Detox from Heroin and Prescription Drug Addiction

Our St. Louis rehab center offers discreet outpatient detox services that work with your schedule at our St Louis rehab center

What all is involved in heroin or prescription drug addiction detoxification? Whether you are dealing with heroin or prescription drug addiction the process is often the same for drug detox. It is very important to note that there is a distinct difference between medical stabilization of someone with opiate dependence and a complete drug detox from opiates and opioids.

The definition of detoxify is; to remove a harmful substance (as a poison or toxin) or the effect of such from, let’s say the body. Now, this can be argued as to ones beliefs of a partial agonist like buprenorphine (the opiate agonist in Suboxone and Subutex) being a harmful substance and therefore the removal of it, et cetera but for purposes here we will consider drug detox to be the removal of all opiates, opioids, and opiate agonists to include; methadone and buprenorphine (Suboxone and Subutex).

The process of our St. Louis drug detox from prescription drug addiction is theoretically very simple. The body, having an increase in dopamine agonists (i.e. heroin, prescription opiates, buprenorphine, methadone, et cetera) has a physiological adaptation to this in a number of ways. There is an increase in receptor site density at dopamine receptors and other systems and chemicals as the body adapts to the increased dopamine and dopamine agonist levels.

While usage continues the body functions normally, of course we should also consider the tolerance increases and need for higher amounts of these chemicals, from prescription drug addiction,but we will not go into great detail there. When the amount of dopamine and dopamine agonists decrease the body can no longer function normally and there is a compromise of homeostasis in a multitude of systems. Because of the many changes, adaptation back to normal state is a gradual process but the withdrawal symptoms experienced most severely at the beginning can be stabilized. Many places use methadone, Subutex or Suboxone to accomplish this detox process. Suboxone tends to be the most preferred method for drug detox currently because of its added chemical naloxone which limits the threat of abuse, especially for outpatient drug detox.

The duration of this drug detox process depends on the individuals responses to addiction treatment in the outpatient setting but often follows a rigid timeline when done as an inpatient drug detox. There is typically a stabilization period on the partial agonist (Suboxone) used and then a gradual taper until the medication is completely removed from the treatment.

Throughout this drug detox process other medications are often prescribed to treat any symptoms associated with the gradual taper and therefore minor withdrawal symptoms. Ideally this drug detox is done in conjunction with psychiatric care, individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. As each facility may vary in their drug detox protocol it is advisable that you inquire for information specific to the clinic and their drug detox program.

Detoxification alone has not shown to be very effective for long-term increases in quality of life or sobriety. It is advised that an individual with prescription drug addiction combine this drug detox with other therapies for greater effectiveness.

Find out more about Medical Detox by contacting our staff