of a long, painful withdrawal process keeps people from seeking help. However, at Alta Centers our medical professionals trained in detoxification treatment can help treat undesirable effects of withdrawal. Our detoxification process includes a variety of medications to manage unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and therefore making the process safer and more tolerable for the patient.

Medicated Detox at Alta Centers starts with an assessment in a controlled and safe setting. The attentive staff will determine the best pathway for individual treatment and the psychiatrist determines the most effective medication treatment to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal. Our medication treatments for withdrawal are linked to the particular type of substance that was abused, the length of time of abuse, typical dosage, and past attempts at detox and rehab. Some common types of treatments, based on particular drugs, are as follows:

Opioid withdrawal. The FDA has approved and we provide buprenorphine (forms include Subutex and Suboxone) for treatment of opioid addiction. Naltrexone and Vivitrol options are also available.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal. Strategies include the patient continuing to take benzodiazepines in gradually decreasing amounts, switching to another benzodiazepine, or phenobarbital substitution.

Stimulant withdrawal.

There are no FDA-approved medications acting as antagonists for cocaine addiction treatment. However, inpatient detox programs may utilize benzodiazepines to treat withdrawal from cocaine and methamphetamines. Although benzodiazepines can be addictive, they are prescribed to calm the effects of stimulant withdrawal largely because of the lack of other medication alternatives.

What Are Some of the Withdrawal Symptoms and Timelines?

Heroin withdrawal:

Heroin Withdrawal begins within 12 hours of the last dose, peaks within 24-48 hours with flu-like symptoms, and lasts a week to up in certain severe cases to a few months.

Prescription opiates (such as Vicodin, OxyContin, methadone, and morphine):

Prescription opiates withdrawal starts in 8-12 hours for most prescription opiates, peaks in 12-48 hours, and lasts 5-10 days usually. Methadone withdrawal begins within 24-48 hours, peaks in the first few days, and lasts 2-4 weeks.

Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan) withdrawal:

Benzodiazepines withdrawal may begin within 1-4 days, peaking in the first two weeks. The symptoms may be in a form of anxiety and/.or seizures. In some cases, protracted withdrawal can last months or even years without treatment.

Cocaine withdrawal:

Cocaine Withdrawal starts within hours of the last dose, peaking in a few days and lasting from a week to 10 weeks with possible depression and restlessness.

Alcohol withdrawal:

Alcohol Withdrawal usually begins between eight hours of last drink up to a few days after drinking, peaks within 24-72 hours, and can last a few weeks. Severe cases result in tremors and/or seizures.