Detox is often the first step in any successful addiction treatment program. Detox is the process of the addict stopping the use of the addictive substance and breaking free from the physical need and physical addiction to the substance. The detox portion of addiction treatment can be quite painful and even feature serious and potentially life threatening complications. For this reason there is a growing need for detox programs that are provided by medically qualified personnel who are also addiction specialists so that they can help the addict during the detox phase and intervene in the event that any truly serious and severe withdrawal symptoms occur. The severity and type of withdrawal symptoms that are experienced during the detox phase are often dependent on the substance that an addict is detoxing from and the length and intensity that they abused the substance.

Withdrawal symptoms can vary widely, but often include irritability, insomnia, severe mood swings, dizziness, blunted affect, involuntary muscle movements which include twitches, spasms, and tremors, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, severe dehydration, constipation, depression, itching, sweating, rapid rise in blood pressure, rapid rise in pulse, tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, hallucinations, delirium, delirium tremens (DTs), convulsions, stroke, heart attack, respiratory collapse, coma and even death.

Many treatment facilities offer in house detox programs, so that the addict can receive the detox, counseling and after care portions of addiction treatment from the same provider. Still other addiction treatment programs require that an addict already completed the detox portion of their addiction treatment elsewhere before enrolling in their addiction treatment program.

Different detox programs use a wide variety of treatment methods to help addicts to cope with the withdrawal symptoms that they experience during detox. Some detox programs use an all-natural or holistic approach to detox, and emphasize nutritional support, daily exercise and even alternative therapies such as yoga and meditation to help the addict deal with the withdrawal symptoms. Other programs insist that the addict quit the substance cold turkey and provide little in the way of support other than to intervene medically if the addict suffers from life threatening complications. Other detox programs provide medication that can help lessen the side effects of withdrawal. Regardless of the treatment methods that are used during detox, it is important that addicts complete this crucial but painful first step in the addiction treatment process and break free from their physical dependence and need for the substance.

Once an addict completes the detox process and is no longer physically addicted to the substance, research has shown that it is imperative that the addict begins treatment for the psychological aspects of addiction. Without this much-needed additional treatment, relapse rates can be as high as 98% for many substances such as opiate addiction.

Detox programs then are the critical first step of any successful addiction treatment program. Without detox programs addicts are often unable to just choose to stop using the addictive substance as substance abuse quickly causes certain physiological changes within the addict that make choosing to stop using almost impossible without addiction treatment.

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