Not All Detox Is the Same: Trends and Treatments You Need to Know About
Understand the common myths of detox, to find the treatment path that’s right for you.
A wide range of detox options exist in today’s world, but they’re highly varied. Between drug rehab options and individual cleanses, a lot of information exists. This said, we don’t suggest anyone struggling with drugs and alcohol should turn to do-it-yourself detox methods. Often, a recovery treatment center is needed to fully engage substance the detox period.
Drugs and alcohol change the brain’s chemistry, altering mental, emotional and social behaviors. Therefore, it’s important to secure a safe, successful detox program which addresses your unique needs while acknowledging your own strengths and weaknesses.
Overarching Detox Systems
While drug addiction treatment is custom-tailored to patient needs, several detox “systems” govern the way professionals serve clients. Natural detox, medicated detox, medical detox, inpatient detox and outpatient detox are offered at most drug rehab centers, and each has something unique to offer. We’ll cover these detox methods shortly.
First, however, we’d like to dispel a few myths about the detox methods offered by drug and alcohol rehab centers. If you or a loved one has considered drug addiction treatment only to be dissuaded by the misinformation out there, keep reading. First, we’ll debunk a few detox-related myths. Then, we’ll discuss the benefits of today’s leading detox options available during drug addiction treatment.
Myth One: You Can Detox on Your Own
For many addicts, this myth can prevent professional care. It’s also a manifestation of denial. Self-detox sounds easier than drug rehab support, but it lacks the vital resources needed to avoid uncomfortable—and even dangerous—withdrawal.
Addiction Science & Clinical Practice suggests that withdrawal is the biggest recovery obstacle for many addicts. When supported by a rehab treatment center, patients are given access to pharmaceutical support, medical monitoring, and even counseling services—all of which, when combined, are highly effective.
Myth Two: If You Detox, Everyone Will Know
Because substance abuse treatment is considered to be a medical service, your privacy is protected beneath the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Unless under highly specific circumstances, a detox facility won’t—and can’t—share information about past, present or future treatment. Any recovery treatment center which does, in fact, is in violation of HIPPA terms and will face legal action.
Myth Three: Once Detox Is Over, You Lose Support
This simply isn’t true. Every quality detox program is followed up with continual care. Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease. It can’t be “overpowered” via detox. Today’s drug rehab centers take special care of a patient once substances have been flushed from their system. Some addiction treatment centers offer in-depth recovery plans. Others offer access to peer support networks and aftercare services. Most include intensive counseling. Because no recovery treatment center is the same, detox recovery options are both plentiful and varied.
Myth Four: Detox Isn’t Flexible to the Patient’s Needs
Sadly, many addicts assume the detox process is a rigid, tough and uncomfortable experience. While acute and post-acute withdrawal symptoms may indeed be uncomfortable, the drug and alcohol rehabilitation varies on a person-to-person basis. Empathetic addiction treatment centers understand how personal drug addiction is. They also understand that everyone’s body is different.
These factors contribute to highly customizable detox programs. Addiction treatment centers want to help patients, first and foremost, and they won’t bind them into a detox program which is either medically irresponsible or psychologically harmful.
Myth Five: I Probably Can’t Afford Detox
Today’s drug detox programs aren’t reserved for rich people. No matter your location, you can probably find a program which meets your needs. Most substance abuse treatment programs are covered by medical insurance, too. Drug and alcohol treatment centers understand that they’re medical providers. Detox isn’t considered to be “prestige care.” Even alcohol rehab centers follow a medical-first mindset. Unfortunately, many don’t consider drug rehab centers and alcohol rehab centers to even be related in terms of medical, and psychological, approaches.
Myth Six: Most People Who Detox Relapse, Anyway
Many detox patients undergo following rehab treatment. Yes, drug rehab center professionals understand the prevalence of relapse during treatment. Relapse is normal—an even expected—during recovery. In fact, The National Institute on Drug Abuse compares drug addiction treatment to that of hypertension. Both require similar patterns of treatment. Both have medical relapses. Both require treatment adjustments.
Myth Seven: Detox is Only Available Through Inpatient Rehab Facilities
One of the most popular forms of outpatient detox is called “medically-assisted detoxification.” The myth of inpatient-only detox is well-founded, however. Years ago, detox options were incredibly limited. Fortunately, today’s detoxification processes can occur in a number of settings.
During medically-assisted outpatient detoxification, addicts schedule regular doctor’s office visits. While they visit, they either receive a detox medication dose, a new at-home medication prescription or both. Doctors in these programs don’t rush their patients. Studies suggest that addicts who receive long-term tapering off dependent drugs have a higher degree of recovery success. Similarly, those who have access to prescription drugs capable of easing withdrawal symptoms are more likely to succeed.
Myth Eight: Quitting Cold Turkey is Proven to Work
For the same reason people believe detox services are for the rich, many believe detox is a “money hungry” service. Once more, this is a manifestation of denial. Sadly, many addicted individuals try to quit cold turkey, suffering acute and post-acute withdrawal symptoms which ultimately result in relapse.
Medical experts agree on the positive impacts of detox. They also agree that cold-turkey detoxification is extremely dangerous. A Georgetown University Medical Center study examined morphine-addicted animals, treating some with low morphine doses while leaving the others unattended. The medicine-assisted animals had more protective proteins, as well as fewer damaging inflammatory cytokines, during recovery. The test animals who quit cold turkey, meanwhile, experienced damaged cytokines and experienced a rapid mental decline.
Myth Nine: Detox Side Effects are Unbearable
This is a common detox myth. Quitting cold turkey, however, is far more unpredictable and uncomfortable. Many recovery advancements have been made, making medically-supervised detox both comfortable and effective. Remember: Drug addiction rehab providers want you to be as comfortable, and as healthy, as possible. While detox may be a challenging process, it isn’t unbearable. Once more, medical and psychological providers accommodate patient needs—guiding them through the detox process.
The detoxification process is shrouded in mystery. A lot of potential patients have gained limited knowledge from books and movies. Others, meanwhile, have heard horror stories from family members or friends. Many of these stories, however, are simply untrue. It’s important to understand why these myths exist. In most cases, either addiction denial or lacking financial support is at play.
Let’s cover the different detox treatment options available. Every option is different in design, but every option provides custom-tailored patient support. Some, even, can be used in conjunction with one another.
Natural Detox Methods
While most addiction rehabilitation centers urge patients to pursue medicated detox, natural detox methods do exist and are a valuable resource for holistic centers such as Elevate. Natural detox, technically “cold turkey” is the simplest of detoxes. This said, it’s often specific to minor drug addictions. During a natural detox program, a patient stops taking their drug of choice.
Then, a medical professional assists the patient as they experience any withdrawal systems. Natural detox programs can be incredibly short—lasting only a few hours. Alcohol treatment centers commonly offer natural detox programs to help patients overcome the following symptoms:
- Shaking and tremors
While natural detox is possible, it’s not recommended for those suffering from harsher substance abuse. Individuals struggling with harder substances should pursue medical and medicated options.
Medical Detox Methods
Medical detox isn’t a short-term, inpatient procedure. Rather, it’s an ongoing outpatient detox process which can last for months—or even years. Those who live with opiate addiction may be prescribed with Suboxone or methadone. Both substances are heavily regulated by the FDA, and both can be used to help the individual achieve a life of sobriety.
Medical detox lets the addicted individual pursue their lives, not interrupting them with inpatient treatments. In some cases, however, a medical detox may result in a patient being referred to more intensive programs.
Medicated Detox Methods
While medical detox provides replacement medicine for an addiction, medicated detox offers non-addictive medication which responds to the symptoms experienced during a detox program. If a patient has detox-related insomnia, for example, they may be prescribed sleeping medication. Other patients may be prescribed non-addictive painkillers to handle withdrawal aches and pains.
Medicated detox is commonly found in inpatient programs. Its entire design is to help patients feel comfortable, rather than letting them suffer withdrawal symptoms.
Detox Program Types
While the above-mentioned methods can be mixed and matched to a degree, detox itself falls under two program types: Inpatient and outpatient.
Inpatient Detox Programs
Both medicated detoxes and natural detoxes tend to be included in inpatient programs. Inpatient detox programs take place in an addiction recovery center. During inpatient treatment, a patient is provided with round-the-clock medical supervision. Many inpatient detox programs don’t last long. Once a patient’s withdrawal symptoms subside, they’re free to enter the treatment and recovery phase of rehab.
This said, an inpatient detox program may require follow-up care. Severe drug addiction may require an immediate inpatient detox program. Then, the patient may need to follow a long-term recovery program. Patients who relapse during this program may need to undergo another inpatient detox program.
Outpatient Detox Programs
Outpatient detox programs are often more flexible than their inpatient program counterparts.
Because outpatient detox programs last for months—or even years—patients are expected to live either at home or in a sober living facility. Patients who’re a part of an outpatient detox program are required to check in with their doctor, or case manager, regularly. Upon check-in, medical providers make sure their medication dosages are correct.
Outpatient detox programs place a high focus on medication-weaning. Patients are given lowered dosages over time. In high hopes, they’ll get off the drug completely.
Finding a Drug Detox Program
Finding a drug detox program for you or a loved interested in getting treatment, it often feels like navigating your way through a maze. Thankfully, you’re in luck. Many resources are available, and your medical provider can assist you. Ask your therapist or physician for recommendations. Then, do your own research. Determine your treatment priorities, too. In doing so, you’ll have a much better chance at picking the program which best fits your situation.
Between natural and medical detox options, your options are quite flexible. You should, however, ask about program length. Every recovery option is different, and your personal lifestyle may warrant a custom experience. Fortunately, addiction detox is affordable. Find out if your program accepts insurance. Then, check out each staff member’s credentials.
It’s also a good idea to examine the amenities offered alongside your center’s services. Your treatment center can help you transition into a healthier lifestyle. You’re not limited by your past. Even if you’ve struggled with addiction, help is available. If you or a loved one shows signs of substance dependence or abuse, don’t hesitate to contact a provider today.