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Medical Detox in Alaska
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Medical Detox in Alaska

In Alaska, 14% of the population has an alcohol abuse problem, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Unfortunately, abuse often leads to addiction. Addiction is a type of mental illness brought about by the chemical and physical changes that substance abuse has induced in the brain. Addicts will rarely be able to break their addiction without help. One of the largest hurdles they face in getting better, is surviving withdrawal without relapsing. Medical detox in Alaska can help addicts over this hurdle by masking some withdrawal symptoms, eliminating others, and suppressing the desire to use alcohol or drugs.

Medical detox in Alaska is a general term that refers to using medications to help addicts or alcoholics get through the process of withdrawal. In most cases, the medications provided are only intended to be used in the short term. Medical detox makes the process of ceasing drug or alcohol use much more bearable. It immensely improves an addicts chances of avoiding relapse during this crucial phase.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Withdrawal from alcohol can be dangerous, and should not be attempted without medical consultation. Withdrawing from alcohol can trigger delirium tremens, typified by extreme hallucinations and uncontrollable shaking. This is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated. There is a greater chance of preventing delirium tremens by undergoing medical detox.

Alcohol withdrawal can cause seizures, anxiety, nausea, and confusion. It is one of the most dangerous types of withdrawal.

Programs for Medical Detox in Alaska

In general, detox programs consist of getting people to gradually come off the drugs or substance to which they are addicted, or getting them to quit immediately with medications to suppress the consequent withdrawal. Detox programs may involve offering substitute drugs or tapering people off drugs. These two methods give the body time to adjust, so that withdrawal symptoms are not as severe. The abstinence method does not stop withdrawal from occurring, but it relies on other drugs to suppress the symptoms.

Tapering

By gradually cutting down on the amounts taken daily, people can taper off drugs without triggering withdrawal. It is difficult to manage this alone, and residential treatment is best. It provides constant supervision, and precise management of daily dosages. If there are any indications of withdrawal, the dosage can be temporarily increased again.

Substitution

Tapering is not an option when people are addicted to illegal drugs, such as heroin. Instead, these people are given alternative, legal opioids. The objective is that addicts can later taper off the substitute drugs. Substitute drugs are also addictive, but they do not deliver a high like heroin does, and therefore they are easier to quit.

Total abstinence

Most treatments for alcohol addiction require the alcoholics to stop drinking immediately, but they may be given drugs to suppress alcohol withdrawal. People will experience intense cravings for the substance during the withdrawal process, and medical detox tackles this problem by dispensing medications to reduce the intensity of cravings

Medications used in withdrawal

Someone being tapered off prescription drugs will continue to receive those drugs in decreasing dosages. Suboxone and methadone are two widely used substitute opioids. Drugs such as Valium, Ativan, or Xanax may be given to people who are abstaining the urge to drink. People may also receive medications such as disulfram, bupropion, or naltrexone to suppress cravings, while drugs like Neurontin prevent seizures.

There are many other types of discomfort that can be treated with various medications. If patients are feeling nauseous, there are often drugs available to alleviate this, in addition to medications for headaches, fever, and elevated blood pressure. Patients may also receive electrolyte solutions to prevent dehydration.

Residential treatment

Because of the potential problems associated with alcohol or drug withdrawal, it is best for people to opt for residential detox programs available throughout Alaska. These programs greatly reduce the risk of mentally and physically damaging outcomes. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, reach out to an addiction specialist to learn more about medical detox in Alaska.