Self-detoxing is dangerous

Dr. Haas manages alcohol, drug withdrawal symptoms

Dr. Joseph Haas of Pinellas Psychiatry is my addictions specialist and my doctor.

Board Certified in Adult Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine, and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, his patients include people like me, a guy who was addicted to drugs and alcohol for most of his life. withdrawalThough I am clean and sober now, I require 12-step support and treatment from Dr. Haas for slight depression and anxiety, which when managed allows me to live an even better life than before I picked up my first drink nearly 40 years ago.

Many die treating themselves

I have seen many of my friends try to detox off alcohol and drugs without the help of addiction specialists like Dr. Haas. There is no percentage in locking oneself away in a room and “riding it out.” Nothing is more unnecessary or nonsensical.

But that is what scares so many addicts and prevents them from kicking their addiction. That’s where Dr. Haas comes in. He can prescribe medications to ease the transition to a drug-free life.

The role of Dr. Haas’ addiction treatment practice is to safely control and reduce such detox symptoms as nausea, hallucinations, tremors, vomiting, and seizures. Self-detox also can be fatal. Sudden removal of alcohol or other drugs from the body can raise blood pressure, which can lead to heart failure.

Preventing tragic detox deaths

Extreme despair can lead to thoughts of suicide and violence. A young woman I knew died on a park bench in the middle of the night. She had been self-detoxing and had stopped to rest while walking around the city.

Another young person died at a friend’s house. She was found in her sleeping bag on the basement floor, having passed away in the midst of detoxing herself.

Dr. Haas treats many patients who have chosen to lead new lives after years of drug and/or alcohol dependency.  As an expert in addiction medicine, Dr. Haas performs a thorough neuropsychiatric evaluation from which he devises an individual treatment plan that include relapse prevention psychotherapy and medications.

He takes the time to educate his patients and can provide evening and emergency sessions if requested while his patients are in crisis. He writes individual patient care plans that include medications that smooth the physical and mental strain of detox.

Supportive counseling

A caring person, Dr. Haas provides supportive counseling that assures his patients that they are not alone during the vital first months of recovery. When coming off alcohol, painkillers, heroin or other dangerous drug, one also goes through intense emotional pain – guilt, anger, fear, hopelessness – none of which is any fun when detoxing alone.

Dr. Haas can provide medications and coping skills to manage those emotional states. During our sessions I tell him about any fear, worry or other emotional upset I experienced the previous week. He helps me put life in context and suggests ways to cope with challenges.

Dr. Haas also manages the extended detox, which can last months as the brain slowly begins to regulate and return to normal functioning. The lingering symptoms can include deep anxiety, confusion, even non-life threatening muscle spasms and other discomfort that can impair one’s optimal functioning.

Recovery is a gift within reach

Recovery is a gift, though it may not seem so in the first hours, days or weeks of your new life. I promise you, however, that life does get better and something like real joy returns when you realize that you have the rest of your life ahead of you.

I am grateful for Dr. Haas’ help and wholeheartedly recommend him to those like me who are tired of living alone with the impossible addiction. If you are currently abusing drugs or alcohol, please consider seeing Dr. Haas for a Substance Abuse Evaluation. If you are in need of substance abuse counseling, Dr. Haas offers relapse prevention and psychotherapy sessions, too.

  • John G., Clearwater
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