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Medical Detox


What is Medical Detox?

Once the body has become dependent on a substance, removing the substance can result in physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. When patients have access to medical detoxification, they have a safe place to withdraw from alcohol or drugs with needed medical supervision. Sometimes, medication is part of the process to relieve certain symptoms tied to detox, making it safer and easier than if you tried to detox on your own.

Symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal can include:

  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Shaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Depression
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Insomnia

Medical detox may not be able to help you avoid the symptoms of withdrawal, but it can diminish their severity, allowing you to detox in a more comfortable environment.

The medical professionals at Hannah’s House understand that the mind-body connection is an essential part of enhancing a woman’s chances for recovery. Exceptional medical services for women combined with sophisticated, compassionate, clinical care ensure the best possible outcome for our patients. Our multidisciplinary team works diligently to target any existing health barriers to lifelong wellness.

Our South Texas facility was one of the first to be certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), and we remain one of only a few organizations with ASAM level 3.7 accreditation.

Drug and Alcohol Use and the Body

Mental and physical health are deeply intertwined. Drug and alcohol use profoundly affects a woman’s body, and oftentimes their thresholds for alcohol and drugs are different than that of a man. Effective treatment plans must take each woman’s individual health challenges into account. Our team brings medical history to the forefront as we tailor our specific recommendations based on comprehensive assessments and evaluations.

Key Components of Comprehensive Medical Services at Hannah’s House

  • Thorough physical evaluations
  • Top-tier care for populations that other facilities cannot support
  • A licensed medical team with years of addiction medicine experience
  • Psychiatric practitioners who understand the challenges women face
  • Medication management
  • Education about long-term health and self-care
  • Treatment of chronic pain with non-narcotic medications and therapies
  • Personalized continuing care plans that include medical recommendations

State-of-the-Art Medical Detox

For many of our patients, medical detox is a critical first step in recovery. Over the course of active substance use, the body learns to rely on drugs or alcohol to produce certain neurotransmitters and hormones, leading to chemical imbalance. According to studies reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women who use drugs may experience more physical effects on their cardiovascular system.

Women may also have more drug cravings and be more prone to relapse. Without drugs or alcohol, the body becomes physically unstable, which can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms that require skilled medical care.

Detox is the process during which a patient moves through withdrawal toward normalized, healthy brain and body function. Brain changes in women who use drugs can differ from the changes noted in men.

Medical detox at Hannah’s House is overseen by a licensed medical team who provide compassionate oversight as all traces of alcohol or drugs leave the body. We help each woman in our care be as comfortable as possible while protecting her from health complications during withdrawal.

The professionals at Hannah’s House utilize safe medications, careful nutritional planning, and alternative interventions to keep symptoms under control. Our 24/7 nursing team provides round-the-clock monitoring.

Common conditions that we treat include:

  • Neurological problems
  • Malnutrition
  • Liver disease, including hepatitis and cirrhosis
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • HIV/AIDS related to intravenous drug use
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Bladder disorders

Services Provided

The superior medical care offered at Hannah’s House contributes to our reputation as a trailblazer in the treatment of the disease of addiction. We offer medically-managed detox as well as ongoing medical care for co-morbid physical conditions, including those unique to women.

Our on-staff medical team of nurses, medical practitioners and psychiatric practitioners—with direct oversight provided by our Chief Medical Director and Chief of Psychiatric Services—provide the highest quality of care.

Women experience a much different set of difficulties through their addiction, meaning women need detoxing and treatment unique to their lifestyle and recovery needs.

Integrated Treatment with Caring Providers

Co-occurring medical conditions must be treated at the same time as the patient’s substance use, and this treatment needs to be delivered in the same place and with the same treatment team. The multidisciplinary providers of Hannah’s House include skilled nurses, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, and other medical doctors, all of whom have extensive experience treating substance use disorders.

To ensure each patient’s well-being and safety, dedicated professionals keep a close eye on patients as they move through medical detox and residential treatment. They are ready to respond with new services, as needed. Every plan for trauma-informed continuing care also includes recommendations for ongoing medical treatment, with a focus on self-care practices.

Responsible Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Addiction

Overall wellness and health are our goals for every patient. Opioid addiction is a disease that affects the body, mind, and spirit. Women with opioid use disorders often struggle to make it past the early days of recovery. Medical research indicates that many people with opioid addiction benefit from some form of recovery-oriented medication during the journey to wellness.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) may increase patient retention and decrease the rate of relapse. At Hannah’s House, we offer two types of MAT for women with opioid dependence.

How long does medical detox take?

The length of medical detoxification differs from person to person. The presence of any co-occurring disorders, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms, how long you have been addicted, how recently you used drugs or alcohol, and the type of substance used all determine how long medical detox will take. 

Benefits of Medical Detox

Benefits of a medical detox include:

  • Improving your physical and mental health
  • Receiving medical care and support 24/7
  • Recovering from addiction away from access to drugs and alcohol
  • Recovering without needing to juggle work, school, and other responsibilities 
  • Access to medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms
  • Reducing your risk for relapse, overdose, and death

Suboxone for Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

Over a decade ago, the FDA approved the use of an opioid-naloxone combination (buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone) for the treatment of opioid use disorders in the United States. Suboxone can suppress a person’s desire for opioids by providing a partial block on the brain’s opioid receptors. It also partially stimulates the receptors and helps relieve the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can lead to relapse. This medication is offered to all our opioid-addicted patients during the medical detox and withdrawal process.


Vivitrol for Recovery Support

Vivitrol is an extended-release, non-narcotic version of the daily oral medication naltrexone. Administered via a monthly injection, Vivitrol is an opiate blocker that prevents the drug from connecting with receptors in the brain. Vivitrol combats the obsession to use opioids and decreases the potential for a person to experience an opioid high if they do relapse. When used in tandem with other clinical and spiritual therapies, this medication can be an effective, non-addictive medical support during the stages of early recovery.