Detox and Withdrawal
The term detox means the process of a drug’s traces leaving the body until all—or nearly all—of it is gone. During this process, the brain and other bodily systems are getting rid of all intoxicating substances in order to return to a pre-drug use state. A person who is addicted to these substances will experience a period of withdrawal, the symptoms of which can be anywhere from mildly unpleasant to physically painful depending on how much and how often drug use occurred. Detoxing from any type of substance is difficult, but specific withdrawal symptoms depend on the drug the individual was using. Some substances’ withdrawals have dangerous and sometimes deadly results.
Because the detoxification process widely varies and is one of the biggest hurdles a drug user must overcome, drug and alcohol treatment centers offer dedicated programs to help ease the process. A center devoted only to detox offers clients medically assisted detoxification, in which the client stays at the center for a number of days depending on the duration of their withdrawals. The center treats the client as symptoms appear throughout the process. The center’s goal is to help make the detox process as easy and comfortable for the client as possible.
Withdrawal is a difficult process to endure, and it often is the reason why drug users can relapse—even if they truly want to quit and start the recovery process. In fact, this is one of the reasons why so few individuals who need treatment actually receive it. If more drug users knew the types of services available to help them quit and make detox and withdrawal much more comfortable, many more might seek the treatment they need and better their lives.
If you or a loved one are seeking treatment and you’re aware of assisted detox programs, it’s essential to do your research to find the drug use treatment center that’s right for your needs.
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First Steps for Recovery
A basic assessment of your behaviors is the first integral step. Questioning your causes and motivations heading in are key—some integral ones include:
- What specifically caused a need for rehab? While some programs are specifically designed for a certain substance, like alcohol or cocaine, others are designated as general purpose rehabilitation.
- Were there any other medical reasons for engaging in rehab? Some individuals choose to treat their dual diagnosis issues prior to entering treatment.
- What do you hope to gain from rehab? Setting goals for what you hope to achieve as a result of treatment can help you specify how you want to live your life in the ensuing months after rehab.
With specific motivations in mind, heading to a treatment professional is a great next step. Most local medical practitioners who address rehabilitation issues can help direct you to the best facilities suited to your needs. Not only are they aware of close-by or ideal facilities, but they may be able to help you out with factors you and your loved ones may not be able to.
Ultimately, however, the decision is in the hands of only those who understand the situation. Scouting out each facility—whether by visiting, viewing websites, and calling—is an important step to ensure you choose the best treatment center for your specific situation.
Drug and Alcohol Use Treatment Center Service Options
There are multiple detox methods. The right substance use treatment center will offer multiple options so they can serve as many people as possible. Each individual situation is different.
For instance, most people immediately think of “going cold turkey”—as in, ceasing all drug or alcohol use at once—and just that mental image alone can scare some individuals into not wanting treatment at all. The idea that no substance whatsoever would be available to them in the treatment center produces even more intense cravings. Attempting to quit cold turkey on your own, however, can intensify your withdrawal symptoms, making the process much more difficult to get through. A medically assisted detoxification program can monitor your progress every moment and ensure you have the treatment methods you need, right when you need them most. Treatment services include non-addicting medicines that can treat physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, making the detox process easier and reducing relapse temptations.
Around 50 percent of individuals who try to stop using substances end up relapsing at least once. Hospital stays aren’t always accessible. Not only can a hospital stay be expensive, but it also means being away from family, friends, and your home where you’re most comfortable. For individuals not needing intensive in-center treatment or who have household responsibilities they can’t shirk, some treatment centers offer out-patient options with non-addicting medications tailored to his or her specific substance use. This lets clients detox from the comfort of their own home. While this is a good option for some people, it also opens up the chances for relapse because substances are easier to access.
Some substances, such as prescription medications, require the individual to be gradually weaned. Tapering the dosage over a certain length of time can help reduce cravings and withdrawals. You will work with your treatment provider to create a dosage plan that slowly tapers your dose until you can safely stop taking the medication entirely.
This tapering is necessary, as stopping some substances cold turkey can actually make matters worse. For instance, stopping the use of benzodiazepines too quickly can actually cause adverse reactions, such as seizures or thoughts of suicide. With opiates, your treatment provider may change your dosage or the version of the chosen substance or both. You’ll then be gradually weaned.
An additional treatment option offered in some cases is rapid or ultra-rapid detox, in which a client goes under general anesthesia and is given medication thought to speed up how fast the substance leaves the body. The treatment is meant to help a client more quickly go through detox without withdrawals. Unfortunately, some studies have revealed that this method of detox hasn’t always worked as planned—clients awaken to similar withdrawals and generally don’t fare any better than clients in traditional detox with medication to stave off cravings and withdrawals. Rapid detox isn’t a professional recommendation.
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Important Factors to Consider in Addiction Recovery
There are numerous additional qualifiers from the initial onset, ranging from preferences to personal necessities. Only the individuals most closely involved with the situation can successfully weigh in on what works best for them. Some of the most common include:
- Inpatient versus Outpatient Programs: While the former has patients living on-site, outpatient programs allow participants to live wherever they would like. Although the availability of this option may be clear to some, inpatient programs generally have higher success rates. Outpatient programs are geared towards less severe instances of substance use as well as those who cannot afford to join an inpatient facility or sacrifice time away from their jobs, families, etc.
- Amenities/Cost: This option may primarily result from economic factors, but choosing the best facility for you based on amenities is important to consider. Some facilities offer horseback riding, pools and other features comparable to a nice hotel, while others offer a cheaper price point in exchange for fewer features. Deciding how much you can afford to spend and whether you need the added features is an important step.
- Types of Therapy: The method that each rehab facility uses may vary completely depending on where you choose to attend. Choosing the best one for you is completely dependent on what’s most comfortable for you.
Ultimately, an inadequate program is not the end of the world by any means, but it is important for loved ones to be honest with one another about the effectiveness of a treatment center. Switching out is largely possible, but many individuals silently become unsatisfied with the program they participate in.
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What to Look For in a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center
In addition to services and treatment methods offered, there are also certain traits you should look for in a substance use treatment center. For instance, state accreditation is a must, as is licensing of the center’s medical professionals. And this isn’t just to make sure you receive quality care—a lot of insurance companies don’t cover treatment at unaccredited facilities.
Other items to look for in a treatment center include:
- Screening process. The right substance use treatment center for you checks for co-occurring health disorders and other issues that could make your detox difficult or even dangerous. The center should also conduct a thorough interview with you so their medical professionals can decide the best course of treatment.
- Available medications. Substance use treatment centers need authorization to provide such medications as methadone, for instance. A good treatment center is also open to offering non-addicting medications for withdrawals and won’t belittle a client who desires to take a natural approach to curing their substance use.
- Treatment alternatives. Some substance use centers offer treatment that falls under the alternative medicine category, like nutrition programs or reflexology and massage. These treatment alternatives help some clients feel more at ease with the detoxing process.
- Aftercare. Good treatment centers know detox is just the first step on your recovery path. If the center doesn’t offer rehab programs, they should at least recommend programs for aftercare following detox. Failure to commit to a program after detox can pose a significant risk of a relapse.
Recovering from addiction disorder isn’t easy or simple. It’s a journey that varies from person to person and requires personalized approaches. The most crucial thing to look for in a substance use treatment center is a caring ear and flexibility. Actual support is treating each addicted person as the humans they are. Cardinal Recovery will listen. Reach out to us today and get started on your path to recovery.