Withdrawal is the development of physical and psychological symptoms when a physically addicting drug is stopped abruptly in a person who is physically dependent on the drug(s). The symptoms are usually the opposite of the effects of that drug. For example, withdrawal from sedative or anti-anxiety drugs (which are used to induce sleep or relaxation) and alcohol will consist of anxiety, insomnia, increased breathing rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased body temperature. Seizures can occur during withdrawal from these drugs. Withdrawal from stimulants such as “meth” or cocaine results in fatigue, irritability, and depression. Finally, withdrawal symptoms from opioid pain relievers include increased pain, anxiety, sleep disturbance, agitation, muscle cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
Medical treatment begins with a thorough evaluation by our medical staff. Blood will be drawn and analyzed for drug-induced medical complications, such as liver problems, blood count abnormalities, and other potential health issues. Individuals who are experiencing withdrawal need rest, nutrition, and especially fluid replacement.
Medications are used to manage withdrawal in order to minimize symptoms and physical suffering while keeping the client safe. Typically, treatment involves administering enough medication to decrease the symptoms of withdrawal and gradually decreasing the dosages of these medications over the next three to ten days. Some drug withdrawal may last longer if the drugs are those that stay in the system longer, for example, Oxycontin or methadone.
Decisions and protocols for detoxification are made by the medical staff and will be adjusted daily or more frequently depending on the symptoms experienced by the client. Since clients react differently to the process, dose adjustments are individualized based on each client’s experience. Las Vegas Recovery Center (LVRC) provides this level of care in a safe, confidential, clinical environment with around-the-clock supervision by nursing and medical staff. LVRC can accommodate the most complex and difficult cases, including dependence on all types of opioids (narcotic painkillers), sedatives (sleeping pills), anti-anxiety drugs (nerve pills), stimulants (cocaine and methamphetamine), alcohol, and marijuana. Our program offers individualized detoxification protocols that can include a variety of medications, including the short-term use of methadone or buprenorphine (Subutex) for opioid detoxification when indicated. Clients are emotionally supported and their physical symptoms are minimized whenever possible with support of medications, counseling, and continuous nursing care. We are Nevada’s only private treatment facility and are fully licensed by the DEA and equipped for medically managed withdrawal from methadone.
The key to successful detoxification is personalized assessment. This is accomplished by a multidisciplinary clinical treatment team and closely monitored by our expert medical and nursing staff under the supervision of our Medical Director, Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM.