The 3 Steps of the Detox Process Can Lead You to Start a New Life in Recovery
For many people struggling with alcohol or drugs, the real first step in the direction of recovery is admitting they have a dependency on the substance(s). The next step is finding a treatment program that can help them quit drinking or using, begin restoring their overall health and well-being, and provide them with both knowledge and tools to maintain sobriety in the long-term, one day at a time.
While there are countless treatment options one can choose from, those with particularly severe cases of chemical dependency are often recommended to start by entering a medically-assisted detox program before transitioning into addiction treatment. Whether or not one chooses this route, getting into treatment is strongly suggested to begin learning and reinforcing the principles of recovery in one’s thinking and behavior, followed up by regular attendance at recovery support groups and, when deemed beneficial, ongoing therapeutic counseling sessions.
It warrants noting up front that the process of detoxing from alcohol or drug dependency can be quite uncomfortable, painful and even dangerous; hence, why medical detox is so often considered essential for one’s moving forward into recovery.
What detoxing with medical supervision provides is the ability to detox in a safe, well-monitored and comfortable environment. Medically-assisted detox greatly reduces the chance of prevents dangerous complications arising from unexpectedly severe alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms.
However, even though detoxing with medical supervision limits the symptoms of withdrawal, some are unavoidable. Typical side effects of alcohol or drug withdrawal may include:
- Anxiety, nervousness, panic attacks
- Severe mood swings
- Body aches
- Fever, chills, sweats
- Poor sleep/insomnia
- Difficulty concentrating
Though each person’s detox needs are different, the medically-assisted detox process ensures those who are struggling with addiction receive personalized treatment and care to meet their unique requirements. In most cases, the detox process involves 3 steps:
A certified medical team screens a new person coming in for physical and mental health issues. A physician uses blood tests to measure the amount of drugs in the person’s system, which helps determine the type and level of any medication needed. In addition, a thorough review of the person’s medical, drug and psychiatric histories is completed. The results of this comprehensive review form the foundation for the person’s detox process and recommended follow-up treatment plan.
The next step is to stabilize the person with both medical and psychological therapy. The goal of stabilization is to prevent any form of physical, mental or emotional harm to the person. The attending physician can prescribe addiction treatment medications to reduce or smooth out one’s withdrawal symptoms, as well as prevent any withdrawal-related complications.
3) PREPARING ENTRY INTO TREATMENT
The third and final step of medically-assisted detox is preparation of the person to enter a treatment program. The medical staff spends time with the person familiarizing them with the treatment process they recommend—based on all of the intake information gathered—and what to expect. And while both outpatient and inpatient rehab is available to someone finishing a medically-assisted detox, inpatient treatment offers the highest likelihood of success after detox.
It’s important to emphasize here that detox is just the first part of the recovery process, and on its own is most often not sufficient for a successful recovery. Those who have struggled with dependency on alcohol or drugs and are wanting to recover from addiction need help treating the psychological and emotional, as well as the physical, aspects of their dependency. Addiction treatment programs provide in-depth education about the nature of addiction and the nature of recovery, as well as recovery principles, practices and tools, personal counseling, support groups and the benefits of establishing an ongoing recovery network.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a chemical dependency, it’s highly recommended to seek out a detox center or addiction treatment facility in your area for help with the first step into a new life in recovery: medically assisted detoxing.