If you have an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or both, it can be hard to know when you should go through medically-assisted detox. While it’s true that anyone with an active addiction may need some form of detoxification, you also don’t want to go through this process unnecessarily or prematurely because there are risks involved in the procedure. 

Medically-assisted detox is a process where addicts are taken off of their drug or alcohol dependency under a doctor’s supervision and given medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms. Medically assisted detox is also known as detoxification or detox. 

The decision to pursue medically-assisted detox is a big step, and it’s not one to be taken lightly. Often, the first sign that you may need this type of therapy occurs when your life starts to spiral out of control due to your drug or alcohol use. However, there are other signs that can indicate that you need help with detoxing, too. 

If you aren’t sure when a medically-assisted detox is needed and when it isn’t, look at these 7 signs that will help you better understand when the time has come for medically-assisted detox to begin and your recovery journey to begin with it!

Physical Signs

If you experience any of the physical side effects, your body is telling you that something may be wrong and it might be time for some medical attention, such as drug detox or other treatment options. 

Possible signs include: 

  • Respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths per minute 
  • Slowed heart rate below 60 beats per minute 
  • Pale skin, increased heart rate, irregular pulse 
  • Low blood pressure (less than 90/60) 
  • Sweating excessively even with minimal exertion 
  • Fever or hypothermia 
  • Heavy sedation 
  • Aggression or hostility toward others
  • Memory loss from the use of drugs 
  • Intense cravings for drugs 

Behavior Changes

If someone is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, they may have a drug addiction and could benefit from getting professional medical assistance: 

  • Drug use that’s increasing in amount or frequency 
  • Severe cravings for drugs 
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, sweating, chills, and tremors 
  • Risky behavior such as stealing from family members or going into debt to buy drugs 
  • Neglecting basic needs like bathing or eating 
  • Continuing their drug use despite knowing the harm it’s causing their physical and mental health 
  • Using more than one substance at a time 
  • Breaking the law because of drugs (i.e., theft, selling drugs) 
  • Sudden changes in weight and appearance due to being high on drugs 
  • Denying problems related to drug use

Emotional Changes

Emotional changes are a common symptom of withdrawal, so it can be difficult to assess whether they are related to drug addiction or not. Some people may experience changes in their emotions, behavior, and thinking patterns when they stop using drugs. 

This can make it difficult for someone who is recovering from addiction to distinguish between feelings that are caused by the addiction and those that are caused by other factors in their life. 

Here are some common emotional changes:

  • Irritability 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Unpredictable mood swings 
  • Irrational fears 
  • Inability to cope with stressors 
  • Self-loathing 
  • Intense cravings to use drugs

Cognitive Functioning Changes

Physically, your body can experience a decreased ability to think and make decisions quickly, as well as an increase in mental confusion. 

Your brain may also be slow to respond or process information in the same way it did before addiction. Additionally, you may experience trouble understanding instructions or remembering things that happened recently. 

All of this is due to the changes in your brain’s chemistry and structure caused by drug abuse and addiction. These symptoms will last until they are properly treated with medication such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone.

Identifying New Addictions

Many people may not recognize the signs of addiction. One way to know for sure is to ask yourself: Do I depend on this substance or behavior for pleasure, comfort, or a sense of control? 

If your answer is yes and it interferes with your life in a significant way (work, school, relationships), it may be time to get help.

If you’re still not convinced that a medical detox might be necessary, here are some other possible indicators: 

  • You’re using more than intended 
  • You’ve been using it for longer than planned 
  • You can’t stop without experiencing withdrawal symptoms 
  • Your drug use has caused problems at home or work 
  • You have negative feelings about what you’re doing

If You Think You Need a Medically-Assisted Detox, Get It Touch Now!

It’s never too late to get the care and support you deserve for your addiction, but the earlier the better. 

Detoxing at home can be dangerous because it’s difficult to know when an addict should start taking certain medications, when they should stop, and what they should take in place of the drugs or alcohol they’re trying to quit abusing. 

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at info@innovodetox.com. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.