Since 1984, Cornerstone has been helping people all over Southern California start their sobriety by coping with withdrawal symptoms and detoxing the body of addictive drugs.
What is Withdrawal? Detox? Why is it an important part of addiction treatment?
Withdrawal and detox can be used interchangeably. They both describe dealing with clearing your body of toxins that have formed psychological and/or physiological drug abuse and dependency. Basically, it’s a set of interventions aimed at managing acute drug or alcohol intoxication and withdrawal.
Detoxification in a controlled, supervised environment minimizes the physical harm caused by suddenly cutting your body off from those substances and may prevent life-threatening complications.
The detox process at Cornerstone involves round the clock medical support and nursing supervision. Our trained addiction detox team is available to help anyone suffering from an alcohol or drug dependency. Our addiction specialists provide comfort and care, gently guiding patients through the personal process of detox.
We are accepted by most insurance companies and offer a healing and peaceful setting with 24/7 care. For many clients, a detox is just the beginning; Cornerstone also provides treatment after detox with residential treatment as one option. Detox can be difficult if not impossible — and even dangerous — when dealt with alone or without experienced medical professional supervision. Our experience has shown us that the provision of medical detox alongside compassionate and emotional support can be the foundation of a life free of drugs and alcohol.
What is a medical detox?
The withdrawal symptoms from most drugs can be horrific. The symptoms can be so bad that they cause a number of drug and alcohol dependent people to relapse. Without a medical detox the dangers of withdrawal from certain substances can be life threatening. A medical detox can safely manage the symptoms and dangers that arise during the initial stages of withdrawal.
A medical detox may include medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. The initial stages of detox can be dangerous, and this is when medical care and support are so important for your or the addict’s safety. Our initial evaluation will determine which medications may be needed.
Detox alone is rarely enough to gain permanent sobriety, and additional therapy is required to discover and address the underlying causes of addiction.
In recent years at Cornerstone, we have seen an increase in prescription opiate use. Like heroin, this addiction is best treated under the supervision of a medical detox. The withdrawal symptoms associated with opiates are very unpleasant and even dangerous. We can lessen the symptoms as they occur, and we will often use a substitute medication such as methadone or Suboxone.
Stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamines when stopped can cause extreme mood imbalance alongside exhaustion and general low moods, so a supervised medical detox is extremely important.
What is the addiction detox process?
Detox from alcohol or drugs starts with an evaluation by our physicians who are trained in addiction medicine. Detoxification of people with mild withdrawal symptoms from drugs like cocaine, marijuana, opioids, or methamphetamine is a process that does not generally need to be done in a hospital setting.
However, habitual behavior takes time to reverse and after the physical withdrawals decrease, the brain still needs reprogramming. Cravings often center in the mind and can be expected regardless of physical addiction to the substance. Cleansing the body of addictive drugs is only the first of many steps addicts take on the road to recovery.
At Cornerstone, the detox process has three main components: evaluation, stabilization, and education.
Detox Phase 1: Evaluation
Every initial assessment requires a physical and psychological screening. This phase will determine your treatment plan, dealing initially with the detox process and then looking toward a future free of drugs and alcohol. Very likely your medical detox team will recommend further treatment post detox.
Detox Phase 2: Stabilization
During this phase of detox, you reach a substance-free state. Every client at Cornerstone receives tailored individual care based on many factors, including the substance used, length of time used, age, your overall health, and a number of other factors. Physicians and support staff will talk with you about your future in recovery and the next stage of treatment. Your family members and significant other will be invited to engage in the process with guidance from our clinical team.
Detox Phase 3: Education
This stage involves preparing you for the next stages of treatment, and setting you up for successfully completing all stages of the process. Detox alone is not enough. The care and compassion you get during the detox stage helps to nurture a trust between you and our team. That trust, alongside our vast experience, has been the cornerstone for many on their new path of sustainable, long-term recovery.
At this point, you will discuss your options with the clinical team. This would include recommendations for continued rehabilitation in our residential or outpatient programs or our extended care.
What types of detox are available at Cornerstone?
At Cornerstone we regularly detox people from:
- Alcohol – any dependence on EtOH, including alcohol and beer
- Prescription Opioids – hydrocodone (Vicodin®), oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®), oxymorphone (Opana®),morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®), codeine, fentanyl, and other narcotics
- Heroin – opioids that are not prescribed, including opium and other narcotics
- Sedative-Hypnotics – Barbiturates, benzodiazepines, Xanax, Valium, Librium, Sonata, Lunesta, Ativan and Serax
- Stimulants – Adderall, Ritalin, PCP, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and other drugs
- Cocaine & Crack – any cocaine related dependencies including crack cocaine
- Cannabis – THC or marijuana, regardless of how it’s ingested
- MDMA / Molly – also known as ecstasy, a common club drug
- Synthetic Drugs – any drug developed that doesn’t fit into these exact categories, also known as Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS)
What are common withdrawal symptoms from detox?
Physical and mental withdrawal symptoms can vary greatly between drug use and an individual’s mental state. However, anxiety, general feelings of unease, and seemingly insatiable urges are typical as an addict is transitioning to sober living. Regardless of the drug or mental state, coping with withdrawal and the subsequent drug detoxification are a critical and difficult time.
Symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain and twitching
- Sweating, cold sweats
Severe withdrawal risks include seizures, heart attacks or stroke, hallucinations and delirium tremens (DTs).
How long do withdrawal symptoms and detox last?
There is no definitive answer because different drugs have different effects on individuals, and the amount and length of drug use can contribute to how long withdrawal symptoms will last or how long detox will take. While some drugs may be more physically addictive than other drugs, mentally preparing to reprogram the brain can be equally as difficult and important.
Are there anti-craving medications available after detox?
The Cornerstone clinical team will explain recommendations for any of the newer anti-craving medications now prescribed by addiction medicine physicians. If you have had trouble staying off drugs in the past, there are new medication options available to help with craving.
Suboxone is a relatively new medication used by licensed physicians to treat opiate dependence (oxycodone, heroin and Vicodin). This medication effectively reduces the symptoms of withdrawal from opiates and at the same time decreases the patient’s cravings significantly. Suboxone, when prescribed by a qualified physician in the correct dosage can greatly increase the likelihood of a patient staying in treatment and ultimately freeing them from their addiction and cravings.
Campral is a tablet used for the maintenance of abstinence from alcohol in individuals with alcohol dependence. Campral helps reduce the physical and emotional craving many people feel in the weeks and months after they have stopped drinking. Campral has demonstrated success in helping clients maintain long-term sobriety.
Antabuse is used to assist a chronic alcoholic; it acts as a deterrent, creating an unpleasant physical response to drinking alcohol.
Naltrexone is a safe, effective oral medication used as part of a comprehensive alcohol and opiate abuse treatment program as an aid in maintaining sobriety. While effective, it must always be remembered that naltrexone is a tool to assist in the process of alcohol and opiate recovery, and is not a cure in and of itself. Naltrexone is also an opiate blocker that prevents opiate addicts from getting high and reduces cravings for alcohol in the alcoholic.
Vivitrol is a medication approved for the prevention of relapse in opioid dependence following opioid detoxification. Administered as a once-monthly intramuscular injection by a healthcare professional, Vivitrol is a non-addictive, non-scheduled opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids. In conjunction with a comprehensive management program that includes psychosocial support, Vivitrol is approved for the following:
- Treatment of alcohol dependence in patients who can abstain from alcohol in an outpatient setting prior to the beginning of treatment
- Prevention of opioid relapse following opioid detoxification in dependent patients, including those being treated for alcohol dependence as well
The patient must be opioid-free at the time of initial Vivitrol administration.
Why choose Cornerstone for dealing with withdrawal and detox?
Cornerstone was founded by Dr. Michael Stone in 1984 here in Southern California when he saw how the hospital system and insurance companies were failing patients with addictions. What started as a small venture built off of a doctor’s passion for helping patients has since turned into the best, most ethical, family owned and operated addiction treatment system.
Cornerstone has 16 fully licensed and certified recovery homes in the Orange County area. So no matter where you are in Southern California, you can find a treatment facility close to home.
Dr. Stone alone has treated over 80,000 addicts since he started his work in 1969 and has assembled an expert team across all Cornerstone locations that understand addiction and how to treat it. Our special team of contracted and consulting doctors can assist with the many issues that are unique to each individual. If you require a referral, you can work with an addiction specialist that we know and trust. Detoxification here is:
- Accepted by most insurance
- Offered as a separate entity or before another level of care
- In a comfortable, healing and home-like atmosphere
- Safe. We have staff including 24-hour nurses, and our contracted addiction medicine physicians are on call 24/7 and on-site in our detox program every day.
- Offered as a service to other treatment facilities
If you have suffered through a painful detox in the past and for whatever reason are in need of detox again, please come see us, we can help. We have experience with addiction and detox since 1984. We also have extensive experience with pain management. We understand you have real pain and need help. We can offer that help!