Recovering from an addiction is a long-term endeavor that can take many months and even years. The process begins however with short term goals that allow an addict to become more stable initially so that they can work on the rest of their issues. Detoxification is the most immediate method to providing an addict with the foundation to begin their journey to sobriety.
Detox provides people with the opportunity for short term stabilization so that they can get rid of their chemical dependency and get out of the cycle of substance abuse. Detoxification is a relatively short period of time, usually about a week or two, in which an addict allows their body to cleanse itself of toxins and any chemicals that are causing addiction. The addict’s physical dependency on drugs is the first thing to focus on in recovery because it is one of the main components of an addiction.
The goal of detox is to get the patient into a state where they will be able to focus more on the psychological dependency they have on drugs which requires more complex forms of treatment. Short term stabilization is a type of preparation for the harder work of inpatient rehab. Once a patient completes their detox treatment they will be ready to focus their energy on mental health and changing their behavior.
The Process of Detox
Detox can be intimidating for addicts that have been abusing substances for a long period of time and haven’t gone sober long enough to experience withdrawal symptoms. However, detox is designed to be as comfortable and safe as possible even for people who are going cold turkey out of very severe addictions. During detox they will first be evaluated by professionals involved in the program who will determine the level of addiction that they are dealing with and what the best approach will be for their stabilization.
Detox professionals have years of experience and can identify what type of treatment will be more effective for specific types of addictions and the issues associated with it. People with co-occurring disorders such as mental illnesses like depression and anxiety might need special accommodations such as medications that can keep them more stable throughout detox. During a patient’s intake it can be determined if they will need any attention to specific issues in order to get through detox safely.
It is helpful for patients to be prepared for what they will experience during detox so staff members might explain the process to them prior to their treatment. They may be on a specific schedule of medication, meals and sleep so that they remain in a good physical and mental state. Patients can go over their detox plan with staff members so that they are aware of and understand what they will be going through in the following week.
Stabilization During Detox
After being evaluated, patients in detox begin the process simply by abstaining from any substance abuse. Once they do this their withdrawal symptoms will most likely start to appear within the first 24 hours or so. Symptoms may be very intense for several days and then start to diminish and subside by the end of the first or second week.
Withdrawal symptoms can vary dramatically depending on the individual’s physiology, the amount of toxins in their system at the time, how long they have been abusing drugs and their mental health. Some people may have very mild symptoms while others can have more intense and painful experiences.
Whatever occurs during detox as far as withdrawal symptoms, staff members are trained to handle the situation and help the patient get through it smoothly. They can offer medical solutions and professional care that minimize withdrawal symptoms and keep the person healthy and safe. Their expertise can make it possible for detox to be a more manageable experience that doesn’t overwhelm the patient.
As the chemical toxins from their substance abuse leave the individual’s body they will gradually become more stable. They will experience less and less physical cravings for drugs and will start to feel more grounded and healthy. Eventually they will be physically free from their dependency and can start to make the transition into mental health treatment and therapy.
Transitioning into Rehab
The last phase of detox and short term stabilization is allowing the patient to begin their transition to rehab. They will continue to stay in their detox program until all of their withdrawal symptoms have completely subsided and they are feeling more prepared to enter treatment. Doctors will continually monitor the patient’s progress until they begin to see signs that their withdrawal is approaching the end.
If the patient hasn’t already made arrangements for a rehab center they can start to research where they will be staying for their treatment. It is important that they enroll into rehab immediately after detox so that there is no time in between where they may feel tempted to use again. Once they are completely clean they need to enter directly into inpatient treatment where they can work on their psychological dependency on drugs or alcohol.
Transitioning to treatment can mean helping the patient become more familiar with what they will be working on in rehab and what to expect. They can also start to connect with family and friends again and decide if they want to incorporate them into their recovery plan in rehab. Their rehab treatment may offer family or group therapy that can give them a chance to repair some of the conflict in their relationships.
No matter what type of rehab treatment program a detox patient is planning to enter it is important that they are healthy and fully prepared for transition. They need to be physically healthy through a good diet and nutrition while also being completely off of any type of mind altering substance. As long as a detox patient has reached a point of short term stabilization, they can begin their rehab treatment to start the real process of recovery.