Demystifying Alcohol and Drug Detox Programs

Many people put off checking themselves into detox treatment centers, mainly because of their fears about the withdrawal symptoms they may face. There are numerous misconceptions about detox and it is also misrepresented by the media to appear as one of the most torturous experiences imaginable.

The fact is, however, that a detox program in a professional facility is the safest way of quitting drugs or alcohol and the best environment to prepare people for a new life in recovery.

Here we take a look at what is really involved in a detox program and what the significant benefits are:

Evaluation and Assessment

This is the initial phase of addiction treatment and is used to establish the nature and severity of the addiction and any other mental health issues that may be co-occurring. Details of a patient’s medical history, family background, and socioeconomic circumstances are taken and a physical examination is carried out. Once enough information has been obtained from a newly-admitted patient, it is then possible to design a treatment program specific to their needs.

Detoxification

Detox is when someone abstains from using or drinking alcohol in order to purge the body of their influences. This is the part of addiction treatment that many people fear but a facility has the benefit of having highly-qualified clinicians on hand to treat any distressing withdrawal symptoms as and when they arise. Everyone is different and has their varying tolerance levels and detox is a personal journey for each person. However detoxing from certain drugs such as heroin, for example, can lead to more dramatic withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be life-threatening which is why it is always recommended to attend medically supervised detox programs.

Education and Counseling

Individual and group therapy and counseling help to identify the root causes of addiction. It is only through communicating with others on a one-to-one basis or as part of a group, that patients can get a better understanding of the events leading up to them developing the disease. Recovering from addiction is a process that can take many years and for most people, having a support network close-at-hand after treatment has been completed is a significant benefit.

Before addicts enter a treatment environment, they have most likely experienced social difficulties and even become withdrawn. People with addiction issues often expect to be judged by others and so they respond well to treatment environments where they have open lines of communication with empathetic counterparts.

Relapse Prevention

For many people leaving rehabilitation and returning to their daily lives, the first few weeks can be intimidating and frightening. Learning to cope outside of a clinical environment is made much easier by using the coping mechanisms learned during rehab. These coping mechanisms take several forms according to individual preference and can include mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga or more creative forms of expression like music or writing. Open and free communication is an integral part of addiction treatment and is considered pivotal in determining someone’s success in recovery.

It is not possible to leave a rehabilitation facility and go straight back to what was formerly a normal routine. By doing so, patients put themselves at risk of encountering triggers and stressors that kept them addicted in the first place. Associations with the same people they socialized with before rehab have to be cast aside in the majority of cases; otherwise, the risk of relapse is increased. This can be a difficult exercise for recovering addicts and they can be faced with confrontation from former friends unwilling to accept the person they knew no longer has anything in common with them.

Feelings of isolation and avoidance can be countered by relying on a support network, one of the most crucial takeaways of formal addiction treatment. When someone is faced with having to cut ties with people they have been close to for a long time and even family members they have strong bonds with, the feelings of alienation can be overwhelming. Life doesn’t get easy when treatment for addiction has been completed but recovering addicts are better prepared to deal with any challenges they may face.

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