The Role of Emergency Rooms and Withdrawal
Emergency rooms are equipped to handle a lot, but there are better places to deal with drug and alcohol withdrawal. If you go to an emergency room for withdrawal symptoms instead of a drug detox center, you are taking up the space needed for others.
A few of the issues surrounding the role of emergency rooms and withdrawal include:
- Withdrawal in an emergency room
- Choosing treatment to help manage withdrawal
- Detox and Addiction Recovery Treatment
It’s probably well-known that emergency rooms are equipped to handle patients going through withdrawal symptoms. While their capabilities and capacities vary from location to location, it’s comforting to know that more and more emergency rooms have obtained the equipment and provided the training necessary to handle drug-related crises. But hospitals don’t provide addiction treatment programs with different levels of care to prevent relapse.
Withdrawal in an Emergency Room
As we all know, withdrawal symptoms from drugs like opiates and sedatives can be life-threatening. Sedatives, in particular, are drugs in certain classes, which include alcohol and benzodiazepines (ex. Valium and Xanax).
In some cases, withdrawal can cause seizures or put a patient into a coma. Other drugs that can be especially lethal include opiates such as morphine or heroin, and prescription drugs such as hydrocodone (Lortab), oxycodone (Percocet, or OxyContin) or hydromorphones, including drugs such as Dilaudid or Palladone.
While withdrawal from opiates is rarely fatal, withdrawal from opiates is especially miserable. Some of the more uncomfortable symptoms might resemble a very acute case of the flu. Left untreated, extreme dehydration can result, leading to further danger. In severe cases, opiate withdrawal can result in strokes, seizures, or cardiac issues that might lead to permanent heart damage.
Hospital emergency rooms are prepared to handle these crises, but that doesn’t make withdrawal any less risky. While doctors have access to medications to counteract withdrawal symptoms, the key is to get the patient to a doctor as soon as possible – and many suffering from drug withdrawal symptoms trying to recover often delay seeking medical treatment. A better choice would be a partial hospitalization program (PHP). There, a person can be medically monitored and treated throughout withdrawal.
Choosing Treatment To Help Manage Withdrawal
The operative word in “emergency room” is an “emergency.” If someone suffering from addiction reaches a point where they need an emergency room, then they’ve reached a critical tipping point. A trip to an emergency room due to withdrawal symptoms means that the patient is now totally dependent on a drug. It’s time for professional help. to the point that quitting has resulted in a potentially life-threatening situation.
Many of the prescription opioid pain medications and benzodiazepines are highly addictive, and they can easily lead to physical dependence. A person who has become dependent as a result of taking prescriptions should not feel shame about their problem. Instead, they should immediately seek help from a detox and addiction treatment center. It may seem obvious, but seeking medical treatment before one finds themselves in an emergency room for withdrawal is a far better alternative. The role of emergency rooms and withdrawal has been studied because too many people use the emergency room as a crutch – a fail-safe, if you will – a mindset that can be lethal.
It’s important to remember that despite a doctor’s best care and even with state-of-the-art equipment, sudden withdrawal can still result in permanent damage.
When you enter an addiction treatment center for detox and rehab, they are better equipped to keep you comfortable during your detox phase. Medically-supervised rehabs are equipped with medication management options. Patients are carefully monitored during the process. They are given supplements and hydration to help ensure a safe transition to the first portion of your recovery journey. After detox, it’s virtually mandatory that you seek continuing treatment in an intensive outpatient or outpatient program. From there, your final step should be a sober living facility. From start to finish, this journey can take 6 months to a year.
Treatment programs range from:
- Drug and alcohol detox
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Men’s rehab
- Women’s rehab
- Dual diagnosis treatment program
Patients who balk at the length of recovery would be well advised to remember that it took years for them to become addicted – they’re not going to be fully recovered after 4-6 weeks in a detox program.
Detox and Addiction Recovery Help
If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, do not wait to seek treatment until you need a trip to the emergency room because of painful withdrawal symptoms. Professional detox or rehab treatment is a phone call away – in fact, it’s usually covered by insurance.
Detox is the first step to becoming sober. After that, the journey continues with learning how to cope with the triggers that drove you to abuse substances. the final portion of your journey will allow you to transition to a sober living mindset that will help keep you sober for the rest of your life.
If you need help finding treatment, call [Direct] to talk to one of our admissions coordinators. Contact Renaissance Recovery for help finding a program right for you, even if it’s not at one of our facilities.