Cliffside and Medicated-Assisted Detox

Medicated-Assisted Detox is the use of medications under the supervision of an addictionologist to help treat the symptoms of detoxification from substance use disorders. Detoxification is often the most uncomfortable and feared process of recovery. Cliffside Malibu takes great care in ensuring that this process is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Based on the assessment from our on-staff Addictionologist, you may be eligible for ambulatory medicated-assisted detox. This would allow you to be at home while detoxing and beginning your journey to recovery.

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

Research shows that addiction treatment medications to be very effective for clients, 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 a distraction and could lead to relapse.

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, this could potentially pose some serious health risks. Addiction specialists are trained to recognize and treat the psychiatric and physical complications of addiction. Certain complications can be severe, and they may even lead to coma or death. 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 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 in to 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, previously holding positions in both private practice and other treatment centers similar to Cliffside Malibu. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California at Riverside and went on to receive his Doctor of Medicine in 1986 from the 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 has published 45 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Smith is not only an addictionologist and the Medical Director of Cliffside, he also oversees the detoxification program. It is his imperative to treat each patient individually and develop a comprehensive treatment program based on a person’s history, medical needs, and addiction.

“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.