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Detox: Your First Step Toward a New Life

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In today’s treatment world, an individual’s continuum of care is much more customizable than it used to be, including the detox process with options of rapid, inpatient or outpatient detox.

Rapid and Inpatient Options

With rapid and inpatient detox programs, medical doctors use pharmaceutical drugs to transition you through withdrawal. In most cases, you can opt for anesthesia for their detox process (the rapid method) and wake with less intense withdrawal symptoms. If you choose to remain awake during the detox process, you’ll be medically supervised. Some of the most common physical withdrawal symptoms are flu-like in nature and include things like diarrhea, muscle aches and nausea, as well as other symptoms like sleeplessness and anxiety. In both rapid and inpatient detox, there is constant monitoring to avoid problems such as seizures or heart problems.

Outpatient Options

Outpatient detox allows you to live at home while making regular visits to a hospital or treatment center setting. Following an initial assessment, physical exam and lab work, follow-up evaluation sessions may take you as little as 15 to 30 minutes.

Cold Turkey

A fourth detox option is quitting cold turkey, but this is generally not recommended. Simply stopping use can carry significant risks, particularly if you’re discontinuing alcohol, opiates or benzodiazepines. Also, if usage has been long-term, extreme withdrawal symptoms will likely require round-the-clock medical attention and supervision.

What Happens After Detox?

Following the detox process, a patient can choose their next level of ongoing care. A good rule of thumb to follow is the longer and more intense the level of drug usage, the longer ongoing treatment needs to be. For example, long-term residential treatment, focusing on the therapeutic community model, incorporates stays of between six and 12 months. This form of treatment has some flexibility to meet the patient’s socialization needs and requires his or her developing personal accountability and responsibility along with the becoming more socially productive. Short-term residential programs – originally three-to six-week models – are suitable for most any type of substance use disorder so long as it is followed by ongoing participation in outpatient therapy and/or a peer-driven group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Outpatient treatment options vary greatly depending on whether used as a stand-alone approach or a step-down from residential treatment. This form of treatment is ideal for a patient/client with jobs and a solid social support system. Group counseling, individual counseling and family counseling are woven together to make this option work for many.   Learn more about the available detox options in your area.   Image Source: