Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
The key to treatment, also called recovery, is stopping the abuse of the drugs or substances.
Agitated or violent people need physical restraint and may need sedating medications in the emergency department until the effects of the drugs wear off. This can be disturbing for the person to experience and for family members to witness. Medical professionals go to great lengths to use as little force and as few medications as possible. It is important to remember that whatever the medical staff does, it is to protect the person.
Very few antidotes are available for drug intoxications. In most cases, the only way to eliminate a drug is for the body to metabolize it
-- in other words, let it run its course. In some acute intoxications, the doctor may administer certain agents to help prevent absorption in the stomach or to help speed metabolism of the drug.
The dose of some agents (for example, benzodiazepines and barbiturates) must be reduced slowly to prevent withdrawal. Withdrawal from some drugs can cause significant problems, and stopping these drugs should only be done under the supervision of an appropriate health care professional. Withdrawal from other agents, such as narcotics,
can be very uncomfortable but generally not harmful, and unpleasant effects can be lessened with prescription medications. These prescriptions must be combined with a specific plan for stopping drug abuse. The use of the prescription medication combined with continued drug abuse may cause life-threatening complications.
People who are acutely intoxicated may need inpatient treatment, hospitalization, for detoxification. Some cities have detoxification (detox) centers for those sobering from drug and alcohol intoxication.
Counseling programs may be suggested. Programs similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, such as those listed through the Web of Addictions, are helpful for some people.