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detox FAQs

What is withdrawal management?

Withdrawal management is the management of the symptoms and complications of substance withdrawal. Detoxification, for example, would also be referred to as withdrawal management. Specific substances are associated with various symptoms when an addict stops using their drug of choice. The time frame of withdrawal symptoms depends on different factors, like the type of drug, how long the person has been using, and their overall health. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the substance. Medical detox providers and standard detox providers handle withdrawal management in different ways.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, detoxification is a set of interventions aimed at managing acute intoxication and withdrawal. The purpose of detox or withdrawal management is to minimize the physical harm caused by the abuse of substances. The process of withdrawal management involves evaluation, stabilization, and fostering the patient’s entry into treatment. Withdrawal management is essential because it physically and mentally prepares the person for inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation.

Generally, most addicts are withdrawing from multiple substances, and polysubstance withdrawal management is needed. However, someone who is abusing opioids is likely experiencing only opioid withdrawal. During managed withdrawal, medical professionals will prioritize the most serious withdrawal symptoms. For example, during medical detox, medication is used to ease severe withdrawal symptoms. It is important to determine what type of withdrawal management is needed to ensure the process is safe for the addict.

Family Intervention and Transitioning to Withdrawal Management

The first step that most families take is intervention and getting their drug-addicted loved ones committed to entering treatment. Family intervention motivates the addict to seek help and understand how their addiction has impacted them and their families. Someone who is struggling with addiction is often in denial about their situation and unwilling to seek treatment. The addict may not recognize the negative effects their behavior has on others. An intervention presents the addict with a structured opportunity to make changes before things get worse.

The best way to organize an intervention is by hiring a professional interventionist. Intervention is a carefully planned process done with family, friends, and an interventionist. These people come together to confront the addict about their addiction and get them to accept treatment. Family intervention is usually a two-day process, and the first day is spent with the family planning the intervention. The family also rehearses the intervention, and the interventionist helps the family work through issues connected to enabling and co-dependency. The second day is when the intervention happens, and the family is prepared for everything. The goal is to get the addict to treatment and not give up on that goal despite what happens.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2006. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45.) 1 Overview, Essential Concepts, and Definitions in Detoxification. Available from:

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