Why Detox and Rehab?

Detox and RehabIf you’ve never had a friend or loved on in rehab, or had to deal with addiction before, you may not understand why someone would need to detox and then also go to rehab. A common thought is that if you detox from the drugs, then you are good to go. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as, ‘well, I don’t have drugs in my system, so I don’t want them anymore!’ Oftentimes, someone will complete a detox in a standalone facility, or by themselves (which by the way, is dangerous and never recommended), or even in a hospital, only to find themselves alone after the fact and still having the desire to use with no tools or resources to say, ‘no, thank you.’ Or maybe they don’t have the desire to use right away, but without the right tools, they won’t have the power to say no when the desire does appear.

What’s the difference between detox and rehab?

Detoxification from alcohol and/or drugs is often the first point of contact with the addiction treatment system and the first step to recovery. Detox is the treatment an acutely intoxicated and/or dependent person goes through to remove the physical effects of the drugs and/or alcohol. Detox requires medical monitoring of the person due to life-threatening complications that can appear if the patient attempts to self-detox. Some of the physical issues that may occur during detox are DTs, convulsions/seizures, nausea, dehydration, aggression, suicidal thoughts, depression, paranoia, pain, anxiety, hallucinations, heart failure, etc. Any combination of those withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening and dangerous to the person going through the detox and also others around them.

Choosing a detox center with medical supervision allows for detox to be a little easier on the body of the addict. They’ve already put their body through some pretty bad things by using drugs and/or alcohol and it’s important to keep them stable physically while they detox or withdraw from the substance(s). Sometimes medications are used to aid in a safe detoxification. We’re not talking about over-sedation or just letting someone sleep through their withdrawal, however. Detox isn’t a walk in the park, but with the right medical treatment and care, it can be done in a safer and more comfortable manner. It’s also important to realize that if a person is left alone to withdraw from drugs/alcohol, their desire to detox may go away once it gets a little too uncomfortable. They may choose to self-medicate with the very drug/alcohol that they are trying to get off of.

Rehab happens after detox – sometimes right away (which really provides the best chances of recovery), and sometimes a little while later. During the rehab program, which can last 30, 60, 90 days or even longer, a person will receive ongoing therapy for an intensive period of time to promote recovery. Inpatient rehab is when the addicted person lives on site of the rehab to receive therapies and is regarded as a more successful recovery program than others. Because the person is physically away from the drug and alcohol, or stimuli, the temptations to use are gone, while they focus on their physical and psychological recovery from addiction. During rehab, an addicted person will receive multiple therapies to identify triggers for use and develop strategies for coping with those triggers in order to minimize relapse. By the completion of the inpatient rehab program, the goal is to achieve a higher level of social functioning by reducing risk factors and creating protective factors in order to decrease the possibility of relapse. Recovery doesn’t end at the end of rehab though. Relapse prevention is key to a successful recovery and sometimes transitioning from an inpatient rehab center to a sober living environment is also beneficial.

Perhaps the easiest way to think of it is this: detox is for your body, but rehab is for your mind and soul. If someone successfully completes a detox, their journey toward recovery is not over. Choosing a facility where you (or your friend or loved one) can safely detox and then transition directly to rehab will provide you will the foundation for a successful recovery.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64119/#A85332

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