Potential situations where quick admission to a detox program may help avert dangerous consequences (if a person is already experiencing significant symptoms or another emergency, call 911):
Additionally, same day admission to a detox program might be beneficial if a patient is experiencing or is at risk of experiencing opioid withdrawal. Abstinence from opioids can decrease tolerance, so a smaller amount of opioids might cause an overdose in a relapse, which could be fatal.4 If an individual pursuing treatment warrants pharmacological treatment but maintenance treatment is impractical, is not indicated, or is turned down, then detoxification is indicated.1
Better results correlate with methadone or buprenorphine treatment that is ongoing than with medically supervised withdrawal. Relapse to opioid use will occur, research indicates, for the majority of individuals who have opioid use disorder and go through medically supervised withdrawal, though psychosocial strategies can be beneficial during and after. After an adequate amount of time without using opioids, injectable extended-release naltrexone can be used, which is better at lowering the likelihood of using opioids again than no medicine or placebo.5
According to a consensus panel, there are three crucial elements in the detox process:1
“Evaluation”: This involves testing for substances of abuse, checking for co-occurring health problems (physical and psychological), assessing any health problems present, and evaluating the individual’s social circumstances.
“Stabilization”: This includes helping a person to get through any current state of intoxication and withdrawal. Medical and/or psychosocial interventions may be used. Also included is helping individuals become acquainted with their part in their treatment and their recovery as well as with what they should anticipate in the treatment environment.
“Fostering the patient’s entry into treatment”: This component includes, through emphasizing that continuing on with the whole treatment continuum is important, getting an individual ready to enter treatment. Patients with a history of repeatedly detoxing but not participating in substance abuse treatment after might be motivated to do so by signing a treatment contract early, once sufficiently stable.
These elements do not have to happen one at a time in practice.1
There are several factors to consider when determining the appropriate care for detoxification, for example:1
Other elements may also be included in an initial evaluation.1
Quick admission to a detox program may be helpful and possibly lifesaving in some circumstances. Assessing the patient, stabilizing the individual, and promoting treatment entrance for that individual are crucial elements of detox.1 Commonly, if detox is not followed by treatment, there will be a relapse.2 However, one detox goal is to promote treatment entrance and recovery.1