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Is There Research On Alcohol and Drug Detoxification?

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Effective Detoxification Programs

There has been an enormous amount of research on alcohol and drug detoxification regarding methods that are most effective, medications that are safe and effective, brain disease theory and cognitive behavioral education in alcohol and drug detoxification.

Most physicians agree that medical detox is the best method for alcohol and drug detoxification. While many may question the concept of using drugs to help end an alcohol and drug dependency, counting it as counterproductive; many others see the benefit in it. Part of the reason for a lack of acceptance by a few regarding the use of medication for alcohol and drug detoxification is a combination of false beliefs and information. Studies have shown time and again that the chances for success in alcohol and drug detox are exponentially higher when the patient is comfortable and the withdrawal symptoms are controlled. Studies also show that the chances for returning to drug use decrease with a successful detox.

IV therapy medical detox is seen by many physicians as the safest and most effective medical detox available. IV therapy medical detox is administered under the supervision of a licensed and board certified physician, highly skilled in critical care medicine. Patient care is monitored around the clock by ICU/ER experienced, registered nurses and technicians. Intravenous therapy is crucial to the detox, because it allow the physician to make any necessary adjustments, to increase or decrease the medication protocol, for an immediate effect and to meet the withdrawal symptoms. The result is patient comfort throughout the process.

Detox Programs That Have Been Proven Less Effective

Unfortunately traditional hospital inpatient medical detox cannot boast the reviews that IV therapy medical detox has earned. Traditional hospital inpatient medical detox for alcohol and drug detoxification, has been seen as ineffective and some of their methods questionable. Hospital medical detox places their patient in psychiatric units or on psych floors and on lockdown or in isolation. Patients have reported felling alone and without support. Furthermore, patients are not permitted any personal items into detox: no cell phone and no laptop. Patients are also restricted from any contact with the outside world – any phone calls to immediate family members must be made at the nurse's station.

Another point that has been called into question or considered ineffective by many health professionals is the use of oral medication that does not completely relieve the withdrawal symptoms for patients. Patients are uncomfortable and there is research to show that many patients walk out of detox before it is complete. It stands to reason that the likeliness for return to drug use is higher for patients who do not complete detox.

OutPatient Medical Detox Centers

There has also been research conducted on the use of outpatient alcohol and drug detoxification. Outpatient medical detox is where individuals self report to a clinic or to a doctor's office to receive medication, usually methadone, suboxone or subutex, to detox at home. The most important point made was the fact that many individuals stay on these replacement drugs for many months or years unnecessarily. It was not the use of methadone, suboxone or subutex that was questioned, but the fact that even after the withdrawal symptoms had subsided, there were no safeguards put in place to help them stop taking the detox drug. And these drugs are shown to have their own severe withdrawal symptoms, in some cases, worse than the drugs from which they were originally detoxing.

Those who complete the detox process have higher rates of long term abstinence than those who do not. Following up a detox program with a residential program designed to help people to make long term lifestyle changes also increases rates of abstinence. It is recommended by many researchers to seek a program that does not reinforce ideas of powerless and disease but instead empowers individuals through research based education and concrete solutions.

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