What to Expect from Drug Rehabilitation?

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Expect from Drug

28 February, 2018

If you’re reading this, the chances are that you’re considering drug rehabilitation for either yourself, a family member, or somebody you love.  There are many questions that you’re likely looking for the answers to, in order to help you make your decision.

We’ve written this article to explore some of the questions that you may have if you are considering this important step.

What Should I Expect from Addiction Rehab Centers?

The treatment center that you select should be one that is capable of providing a supportive and caring environment with a full range of services. This should include individual counseling, medications if required, nutritional advice, recreation facilities, and aftercare.  It should also have a dedicated, qualified and experienced medical team who is able to offer a full evaluation prior to admission. This should include both medical and psychological testing to determine the most appropriate level of care, whether it should be full inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization or outpatient recovery.

What Type of Treatment Should I Expect?

There are many different types of care available when getting sober but almost all programs will begin with a period of detoxification. This is to ensure that the drugs or alcohol that you have ingested are cleansed from your system and you are prepared to embark on the journey to recovery.

This treatment might take place as an inpatient, which will involve 24-hour care, or possibly (if clinically indicated following your initial assessment), treatment as an outpatient. If you are being treated as an outpatient, you will live off-site but receive recovery services from the same team that you would if you were being treated as an inpatient.

In some circumstances, partial hospitalization might be indicated – although this is less intensive than inpatient care, it is more structured than the program that you would expect as an outpatient.

Which Type of Treatment Will I Require?

One of the purposes of the initial medical workup that you will receive prior to commencing treatment is to determine which type of treatment is most appropriate for you. The factors that affect this will depend on what type of drugs that you have used, whether you are currently intoxicated, what your history of drug or alcohol abuse is like, and how well you have responded to any treatment previously.  It should also take into consideration any co-occurring health conditions that you have, either physical or psychological because both are likely to affect the outcome of your treatment.

Some patients may have issues with mental illness, and when this is combined with drug addiction, specialized intensive treatment will be required that addresses both conditions simultaneously.  Doing so will ensure the greatest prospect of successful recovery, but it can be very complicated to match the patient with the correct level of care – it is important that this initial assessment is carried out by a qualified professional.  In the correct circumstances, outpatient treatment can be just as appropriate as an inpatient care.  Psychiatric Quarterly recently found that inpatient treatment was far more effective for patients who had a lack of social support or serious co-occurring psychiatric disorders – however, patients who had good support networks, and no severe co-occurring psychiatric history, outpatient treatment was a very effective solution.

 Will Withdrawal be Painful or Uncomfortable?

Depending on the extent of the drug users’ previous drug abuse, the current level of intoxication and their physical and psychological well-being, drug withdrawal symptoms can range from mildly discomforting to possibly life-threatening.  As you begin to detox, you may experience a variety of side effects which can vary from irritability, fatigue, insomnia, watery eyes and runny nose all the way through to more severe reactions such as seizures, confusion, involuntary body movements, and hallucinations. Drug withdrawal is almost always accompanied by serious cravings for the drug that you are withdrawing from and these cravings can be so powerful that they hamper your ability to quit.

One of the most important functions of a rehab facility is to manage withdrawal symptoms and the cravings which are associated with them.  This allows the patient to remain as comfortable as can be expected.  There are a variety of ways to make withdrawal easier which might include pharmaceutical therapy, nutritional programs, and psychological counseling.

Is Withdrawal Ever Dangerous?

Drug withdrawal can be dangerous if it is attempted in isolation. Doing so with the correct medical support and care minimizes these dangers. It is very difficult (if not impossible) for an isolated user to be able to predict the side effects they might experience while they are withdrawing particularly if multiple drugs, alcohol or co-occurring disorders are involved.  In some circumstances, it can be life-threatening and as stated by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, drug detoxification should only be managed by medical professionals with extensive experience in the treatment of addictions.  It is usually understood that undertaking a professional detox treatment program will also vastly increase the chances of a successful long-term recovery.

Alcohol Detox – How Long?

One of the purposes of detox is to assist in clearing the toxic chemicals from your body.  How long will be required to complete this process is variable and depends on many factors. These include the patient’s medical history, the amount, type of drugs that they have taken, and duration of the addiction.  For some users with light addictions, it’s possible that detox may only be for a few days.  As a guide, the Treatment Episode Data Set from 2006 showed that the average length of stay in detox was around 4 days – however, around half of the users who took part in the study did stay longer and required longer to detoxify.  For those with a long-standing history of drug abuse or heavy users, it is entirely possible that detoxification may take weeks – or maybe more.

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