Sub-Acute Medical Detox
At Everlast Recovery Centers, we focus on the journey of recovery. During your treatment stay, you may be prescribed supportive detoxification medication upon recommendation from our medical team. We treat every client as an individual and cater to their specific needs during the detoxification process. We recognize that each of our clients has unique needs, and Everlast ensures every client gets the best chance at long-term recovery and physical health.
In a sub-acute medical detox program, people at low risk for serious co-existing medical conditions can detox in a less intensive setting. People who need acute medical detox might have significant medical conditions or comorbidities and experience more intense withdrawal symptoms.
What is Sub-Acute Medical Detox?
A sub-acute medical detox facility uses supportive medications to control withdrawal symptoms and help the body’s chemistry be substance-free. This use of medications prevents the unpleasant side effects of the detoxification process and helps the body ease into recovery.
There are instances where some people continue to use these supportive medications over longer periods of time if deemed medically necessary by a doctor so that they can maintain their sobriety after detox is complete. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we encourage people to become free of supportive detoxification medications, but we handle every client and treatment plan individually as we maintain our commitment to client health as a top priority.
Where Does Sub-Acute Medical Detox Happen?
People who do not need continuous medical supervision during the detoxification process can admit into a sub-acute medical detox depending on the severity of their addiction and the types of substances that were being abused.
Sub-acute detoxication can take place through a doctor’s office, a licensed outpatient program, or a residential detox facility.
It is common for people to start with a residential detox facility like Everlast Recovery Centers. At Everlast, our residential detox provides close monitoring and 24-hour support throughout the detox process. We also offer therapy and other programs to help our clients throughout the recovery process.
At a doctor’s office or outpatient program, people receive their detoxification medication under medical supervision, but they do not sleep at the facility. In IOP, patients participate in intensive therapy during their detoxification process. However, the support of a residential treatment program offers more clinical support and services throughout detox.
Who Can Participate in Sub-Acute Medical Detox?
When someone has an acute condition, they are in a critical situation and need immediate medical care. When someone has a sub-acute condition, they still need care but do not present as an immediate health danger
People who should not participate in sub-acute medical detox include people with:
- Serious medical conditions
- High risk of severe withdrawals
- Severe or uncontrolled mental health issues
People who can participate in sub-acute medical detox include people who have:
- No presenting serious health problems
- No mental health issues that could become dangerous
- Withdrawals manageable with medication
Going through withdrawal without any support can have life-threatening consequences. Anyone wanting to detox should always seek professional help.
Medications Used In Treatment
The first medication available for sub-acute opiate withdrawal, Subutex (buprenorphine is the generic name), also treats chronic pain. Subutex is a semi-synthetic opioid, meaning that it has some of the same effects as opioids. Only doctors, outpatient clinical programs, and residential detox programs may prescribe it, only if the prescribing physician has a specific license. Subutex is taken orally and is usually a strip of film that dissolves in the mouth because mucous membranes such as the inside of the cheek or under the tongue allow for the absorption of the medication.
Subutex dulls withdrawal symptoms by acting on the same receptors as opioids but does not give the person the same pleasurable feeling. Unlike regular opioids, Subutex acts as a partial agonist, meaning it only partially activates the receptors. The person does not get the same feeling they would get from using opioids because Subutex will not activate the receptors enough. With Subutex activating the receptors, the body feels fewer, less severe withdrawal symptoms.
While Subutex sits on the opioid receptors, other drugs cannot bind to them. If the person relapses and uses the opioid they were addicted to, it will have no effect. This does not prevent people from relapsing but helps them control urges to use.
Side effects of Subutex include:
Suboxone combines buprenorphine, the ingredient in Subutex, with a medication called naloxone. Also known as Narcan, naloxone acts as an antagonist. It binds with opiate receptors but blocks them from working. Combining these two drugs lets buprenorphine do its job of calming withdrawal symptoms, while naloxone helps prevent the potential for abuse. Suboxone has increased in popularity since its release, and many detox programs now use it.
Suboxone comes in pill form as well as a strip that dissolves in the mouth. Even though it is an opiate, it remains a controlled substance and can only be prescribed by IOP’s, doctors, and other licensed programs.
Methadone is an opiate only administered in special clinics. A powerful drug on its own, methadone has the ability to lead to addiction or overdose. Most sub-acute detox programs use alternative, safer medications.
However, methadone may save lives for people who abuse opiates over a long period of time. By itself, methadone does not treat addiction. Methadone requires medical supervision as well as therapeutic support.
Vivitrol is an injection that blocks the effect of opiates in the body. The generic form, naltrexone, comes in pill form. However, this medication has become popular because it is only administered once a month and it is not an opiate and has no potential for building a dependence.
Furthermore, doctors can prescribe it more easily than the other medications because it is not made with any controlled substances. In order to receive the Vivitrol shot, individuals must be sober and have no opioids in their system.
If opioids are still present in the body, the shot will block the receptors, and the person will experience immediate withdrawal, which can be dangerous. Doctors usually use Vivitrol for long-term relapse prevention after the person has completed post-acute detox.
Despite its popularity, the use of Vivitrol can possibly lead to overdose. People who use Vivitrol will not get the usual effect if they relapse on their former drug of choice. As a result, they may use more of the drug to overpower the effect of Vivitrol which may lead to an overdose