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Problems With Preloading

by James Heller 7. July 2009 13:24
Patients entering drug or alcohol detox at Tarzana Treatment Centers may be interested in knowing what they can do to minimize withdrawal symptoms.  The mindset of alcoholics and addicts can lead them to engage in behaviors that they think make sense, but in actuality result in delaying their admission and make the detox process more difficult for them.  

One of the most problematic behaviors is known as “preloading.”  This is the act of taking large doses of a drug on the date of admission.  Some believe it will help them to make a smooth transition from their drug of choice into the tapering process.  Others simply want to enjoy one last farewell with an old “friend”.  Regardless of the reason, preloading delays admission or complicates the process of medical detoxification.

The problem with preloading is that it delays the onset of withdrawal symptoms, and in order to begin the detoxification process, an individual must show medical signs of early withdrawal before detoxification medications can be administered. In almost all cases, admissions staff can tell if incoming patients are intoxicated from taking a large dose of their drug of choice.  This delays admission to detox for at least several hours.  They may even be asked to return for admission at a later date until they display symptoms of early withdrawal.

Another problem is when people only mention taking one substance when they actually use others and have preloaded with them.  For instance, prescription opiate addicts may also take benzodiazepines such as Valium or Xanax, but do not disclose this and may think that no detox is required for them.  Since both substances are sedating, this could result serious medical problems, even before the staff administers a drug screen to determine all substances in a person’s system.   

Most importantly, taking extra doses of any drug will make it more difficult for medical staff to control the patient’s discomfort and withdrawal symptoms.  All drugs have different half-lives, so withdrawal may begin within hours or days after the last dose, depending on which drug or drugs were taken.  The body can be in stabilization from one drug for up to a week when withdrawal symptoms appear for the other.  This can seriously disrupt a patient’s motivation for recovery at a very critical time in alcohol and drug treatment.

The staff at Tarzana Treatment Centers are not judgmental and are committed to providing you with a safe and comfortable detoxification experience.  Since each patient is drug tested prior to medical detoxification, we will discover all substances in the person’s system, and we will treat withdrawals accordingly.  

The practice of preloading works against Tarzana Treatment Centers’ commitment to minimize discomfort for our patients undergoing alcohol and drug detoxification.  It is best for patients to avoid preloading on the date of admission, so as to avoid the extra discomfort it will cause.  Please call us at 888-777-8565 for more information or contact us here via email.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.