What To Expect

Withdrawal Symptoms & Management

Desert Rose Detox offers a state-of-the-art medical detox off of opioids and other drugs free of withdrawal symptoms.

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Controlling Withdrawal Symptoms

The fear of withdrawal symptoms is, without a doubt, one of the major factors that prevents people from seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction. The truth is that modern detox protocols like those used at Desert Rose Detox are extremely effective at mitigating the majority of the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms most people fear. We believe that it’s a lack of information and understanding that’s at the heart of this concern more than anything else.

This section of our site should help clear up some common misconceptions and put your mind, or the mind of the person you love at ease. Ultimately our focus is getting you through the detox process in comfort and security, but we also want to see you succeed in recovery once your treatment is complete. We aim to provide every patient we treat with all the help and recommendations we can offer to that end. Every patient here receives a carefully drafted discharge plan which will guide their next steps, whether they choose to attend detox-only or complete a full course of treatment at Desert Rose Recovery.

Managing Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the most common issues we see in patients admitting to Desert Rose Detox is opioid dependency. The symptoms associated with abruptly stopping opioid use are notoriously unpleasant. The most intense physical symptoms generally last a week or less, but anxiety and depression and some milder symptoms often linger much longer.

At Desert Rose Detox, we are experts in opioid detox. The opioid epidemic that began in this country in the late 90s has dramatically increased the demand for effective opioid detox and treatment. The field of addiction medicine has responded by developing advanced treatment protocols that not only mitigate withdrawal but help keep patients comfortable long after detox to help ensure they can build recovery time.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and stomach cramping
  • Achy muscles and joints
  • Pounding, racing heart
  • Intense anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia/restlessness
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation.
  • Sweating/clamminess
  • Excessive tearing/watery eyes

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Modern Opioid Detox Protocols

The modern opioid detox protocol at Desert Rose Detox utilizes the COWS scale among other tools to help gauge patients’ withdrawal symptoms. This also helps dictate when certain parts of protocol begin, for example, administering buprenorphine (Suboxone) to offset withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings. Buprenorphine is the most common medication used to directly counter opioid withdrawal. Methadone is sometimes used, depending on the situation.

However, other medications are also used to gain more complete coverage of withdrawal symptoms and keep patients as comfortable as possible. Other medications used include clonidine, Clonidine is an alpha2 agonist which helps reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Benzodiazepines like Valium (diazepam) are sometimes used to control anxiety. Vistaril (hydroxyzine) is often used for its similar anxiolytic effects that come without the risks associated with benzodiazepines. Colace is often used to help patients become more regular due to the constipating effect of opioids which can lead to more dangerous conditions left untreated.

Managing Alcohol & Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol and benzodiazepine detox is another protocol we handle quite often at Desert Rose detox. Alcohol is in a unique category of drugs in which it is especially important to receive a medically supervised detox. Benzodiazepines and barbiturates are the other drugs in this category. What they all have in common, aside from being CNS depressants, is that their withdrawal symptoms have the potential to be deadly. You should NEVER abruptly stop using alcohol or any drug in this category following regular use. The potential for a life-threatening seizure is very real. This is why a medical detox is so important. It’s for safety as well as comfort. We’ve included alcohol and benzodiazepines in the same section here because the detox protocol is similar for both.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Headache
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Confusion

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Hand tremors
  • Muscle pain and spasms
  • Panic attack
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures

Modern Alcohol and Benzo Detox Protocols

As mentioned earlier, we included alcohol and benzodiazepines in the same section here because the detox protocol is similar for both. Both are central nervous system depressants. The key concerns in the detox protocols are to keep the patient as comfortable as possible by controlling withdrawal symptoms and allow for rest and recuperation. Mitigating the risk of seizure is also very high on this list. Benzodiazepines are often used on a short-term basis in these detox protocols as it is important to very gently allow the body to adjust.

Commonly used benzos in alcohol or benzodiazepine detox protocols include Librium (chlordiazepoxide) and Valium (diazepam) among others. These are used to both relieve anxiety and reduce the risk of seizure. Clonidine is a medication that helps reduce heart rate and blood pressure which is also used in alcohol or benzo detox sometimes. Acomprosate is also sometimes used to reduce alcohol cravings and other symptoms. Some anti-depressants, such as Wellbutrin, which are also effective at treating some anxiety conditions may also be used.  

Other Medicines Used in Detox Protocols

Different patients have different symptoms and different physiology. We often find that patients who admit to Desert Rose Detox are using more than one type of drug in combination. This is another factor which can influence the detox protocol. Ultimately our goal is to get you through the detox process with comfort and safety. This is the short-term goal. But Desert Rose is a comprehensive addiction treatment program. We want much more for you than to simply get past unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

We want every patient we treat to have the best chance possible at building lasting recovery. Even if they elect only to stay with us for the detox portion of care. Part of the way we can do that is by providing diagnosis of any co-occurring conditions you may have (dual diagnosis treatment) and care for these conditions, ideally, if you choose to stay on with us beyond the detox phase of treatment. Even barring a formal diagnosis, many patients find they get relief from the short to medium term use of psychiatric medications like serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) commonly prescribed to treat depression. Research has shown patients who take this medication in early recovery are statistically more likely to remain sober. 

Other medications that may be used in a detox or treatment setting are antipsychotic medications such as Risperdal, Seroquel, Abilify or Clozaril. Just because medications like this are used during treatment however, or even for a period afterwards, it does not necessarily mean a person needs to remain on them for life. You should never cease taking any prescribed medication without first consulting your doctor of course. Medications are only a part of the detox process. The healing is done by the body itself and that simply takes time. Staying as healthy as you can in the days after detox can go a long way towards your recovery and recuperation. Simple, good behaviors like getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food and getting regular exercise really do make a substantial difference in how you feel in the days following detox.

Desert Rose Detox is Ready to Help

At Desert Rose Detox, we are devoted to helping people safely and comfortably get off of drugs and alcohol and leave them behind. Our Desert Rose Recovery program offers all 5 of the major ASAM levels of care for addiction treatment. We believe it is impossible to get too much help for a problem, so we encourage every patient to take advantage of everything we can offer them. We understand that not everyone will be able to commit to the entire Desert Rose Recovery program however and we will provide detox-only treatment upon request. We ask only that you keep an open mind and consider the possibilities and pros and cons of further treatment.

Please give Desert Rose Detox a call. Let’s talk about what we can do for you or the people you love.

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