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Healing, Strengthening, and Advancing the Lives of LGBTQ People Seeking Recovery

Drug Detox – Necessary but Not Sufficient

Drug Detox – Necessary but Not Sufficient

Drug detox is a necessary first, and potentially life-saving, step in a comprehensive rehabilitation program. The focus of detoxification is physiological healing after long-term drug addiction – first, through stabilization and then through detoxification.


What is drug detox?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), after stabilization, the focus of detox is on the processes of the body as it rids itself of the drug of choice and treating the withdrawal symptoms that result. Withdrawal is often characterized by dangerous symptoms ranging from mild anxiety to life threatening delirium tremens (DTs). Professional care and monitoring is essential during the detox stage. Detox alone may help the patient to stop abusing drugs, but without treatment and aftercare, relapse will soon follow and a return to full-blown addictive behavior is rarely far behind. It is important to note that detox is not a whole treatment for drug addiction. Because addiction is both psychological and physical in nature, it is imperative that patients undergo psychotherapeutic treatment to address the issues of cravings and changes that were made in the brain by chronic abuse of the drugs. Detox alone may help the patient to stop abusing drugs, but without treatment and aftercare, relapse will soon follow and a return to full-blown addictive behavior is rarely far behind. Any comprehensive program will have these three main steps: detox, treatment, and aftercare. When evaluating a program you must consider the robustness of all three steps.

Step 1 – Detox

Facilities that are dedicated to the withdrawal from alcohol offer many benefits, including, around the clock monitoring and the administration of helpful drugs. Patients at professional detox facilities are often introduced to recovery groups. Counselors help patients determine the best strategy for continued success once detox is complete.

Step 2 – Treatment

The next step, treatment, is often a stay of varying length at a rehab facility. Despite the devastating personal and societal effects of drug abuse, only a small percentage of those considered to be candidates for treatment actually pursue this course of action. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health: “23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009 (9.3 percent of persons aged 12 or older). Of these, only 2.6 million—11.2 percent of those who needed treatment—received it at a specialty facility.”  The first two steps of recovery, detox and formal treatment, are indispensable – but are only the beginning.

Step 3 – Aftercare

The process of aftercare is where the hard work happens. Upon completion of treatment, the individual should have an increased self-awareness. With the help of counselors, the individual often has an increased awareness of personal strengths and vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are triggers which may lead to. The following are important aftercare components relating to relapse prevention: learning about your triggers, coping with stressors and cravings, thinking through the outcome of a relapse, and keeping a lapse from turning into a relapse.

Here at La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center, we offer a comprehensive program.

We provide detox and treatment and support aftercare. It’s through this holistic approach that we are able to reach our degree of success with clients. Send us an email or call us (1.888.903.9898) for more information.

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