What is Detoxification?
Detoxification is the management of withdrawal from a drug of dependence so that the associated risks are minimised. When a dependent person suddenly stops taking a drug, or severely cuts down the amount they normally take, they will experience a withdrawal syndrome.
A withdrawal syndrome is the emergence of characteristic signs and symptoms upon the reduction or cessation of heavy and prolonged use of a drug of dependence. It is a time when the body is attempting to readjust to functioning without the drug.
Signs & symptoms of withdrawal
Generally, signs and symptoms of withdrawal are the opposite of the acute effects of the drug however; in the case of psychostimulant withdrawal (cocaine and amphetamine) some symptoms may mimic those of intoxication (Baker, A. et al 2004 p104).
Definitions of detoxification
?The planned cessation of drug use in someone who is dependent.? (Baker, A. et al 2004 p253))
?Detoxification is synonymous with and more commonly termed withdrawal. Usually it refers to supervised withdrawal for a person who is dependent. It may or may not involve medication? (NCETA 2004 p.277).
The signs, symptoms, severity and duration of withdrawal can be dependant on a number of factors depending on the drug being used.
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Baker, A., Lee, N.K. & Jenner, L. (Eds) (2004).
Models of intervention and care for psychostimulant users, 2nd Edition,
National Drug Strategy Monograph Series No. 51.
Canberra. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) Consortium. (2004), Alcohol and Other Drugs: A Handbook for Health Professionals. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.