With Caron's expert medical care, patients are able to undergo a safe, comfortable withdrawal process when appropriate.
At a Glance
Caron Pennsylvania’s expert full-time medical staff
directs detox care at our on-site state-of-the-art medical center.
At Caron Renaissance and Ocean Drive, a clinical team
closely tracks the progress of patients in detox at a partnering detox center and coordinates their transition to begin treatment.
Detox Treatment for Drugs and Alcohol Addiction
What is Alcohol and Drug Detox?
Detox refers to the process of metabolizing drugs and alcohol in a person's system to neutralize their toxic effects. The medical term for detox is “withdrawal management,” because when the process is managed correctly, detox helps patients maintain physical comfort as they safely withdraw from the effects of drugs and alcohol. It is important for detox to be medically supervised at a detox addiction treatment center or in a drug detoxification program, where doctors are on-site to provide supervision, observations and support to manage symptoms, stabilize the patient’s health, and keep patients safe from the harmful physical complications of intoxication and withdrawal.
Withdrawal and Detox Side Effects
Regardless of whether a person is entering inpatient alcohol treatment, inpatient drug treatment, or some type of outpatient drug or alcohol rehab, safely managing the withdrawal effects of detox is often a critical component of treatment and care. The side effects of detox can vary depending on the type of drug or drugs a person has in their system, how long they’ve been using, the state of their general overall health, and the like. Detox symptoms and effects vary, so the process looks different for each person. Here are some general expectations for detox side effects.
Alcohol Withdrawal Side Effects
Alcohol withdrawal is the most dangerous for people to undergo because physically detoxing from alcohol can be fatal. It can also cause grand mal seizures, strokes, and heart attacks in some people. Because of these risks, alcohol detox should always occur in a medically supervised setting where close monitoring is possible. Other side effects of alcohol detox include hallucinations, Delirium Tremens (the DTs), anxiety, nausea, insomnia, increased body temperature, heart palpitations, abdominal pain, and more. These symptoms of withdrawal, and others, can be properly managed with medical supervision in an alcohol detox center or hospital.
What is alcohol detox?
Alcohol detox happens when someone who has been using alcohol regularly stops drinking suddenly. It is the process by which the body rids itself of toxins from alcohol use and can be uncomfortable or even dangerous for someone who has alcohol dependence or who drinks heavily.
What are the symptoms of detoxing from alcohol?
Detoxing from alcohol includes a wide set of symptoms that can be dangerous to the person experiencing them. They include anxiety, headaches, nausea, seizures, irritability, sweating, loss of appetite, restlessness, aggression, nervousness, rapid heart rate, confusion, and more. In extreme cases, detoxing from alcohol can cause death. Alcohol users who have been drinking heavily for a long time should only detox under medical supervision.
Opioid Withdrawal Side Effects
Opioids include opiates like morphine, heroin, and codeine, as well as synthetic opioids like oxycodone or hydrocodone. They are a class of drugs used to manage pain. Once a person has become dependent on opioids, the withdrawal will happen with cessation. Opioid detox side effects can vary greatly from person to person depending on the type of opioid used and the duration of dependence. In general, though, opioid detox side effects can be broken down into two stages:
Early-stage opioid withdrawal side effects
Usually within 24 hours of a person’s last opioid use — and often as soon as 12 hours post-use — the following side effects appear: intense cravings for the drug, anxiety, aggression, anger, delusions, restless legs, and sweating.
Later stage opioid withdrawal side effects
After 24 hours post-use, the following side effects are common: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, high blood pressure, racing heartbeat, blurry vision, and dilated pupils.
Comfort medication is commonly used in opioid drug detoxification and opioid addiction rehab programs as the experience after the first 24 hours can be incredibly unpleasant.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Side Effects
Detoxing from benzodiazepines, like alcohol detox, can be dangerous and should only be done under medical supervision. Because different benzodiazepines have different half-lives, side effect symptoms and timelines can vary, but in general benzodiazepine detox side effects include: irritability, weight loss, sour stomach, heart palpitations, tremors, anxiety, and insomnia. Benzodiazepine physical withdrawal can take months to complete, so choosing a drug detoxification program and treatment program can greatly reduce discomfort and relapse.
Cocaine, Meth, and Other Stimulants Withdrawal Side Effects
Side effects from a stimulant like cocaine, crack cocaine, or methamphetamines usually start within 36 hours of stopping the drug and can continue for a few weeks or even months. Withdrawing from cocaine abuse and other forms of stimulant abuse is uncomfortable, and the symptoms are difficult to manage. Comfort medication is often used in cocaine and methamphetamine treatment. Stimulant detox side effects can be broken down into three stages:
Early Stage (a.k.a. Crashing)
Intense drug cravings, increased appetite, anxiety, anger and aggression, agitation, delusions, fatigue, etc.
Inability to focus, fatigue, confusion, insomnia, depression, memory loss, cravings, etc.
Intense sleepiness, extreme appetite, mood swings, bad dreams, etc.
Inpatient Detox for Withdrawal Symptoms — On-Site at Caron Pennsylvania
The treatment process at Caron Pennsylvania begins with a comprehensive assessment, which includes blood and urine screenings, medical history, psychological assessments, and other testing as applicable. The results of the assessment determine whether a patient would benefit from medical detox (as well as the use of supplemental medication like those used to control cravings).
Caron’s interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, and other skilled clinicians (most of whom are double/ multiple board certified) oversees the detox process at a well-equipped on-campus medical center. They continuously evaluate each patient’s withdrawal symptoms and their physical and emotional health, prescribing withdrawal medications as clinically indicated so that patients stay comfortable.
Patients who have co-occurring disorders that require immediate attention receive treatment from Caron’s on-site medical staff when possible. If more specialized care is needed, the patient may be referred to outside providers who have experience working with patients with substance use disorder.
Alcohol and Drug Detox at Caron Renaissance and Caron Ocean Drive in Florida
Patients of Caron Renaissance and Caron Ocean Drive who require detox are referred to a partnering drug and/or alcohol detox center. To ensure continuity and quality of care, Caron’s expert clinical team—with physicians that have extensive experience in addiction medicine—tracks patients’ progress and determines their readiness for working one of our outpatient or inpatient drug treatment programs, including medication-assisted treatment programs.
Each day, Caron’s clinical team reviews the patient’s chart and meets with the medical staff and patient. Our team receives daily reports on symptoms, medications (as necessary), and progress. Through daily teleconferences with patients, we are accessible to answer questions and remedy concerns as needed. Caron’s clinical team consults with the detox center staff to ensure patients receive the care they need, including treatment for co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety, or bi-polar disorder.
Use of Anti-Craving Medications
Recent research indicates that a medication-assisted treatment program that utilizes anti-craving medication can form a more holistic approach to treatment. For those patients who need it, anti-craving medication typically works by:
- Reducing the feelings of craving drugs.
- Reducing pleasure induced by drugs.
- Causing severe physical reactions, making the consumption of drugs a negative experience.
Caron uses all psychiatric medications conservatively, including anti-craving drugs. Medical staff and addiction specialists work together to make a careful diagnosis, ensuring that all prescriptions are medically justified.
What detox medications do we use?
Inpatient detox at Caron begins with a comprehensive assessment. The results of the assessment determine whether a patient would benefit from medical detox, as well as the use of supplemental medication like those used to control cravings.
At a Glance
- Caron Pennsylvania’s expert full-time medical staff directs detox care at our on-site state-of-the-art medical center, the Caron and Ray Neag Medical Center, which is well equipped to meet the complex medical and emotional needs of every patient.
- At Caron Renaissance and Ocean Drive, a clinical team closely tracks the progress of patients in detox at a partnering detox center and coordinates their transition to begin treatment.
On-Site Medical Center
Caron Pennsylvania's state-of-the-art Carole and Ray Neag Medical Center is well equipped to meet the complex medical and emotional needs of every patient who walks through our doors. The staff of expert clinicians (most of whom are double-board certified) provides 24-hour care and supervision. From detox and chronic pain to diabetes and heart disease, we are proficient in treating the most complicated cases.
Our team of professionals understands each and every complexity of substance use disorder.