A number of professional organizations and clinicians have replaced the terms detox or medical detox with the term withdrawal management.
The reason for this is to adequately describe certain processes that occur as a result of discontinuing use of drugs or alcohol. It has been recognized by these organizations and clinicians that detoxification and the formal process of the withdrawal management program are not the same thing.This clarification can be summarized as follows:
ASAM has formally applied the term withdrawal management to all of their publications and has even restated some of their policies to include this term and remove the term detox from references to the management of withdrawal symptoms in individuals recovering from substance use disorders. Even so, medical detox is still sometimes used to describe a professional withdrawal management process.
According to a number of reliable sources, such as the textbook Chemical Dependency, there are various instances in which an individual should first consult with a doctor prior to ceasing use of a substance.
It is important to understand that becoming involved in a withdrawal management program is neither necessary nor sufficient to recover from substance abuse. Something is deemed as necessary to achieve some end when its absence will guarantee that the goal the individual is attempting to reach will not be met. The majority of individuals will find greater success in using physician-assisted withdrawal management strategies.A factor is deemed to be sufficient in order to achieve some outcome when its presence alone guarantees that the outcome will be reached. Simply going through a withdrawal management program without any formal substance use disorder therapy is associated with extremely high relapse. Thus, it is quite clear that the withdrawal management process alone is not sufficient to ensure a successful recovery and that other steps must be taken. Individuals who undergo a formal substance use disorder treatment program, participate in social support groups, and have treatment for co-occurring disorders still display incidents of relapse, but they also display better long-term recovery rates and better adjustment as a group than individuals who do not seek formal treatment.
Thus, it is advantageous to seek out a medical detox program when attempting to discontinue any drug of abuse.
These programs often include such things as herbs, juices, smoothies, special diets, fasting, exercise, meditation, or the use of Epsom salts.
There are some approaches that can support the withdrawal process. When used in conjunction with medical oversight, these practices can ease some of the discomfort associated with withdrawal and smooth the transition to sobriety.