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In order to successfully rehabilitate a drug or alcohol addict, detoxification is an essential step. After admitting the problem exists, a qualified detox program will help begin the recovery process. The process is mostly done inpatient, in a rehab center. Occasionally, it can also be done outpatient. Regardless of the method, detoxification removes the drugs from the patient’s system and manages the symptoms of withdraw.
What is Detox
Besides removing drugs from the addict’s system, detoxification also manages the severe symptoms of withdraw and begins treatment of any underlying mental issues. The symptoms of withdraw can begin quickly and, depending on the drug, last a long time. Some drugs, such as heroin, have effects that last up to two months. Other drugs can last as little as two days. The detox process typically begins with an intake and evaluation. Patients also receive services that begin the stabilization process and lead them toward the treatment of choice.
Benefits of Detoxification
Benefits of a detox program mainly revolve around the elimination of risks. Counselling by compassionate, trained therapists helps the addict begin the healing process and manage the discomfort of the withdraw process. When more dangerous symptoms like seizures, hallucinations or delirium tremens occur, detox staff can monitor and treat. Rarely, detox can also cause medical emergencies such as heart attack and stroke occur, the patient can be transferred to a hospital.
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Symptoms managed by detox staff include:
- Inability to Concentrate
- Muscle Tension
- Tightness of the Chest
- Difficulty Breathing
- Digestive Symptoms Including:
Once you have decided to enter detox, you must decide which type of detox program to enter. The choices are typically inpatient and outpatient. In some communities, a hybrid option called partial hospitalization is also an option. Partial hospitalization programs give intensive treatment while allowing the addict the freedom to live at home. The advantages and disadvantages of the other types of detox are covered here.
Inpatient Detox Centers
Most detox occurs in an inpatient detox center. The advantages of inpatient care during the detox phase include an inability to access the drug of choice, higher rate of completion and increased monitoring from detox staff. Inpatient care also removes the newly recovering addict from their environment and circle of drug and alcohol using friends or family members who could cause a relapse.
Disadvantages include higher cost of treatment and the removal of the addict’s personal sense of responsibility. For some, an over dependence on the rehab staff is a concern. For most people, however, the benefits of inpatient treatment outweigh the risks. For some people, however, the best or only option is an outpatient detox program.
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Outpatient Detox Centers
The other traditional type of detox center is an outpatient center. There are very few advantages to using an outpatient program. An outpatient center is a fraction of the cost of either an inpatient or partial hospitalization program. It also gives the patient an increase sense of personal responsibility.
The disadvantages of an outpatient detox program, on the other hand, are many. First of all, the risk of relapsing or not completely detoxifying are high. Also, the completion rate is low. Outpatient rehab can be unsafe for some individuals.
Outpatient detox is not an option for many people. Anyone who is suicidal or homicidal must be kept inpatient. Also, anyone at risk of the dangerous symptoms listed above are not candidates for outpatient rehab. The last group of individuals that must complete detox in an outpatient setting are those suffer from serious health problems related to their addictions. These conditions include cirrhosis, pancreatitis and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Whether inpatient or outpatient detox is chosen, the most important goal of detox is preparation for the transition to long-term treatment. Many options exist including luxury, wilderness based and religious based options. Utilizing a quality detox program and finding the treatment option that is right for you will put you on the path to a long life in recovery.
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