What is detox?

If a person is diagnosed with substance abuse disorder (SUD), a condition that associates with compulsive drug or substance abuse, and neglecting the powerful and damaging effects it has on their physical and mental health. The substance abuse disorder is a chronic condition, and may vary between mild to severe. It affects each person differently. The severity level of each disorder depends on the type of drugs or substances taken, the length of time the drugs used, the number of drugs or substances used,  and the presence of other mental health disorders (called comorbidity).

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Medical detoxification is a procedure performed in a medical setting to safely manage the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal when a person stops using drugs.  Detox is the initial step in treating drug addictions, but by itself it is not enough to have a complete recovery. Certain prescription medications can help to curb physical withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. Other medications used to block opioid receptors in the brain to reverse to a normal brain function.

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Medications may include buprenorphine, methadone, Laam, naltrexone.  National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in November 2017, FDA granted a new indication for electronic stimulation device, NSS-2 Bridge, to be used as an aid to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. The device is placed behind the ear and sends electrical pulses to stimulate certain brain nerves. In addition to medications and medical devices, a patient evaluated for co-occurring mental health disorders and subsequently prescribed additional meds to handle them.

The withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • tremors
  • insomnia
  • hallucinations
  • rapid heartbeat
  • high blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • confusion
  • depression

Do I need a detox?

If you are using drugs or alcohol, and are unable to quit taken them on your own, you may have an addiction and will need a detoxification program to eliminate harmful toxins from your body. This process must be supervised by a medical professional, due to harmful and often life-threatening side effects of withdrawal symptoms. A recovery specialist will oversee the process that may take between 3 to 7 days. The symptoms will eventually subside, however the most critical time is the first 24 to 72 hours. With medical personnel assisting you around the clock, you will be able to undergo a detox program and complete it in full. Detox, however successful, is the first part of recovery treatment and must be immediately followed by behavioral therapy provided at the residential rehab center.

What takes place during detox?

Medically assisted detoxification has two phases, and includes the following:

  • Initial exam and evaluation to determine the course of detox procedure included but not limited to blood work, medical history and substance abuse history analysis, physical exam, and mental health evaluation to determine the presence of co-occurring disorder.
  • Detoxification. Includes medical supervision and support during a detox procedure, use of medications to suppress withdrawal symptoms and inhibit mental effects of drug abuse. Vital signs may be checked around the clock to ensure a safe and efficient detox program.
  • Assistance with transitioning to the next phase of treatment that involves behavioral therapy and counseling to overcome the addiction.

What types of detox programs available?

There are several commonly used detoxification programs based on the level of care you are required:

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Inpatient program. Patient usually spends time in the hospital, rehab center, or detox clinic while undergoing a detoxification process. Medical professionals oversee the procedure from the beginning until its completion. Inpatient treatment is important for individuals with severe addiction disorders, and other mental health issues. In addition to inpatient stay, the patient is strongly recommended to undergo a comprehensive treatment involving behavioral therapy and counseling, that addresses a multitude of drug abuse-related issues.

Outpatient program. The patient spends half the day at the treatment facility and then allowed to go home. Outpatient services are intended for patients with less severe substance abuse disorders, and after having positive results from medical and mental health evaluations. Family support and balanced home environment are vital to achieving effective results.

Residential rehab program. This program involves residing at the center between 1 to 3 months and is considered the most effective program for those seeking to overcome serious addiction problems.  In addition, the patient learns to reinforce their skills obtained during their therapy and counseling to lead a drug-free life.

How to choose the best detox and rehab program that works for you?

If you or your loved one is struggling with an addiction disorder, you may want to consider some of the issues you have presently.  If you have both medical and mental health issues, you will need to find a place that addresses both and provides a complete treatment.

There are several questions you may want to ask before scheduling an appointment with your rehab center:

  • Do you take insurance?
  • Is your facility licensed?
  • Is your staff specializes in treatment for specific substance abuse issues?
  • Are your medical professionals certified?
  • Does the treatment plan include a complete recovery program from beginning to end?
  • Does the program include behavioral therapy and counseling?
  • Is there a program for relapse prevention?
  • Is there an aftercare program available?

Is there insurance coverage for substance abuse disorders?

Most insurance carriers today, either individual or employer-sponsored, provide coverage for substance abuse disorders, also mandated by the state legislation.

Your medical insurance may cover your treatment and aftercare upon medical utilization decision what type of treatment is necessary for you based on your diagnosis. Patient responsibility may involve a co-pay amount defined by your insurance plan coverage. The best way to understand your insurance coverage is to contact your carrier and find out the costs, co-pay amounts, covered services, and the eligibility requirements for coverage.

Do I need an after-care for substance abuse disorder?

After completing your detox and drug rehab program it is critical to stay in touch with your recovery center to maintain support to avoid triggers and prevent relapse.