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3 Drug Detox Myths Debunked

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A number of drug detox myths have popped up over the years, often confusing addicts and family members alike. Without doing your homework, myths and misinformation can dash the hopes of drug detox success and long-term sobriety. By debunking some of the most troublesome myths, an unobstructed journey toward sobriety is possible. Let’s evaluate three common detox myths and officially set the record straight:

Myth 1: The Detox Process Removes All Drugs from the System

Many people are under the assumption that a “successful” medical detox can only be achieved by ridding the body of all drug-related toxins. This myth has gained a significant amount of popularity over the last decade, resulting in widespread detox-related confusion and misinformation. However, a new study conducted by Cornell College hopes to redefine expected outcomes of the detox process. Important data from the Cornell study includes:
  • The purpose of a detox program is to safely see an addict through the physical withdrawal symptoms and relieve all serious medical risks.
  • A “successful” detox doesn’t eliminate all the toxins from an addict’s body.
  • Upon entering a detox program, most patients are still experiencing drug or alcohol cravings.
  • After completion of a medical detox, addicts are safe to enter a rehabilitation program.

Myth 2: Drug Detox is Only Available Through an In-Patient Rehab Facility

One of the most popular and widely-used forms of outpatient detox is known as medically-assisted detoxification. Many years ago, addiction treatment options were extremely limited. Today the detoxification process can take place in a number of alternate settings. One of the most popular and widely-used forms of outpatient detox is known as medically-assisted detoxification. With this form of outpatient detox, addicts make regularly scheduled visits to their doctor’s office. While there, patients either receive a dose of medication (i.e. methadone) or a new prescription for at-home administration (i.e. Suboxone). In an outpatient situation, doctors must not rush their patients through the program. Studies show success rates are highest among addicts who:
  • Receive a long-term taper off the dependent drug
  • Have access to prescription drugs known to ease withdrawal symptoms
  • Are not under constant medical care

Myth 3: Quitting Cold Turkey is Worth it to Save Time and Money

Many uninsured addicts can’t afford a detox program, so they opt for the cold turkey method. Medical experts agree this form of detoxification is extremely dangerous and a 2013 study conducted by researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center backs up the claim. Georgetown researchers studied morphine-addicted animals and treated them with either a lower dose of morphine during withdrawal or no treatment at all. Those treated during morphine withdrawal had more protective proteins and fewer damaging inflammatory cytokines. Animals made to quit cold turkey, however, had more of the damaging cytokines and quickly experienced mental decline. Learn more about your options for drug and alcohol detox treatment programs
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