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Medical Detox

Overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction takes time, commitment and external support. Most treatment regimens begin with detoxification, with natural and medical detox programs both available depending on the substance and extent of addiction. Detox enables people to stop using drugs and helps treat associated withdrawal symptoms. While detox does little to address the psychological aspects of drug addiction, it is a crucial element of the treatment process. Medically assisted detox programs are normally recommended for physical drug addictions, including alcoholism, heroin addiction, prescription opiate addiction, and prescription sedative addiction. If you know anyone in South Dakota or elsewhere who could benefit from medical detox, it’s important to contact a professional treatment center as soon as possible.

Types of Detox Programs

In the context of drug addiction treatment, detox describes the process and experience of problematic drug withdrawal. There are many ways to stop using drugs, from natural “cold turkey” detox regimens to intensive medication programs. The substance and extent of addiction greatly affect the treatment provided, with some drugs responding better to medication treatment than others. Medical detox is often advised for psychoactive substances that produce a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome, including alcohol, heroin, Valium, Klonopin, Xanax, Serax, OxyContin and Vicodin. Other than alcohol, all of the substances in this list are either opiates or benzodiazepines. Medical detox involves the administration of specific medications that help to alleviate and manage withdrawal symptoms.  


Medical Detox Stages

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, every comprehensive detox regimen should include three separate yet integrated phases. The first stage is known as “evaluation,” with various physical and psychological tests performed during this stage. This stage of detox is very important, with doctors needing to perform blood tests to check for substances and mental tests to check for behavioral addictions and mental health disorders. The second stage of detox is referred to as “stabilization,” with medications typically applied during this phase of treatment. It’s important to treat withdrawal symptoms and stabilize patients before they receive rehab treatment. While natural detox regimens enforce and encourage stability through abstinence alone, medications are often needed to help alleviate and manage dangerous withdrawal symptoms. The third stage of detox is described as “consultation,” with therapists talking with patients and helping them into rehab programs. While detox is crucial, rehab is also needed to address the psychological issues that underpin drug addiction.   

Alcohol Detox

Alcohol dependence in South Dakota is a serious medical problem that needs careful analysis and treatment. A medical detox period is normally advised to treat alcoholism, with this physically addictive substance associated with a range of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms include excessive sweating, vomiting, nausea, hand tremors, seizures, hallucinations, insomnia, and delirium tremens. Benzodiazepine drugs such as Librium and Valium are often administered during detox programs to help manage these symptoms.

Opiate Detox

Opiates include the illegal drug heroin and the prescription medications morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone. These drugs are all associated with a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome, with a medical detox period typically recommended prior to rehab treatment. Common withdrawal symptoms from opiate drugs include nausea, vomiting, cramping, and restless leg syndrome. Many of these withdrawal symptoms can lead to additional medical complications if left untreated, with medications often needed to help manage symptoms and stabilize patients. Methadone and buprenorphine are often used in this context, both during detox and on a long-term basis during opiate replacement therapy.


Make this day count. Contact an accredited treatment facility today to learn how you can fight addiction and take your life back.