Drug detox is the first step in any comprehensive addiction treatment program, whether the drug of choice is alcohol, prescription painkillers, heroin, cocaine or a combination of substances. Depending upon the drug of addiction, the type of detox that will be most effective may vary, but the goal for each style of care is the same– physical and mental stabilization. Entering into treatment can be traumatic, and for many patients, the first few days of rehab are a rollercoaster. When withdrawal symptoms are an issue, it can mean serious physical illness and when there is a co-occurring mental health disorder as well, detox can become even more complicated. In some cases, medication may be necessary in order to help the patient stabilize.
“It was not an easy decision, yet it has now become the best decision of my life – to take both feet and step into the next decade of my life sober. Choosing life was scary. I was stripped of everything I ever knew about myself. Yet, what did I really know anyway – I was pretty much drunk the better part of my adult life. Coming face-2-face with myself as been beautiful and humbling.
You know what? Recovery – the conscious journey into sobriety – is so much more than just ‘not drinking.’ Recovery for me has been connecting to myself, family, friends and the world around me in simple ways. Recovery is teaching me not to over complicate things. Recovery has taught me to go to a meeting, get to yoga, call a friend – not grab a drink.
I’m learning how to be ok with what is. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. Recovery has given me everything alcohol promised. Alcohol lied. Recovery has fulfilled its promises. Today I am no longer bound by my fears. My pain. My thoughts. My guilt. My shame. Today I chose life every day. Today I am free.” — Juli G. (Read Juli’s story and more at www.HeroesInRecovery.com)
Drug DetoxDrug detox is the process of letting the body flush all illicit substances and toxins out of the system while offering care for the resulting withdrawal symptoms. Medically supervised detox is a highly effective treatment that is proven to help boost recovery and help prevent future relapse.1 According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the substances most often responsible for detox admissions include:
- Alcohol – 39 percent
- Heroin – 16 percent
- Other opiates (e.g., morphine or opioid painkillers) – 10 percent
- Cocaine – 11.7 percent
- Marijuana – 17 percent
- Stimulants (e.g., methamphetamines, amphetamines, cocaine) – 7 percent
- Other (e.g., tranquilizers, hallucinogens, sedatives and hypnotics, PCP, over-the-counter medications, and inhalants – 1 percent or less2
It is noteworthy that 45 percent of patients who entered treatment for alcohol use disorder also reported secondary substance use as well.
- Cocaine Detoxification Essentials
- The Basics of Heroin Detox
- Two or More Addictive Substance in the Body
How a Dual Diagnosis or Co-Occurring Disorder Affects DetoxCo-occurring disorders (sometimes known as a dual diagnosis) are diagnosed when a person has both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, or other diagnosis.
Detoxification Is Not EnoughDrug detox is a crucial first step in addiction treatment. People who experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using a substance cannot skip this step. However, detox alone is not a total treatment. Instead, the following should be a part of a comprehensive drug rehab program6:
- Individualized Treatment: Attention to personal needs. Drug addiction is the primary focus of detox and addiction treatment, but people in recovery should also get the help they need for other issues as well. Problems at home, obstacles to employment or education, legal problems, health problems – all these should be addressed if they in any way exacerbate issues with addiction and trigger patients to relapse.
- Therapy: Therapies address daily needs in recovery. Nutritional counseling, exercise and workout training, yoga classes, meditation, massage therapy, and even resume assistance or help getting copies of important documents that will aid in gaining employment or signing a lease – all these things can help individuals take care of the details that will set them up for success.
- Inclusive Treatment Plans: Treatment requires ongoing check-ins and updates to the treatment plan. Some people will progress rapidly, while others may get hung up on a specific issue and take a bit longer to achieve a treatment goal.
- Family Therapy:Addiction is a family disease. Family therapy, educational workshops, and family support groups lay the groundwork for the healing that will create more positive relationships going forward.
- Aftercare: Ongoing support begins with a solid aftercare plan and continues through sober living homes, group counseling, outpatient therapy, alumni groups and more.
Learn More About the Detox Process at Michael’s HouseMichael’s House in Palm Springs, California offers a wide range of detoxification options for patients, provided by experienced clinicians who specialize in substance abuse treatment. We collaborate with consulting physicians and follow up with comprehensive addiction treatment and a range of aftercare services as part of a unique treatment program to meet the needs of each individual patient. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you or your loved one begin the healing process after drug and alcohol addiction.
Sources 1 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Frequently Asked Questions. March 2017. Web. Retrieved 11 Nov 2017. 2 SAMHSA. Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) 2002 – 2012 National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services. 2012. Web. Retrieved 11 Nov 2017. 3 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. 1 Jul. 2014. 4 SAMHSA. Co-Occurring Disorders. March 2016. Web. Retrieved 20 Nov 2017. 5 Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. 2006. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series. 6 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)
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