Information About Alcohol and Drug Detoxification

Drug and alcohol abuse are a serious problem in this nation. When an addict stops using alcohol or drugs, they can experience withdrawal symptoms. These can be difficult and even dangerous, depending on the substance. When it comes to helping an addict overcome an addiction, detox centers are the best option. These centers have trained staff that can assist you through your detox process, by providing support and necessary care to help ease symptoms.

Types of Detox Centers

There a few different types of detox centers available. Drug addiction is a serious disease, and everyone is different, so treatment is not the same for everyone. It’s important to consider the different types and decide which type would be best for you.

Outpatient facilities are one option. The kind of treatment that outpatient rehabs offer is best suited for those who have mild addictions. Here, the patient can receive treatment during specific time periods, but can still work or attend school and go home each night.

Some other advantages of outpatient detox facilities include:

  • More freedom
  • Less disruptive to daily life
  • Patient can continue employment and maintain family life
  • Greater social support

Inpatient rehab centers offer the same treatment as outpatient facilities, except the patient is required to stay at the center for 24-hour care. This type of detox center is ideal for individuals with more severe addictions. While more restricted, the biggest advantage is that the patient is removed from their daily life and bad habits; there is no risk of temptation or relapse while at the facility. Being in an inpatient center also decreases chances of relapse once treatment is over.

How to Choose a Detox Center

It’s important to know what to expect at a rehab facility, and assure that it will be right for you.

Ask as many questions as possible, including:

  • Can my family and friends visit?
  • Does the center make accommodations for dietary restrictions or issues?
  • Will cell phones or computers be allowed?
  • Is your insurance accepted? What costs may you need to cover, if any?
  • How long does the treatment last?
  • What medical care is offered for symptoms?

Take your time while making this decision. Tour each facility, if possible. Talk to those who would be in charge of your care. Check out amenities and decide which ones you would like to have during your treatment. Before you commit to a single facility or program, first make sure that you are comfortable with your choice.

What Happens During Detox

After arriving at your chosen detox treatment facility, your first step will be to go through an intake process. During intake, an assigned therapist will sit down with you and go through your drug history and prior use, and work to help figure out a plan for recovery. Here, it’s critical, to be honest, and answer all questions to help create a treatment plan that is unique to you and your needs.

When the intake process is complete, you will be given a tour and then assigned to a room. The center will provide assistance in helping you unpack, as well as ensure that you did not bring in any contraband items. Contraband items include things like medications or electronics, and they will be held until you leave the facility.

Your next step after settling in will be to receive a complete physical exam. This step helps to identify any other possible conditions that may need to be treated during detox from drugs or alcohol. During detox, you will experience dehydration and malnutrition. Detox can take several days or weeks, depending on the substance and severity of addictions.

Withdrawal symptoms will typically begin within 12 hours after an addict’s last dose.

Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panic attacks and anxiety
  • Muscle aches and cramping
  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Chills

In some cases, medicine may be given to help with the withdrawal symptoms and lessen your cravings.

Three FDA-approved medications are commonly used for alcohol detox; disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone. Disulfiram is usually given after a patient completes treatment and returns home; it causes unpleasant side effects when the person consumes alcohol, which can help deter them from relapsing. Acamprosate can contribute to lessening withdrawal symptoms by contributing to stabilizing certain chemicals in the brain that have been altered by the abuse. Naltrexone helps with cravings for alcohol. These medications can be given individually or together as part of treatment for detox.

Some substance detox treatments require other drugs, such as methadone, suboxone or buprenorphine. Anyone who is given these medications will be monitored carefully in case there are adverse reactions. Also, individuals going through detox may be given nutritional supplements and possibly pain relievers in the event of body aches from withdrawals.

Once the initial detox has passed and you are physically able, the next phase of treatment is mostly therapy. In individual cognitive behavioral therapy, you will learn to identify the triggers of your drug abuse, and learn to cope with them. You will also be involved in group therapy during detox. These sessions can provide much support during rehabilitation. Here, you will meet with all the other individuals in the facility, and share stories of success, struggle, and show support and encouragement during the healing process.

Family therapy may also be used. Therapy can help when the addiction has had a significant impact on the household life. Family therapy can help members identify triggers and warnings signs, as well as address any familial issues and learn to be supportive. Here, a family can also come up with a plan, in the case of relapse after leaving treatment.

Once detox is over and there is no longer drugs or alcohol in a patient’s system, they enter into rehabilitation. Some of this treatment may occur at the detox center, but mostly, recovery takes place in separate facilities, and, like rehab centers this depends on what type of therapy is desired.