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Medical Detoxification

When a person abuses drugs or alcohol, the body becomes dependent on the substance(s) and it can be dangerous to stop using them “cold turkey.” Suddenly stopping use of alcohol and benzodiazepines is particularly dangerous and can even be life-threatening. Medical detox is the safest way to rid the body of substances. Under the supervision of a trained medical staff, physical symptoms caused by withdrawal are safely managed. Detox alone is not considered treatment, but it is the first step in the addiction treatment process.

What to Expect
When you first enter treatment for an addiction, you will be evaluated by the medical staff and a treatment plan that addresses your unique needs will be created. Any co-occurring psychiatric problems will also be addressed. Medical detox is done on an inpatient basis and typically takes 3 – 5 days, but the length of varies for each individual. The goals of this phase of treatment are crisis stabilization, symptom reduction and medication management. After detox is complete, it’s best to move on to a residential or outpatient addiction treatment program. Although a person will feel significantly better after detoxing, those who don’t continue on with treatment have a high rate of relapse.

Medications to Assist with Detox
Medications are often used to help patients detoxing from opioids, alcohol or sedatives be more comfortable.

  • Benzodiazepines – Drugs such as Ativan, Xanax, or Klonopin, which are used to treat anxiety, also help prevent seizures in those detoxing from alcohol.
  • Methadone and Suboxone – These medications are opioids themselves, however they are long-lasting and don’t produce the euphoric highs that heroin and prescription painkillers do. They ease withdrawal symptoms and make cravings less intense, which increases the likelihood of a successful recovery. The length of time these medications are needed varies for each person, but they may be used for the first year or longer in order to maintain sobriety. Both of these medications will be carefully monitored by your doctor and the dose is gradually decreased until it’s no longer needed. Stopping either of these suddenly will cause withdrawal symptoms that may be dangerous. Always consult your doctor.
  • Continuing Treatment at Silver Hill Hospital
    Following detoxification, treatment usually consists of psychotherapy (individual and group), dialectical behavioral therapy, medication (when needed), 12-step programs, support groups, intensive outpatient programs and other recovery support services. In order to maintain sobriety, it’s important to address and treat any co-occurring psychiatric disorder(s) as well.

    Learn more about the inpatient, residential, outpatient and intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs at Silver Hill Hospital and view our treatment outcomes.

    Getting to Know Silver Hill Hospital

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    Levels of Care

    Silver Hill offers three levels of care: inpatient, transitional living and outpatient treatment. Take a look at these programs to see where you might fit in.

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    Therapies & Services

    Our broad range of services and therapies allow flexible treatment planning specific to each patient’s needs.

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