August 24, 2018

Medically-Assisted Detox with an Onsite Addictionologist

What is Medicated-Assisted Detox?

Medicated-Assisted Detox is the use of medications under supervision of an addictionologist to help treat the symptoms of detoxification from substance use disorders including opioids, alcohol abuse and more. Detoxification is often the most uncomfortable and most feared process of recovery. Cliffside Malibu takes great care in ensuring that this process is as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

Detoxing is one of the very first steps in the recovery process. Once the body has become dependent on a substance for a long period of time, their brain can become chemically altered to require the substance. When the substance is no longer supplied, such as in beginning treatment, withdrawal symptoms begin immediately and are often highly uncomfortable.

Research shows that addiction treatment medications can provide very effective treatment for some patients, especially while in the detox process. These medications work by reducing the effects of certain drugs, opioids and alcohol. They can block certain receptors, or give a low dose of the substance (which eventually tapers off) to help with the physical symptoms of detox. It can also help curb cravings, which is often an annoying distraction and could eventually lead to relapse. This is why medicated-assisted detox helps make for a more comfortable detoxification process, so that the patient can then focus on beginning therapy and work on their sobriety.

The physical symptoms of detoxification can include:

  • Sweating
  • Flushing
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches or pains

There are many different medications used to treat opioids, alcohol and their withdrawal symptoms. These medications can include:

  • Suboxone
  • Probuphine
  • Naloxone
  • Disulfiram

What is an addictionologist?

An addictionologist is defined as a specialist in the diagnosis, study, and treatment of psychological dependence. They are addiction medicine physicians and addiction psychiatrists who hold either board certification in addiction medicine from:

  • The American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM)
  • Subspecialty board certification in addiction psychiatry from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN)
  • Board certification in addiction medicine from the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM)
  • Or a Certificate of Added Qualification in Addiction Medicine conferred by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)

Some of their job skills include:

  • Examination
  • Prevention
  • Screening
  • Intervention
  • Treatment

If a patient stops drinking alcohol or taking prescription painkillers cold-turkey, this could potentially pose some serious health risks. Addiction specialists are specifically trained to recognize and treat the psychiatric and physical complications of addiction. Complications can be severe, and they may even lead to coma or death. This is why addictionologists may include the use of other medications in order to curb cravings and provide relief during periods of extreme discomfort. Detoxing alone can be dangerous not only because of these complications, but also because it can quickly lead to relapse due to the severity of the symptoms and cravings. People usually “give up” during this period and give into their cravings and discomfort, so it is important to find a treatment center with these resources to help you through it.

About Dr. Craig Smith

Cliffside Malibu is proud to employ our own on-site board certified addictionologist, who helps guide every patient through the detox process by ensuring that it is as safe and as comfortable as possible.

Dr. Craig Smith has been with Cliffside Malibu since 2016, with previous positions being held in both private practice and other treatment centers similar to Cliffside Malibu. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from University of California at Riverside, and went on to receive his Doctor of Medicine in 1986 from University of California at Los Angeles. Dr. Smith is a licensed California Physician and Surgeon and holds certifications in the Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, the American Board of Surgery and the National Board of Medical Examiners. He also has over 45 pieces of published peer-review work.

Dr. Smith is not only an addictionologist and the Medical Director of Cliffside, he also heads up the detoxification program. He believes that it is most important to treat each patient individually, and develop a comprehensive treatment program for each and every person. This is because everyone has very different needs, backgrounds, medical needs and addiction can look and react different for everyone.

“What level of care provided to each individual is determined by six dimensions of addiction, factors that include the patient’s history of treatment and whether an intolerance to drugs or alcohol has developed. Ultimately, we look at whether withdrawal poses any severe health danger,” says Smith.

About Cliffside Malibu

Upon entering Cliffside Malibu, each patient is carefully assessed and a custom treatment plan is created for not only their detox needs, but for their treatment for long-lasting recovery as well. Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com

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