When you’re battling a substance abuse disorder, you want to take all the proper steps to ensure that you have the best chance at recovery and staying sober. For many people, this means going through a detox program before entering rehab. If you’ve been asking yourself, do I need detox, here are some reasons to consider as you start your journey to sobriety.
What is Detox?
Detox is the process of getting drugs or alcohol out of your body. Medically-assisted detoxification can safely help manage withdrawal symptoms, so many people opt for this method.1 The type of drug and how long someone has been addicted will determine the detox process. It’s important to note that everyone’s experience with detox is different when it comes to withdrawal symptoms.
What is the Detox Process?
While the detox process can vary from center to center, it typically includes these basic steps:
Patients will undergo a series of evaluations that can include blood tests and a screening for physical and mental health issues. Blood tests can help to determine the number of drugs in a person’s system. During the evaluation, the rehab clinic will also take the patient’s medical history.
The patient next has to be stabilized with medications or therapy. The goal in this step is to prevent any harm to the patient and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
3. Preparing to Enter a Treatment Facility:
Patients are educated about the treatment process. At this time, a decision is made about whether inpatient or outpatient treatment will be most beneficial.
Since everyone’s detox experience is different, these steps may vary, but this is an excellent general roadmap of what to expect.
Why Do I Need Detox Before Going to Rehab?
Many people question why they can’t go straight into a rehab program and bypass detox. Skipping detox is not a good idea since many withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. When you go through a medically supervised detox, you will be monitored every step of the way.
Here are several reasons why detox before rehab is often recommended:
- 24-hour medical supervision is on-hand in case of emergency
- Allows for better management of withdrawal symptoms
- Reduces the risk of relapse
- Can pave the way for effective long-term treatment
Some people think they can detox on their own at home before entering a treatment facility. But quitting cold turkey without supervision can lead to severe issues such as seizures and dehydration. Within a supervised detox program, these types of symptoms can be controlled safely by trained professionals.
How Can a Successful Detox Prepare You for a Successful Rehab Stay and Long-Term Sobriety?
When the drugs are completely out of your system, and withdrawal symptoms are under control, you can focus on the work that needs to be done in rehab to become sober. For many, this requires therapy to determine what led them to that path in the first place. But, this can’t begin until you have control of the substance.
If your detox is not successful, you can’t expect your rehab to be successful. One process needs to be complete before the other one can begin. If you’re relapsing during the detox process because you’ve chosen to do it yourself, you’re not going to be mentally or physically prepared for rehab.
When you don’t go through a detox program, you also risk continuing to be around the triggers that may have led you to your addiction. This includes people and places that may have encouraged your substance abuse addiction. If you’re in a detox program, these triggers are no longer within your reach. Removing these triggers can help many people focus on the work that needs to be done, rather than enduring the constant distraction and temptation of using again.
One factor to consider and research that shows that long-term rehab services can significantly improve someone’s addiction. The longer someone spends in residential treatment, the less likely of relapse.2
At Ocean Hills Recovery, we are committed to getting people the help they need to live a sober life. We provide both drug and alcohol detox, supervised by our medically-trained staff.
After completing the detox process, we provide therapy and group and individual treatment based on the Twelve Steps. We have found that this combination works best to fight withdrawal and keep people sober.
It’s important to note that fighting addiction is a gradual process that takes patience and hard work. We are here to help you every step of the way. For more information on our programs, contact us today.
 Principles of Effective Treatment | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.