Our partners who specialize in couples’ rehabilitation offer the service of acute inpatient detoxification. This is the highest level of detox care available and also the most thorough. Many of the couples who are admitted to this high level of care are extremely addicted to drugs or alcohol, and have usually used the substance to which they are addicted to within the last 24 hours. Commonly, individuals still will be under the influence upon admittance into a facility, and can start to experience very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when they arrive. These withdrawal symptoms can be quite painful and severe. If that is the case, a medically managed detox program will be the safest and most comfortable route for the patient. In this first stage of recovery, it is critical that clients have access to the entire spectrum of behavioral and physical healthcare our partners provide. Clients going through the detoxification process often need around the clock monitoring from a staff member. This way someone can address their severe withdrawal symptoms and administer medication to aid the body in the detox process, as well as to make the client comfortable.
THE STAGES OF DETOXIFICATION: EVALUATION
The process of detoxification from drugs or alcohol is comprised of three stages. The first step is evaluation which takes place during the client’s intake to the facility. This will include a drug test that will show what substances and the amounts are currently circulating in the client’s system. A trained staff member will perform a very high-level assessment of the client to determine if there are any underlying factors that have influenced their addiction. This assessment will hopefully identify such factors as a dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. The clinician will then be able to discuss results and provide feedback to the long-term therapist, which will jump start the patient’s recovery process.
DUAL DIAGNOSIS: WHAT IS IT?
Estimates vary as to how many people with an addiction problem also have a co-occurring disorder. Commonly, most healthcare professionals believe it is at least 60 percent.
The co-occurring disorder can be several things: PTSD, bipolar, depression or anxiety, for example. People with drug or alcohol problems who also have these co-occurring disorders may find themselves trying to “medicate to the middle,” so to speak, to make themselves feel better.
It is important to understand these co-occurring disorders, diagnose them properly, and address them immediately with medications or other forms of therapy. Otherwise, recovery is destined to fail because the client will continue to feel the need to medicate.
Although conditions such as PTSD, depression, bipolar and anxiety are considered mental disorders, we understand many of these illnesses flare up when someone is victimized. We are here to help our clients move past whatever trauma has caused them to use and help them live the peaceful lives they seek and deserve.
The second stage in the detoxification process is stabilization. In this step, the client is guided through the physical process of detoxification. This step will be different for each individual client, and depends heavily on what type(s) of substances were being abused. Certain substances absolutely require a medically guided detox. This is to keep the patient safe because the detox could be damaging if they were to stop cold turkey. It will prevent the patient from becoming critically ill during withdrawals. Other times medication may be used to keep the client comfortable during detox and this will vary. Each facility will have their own policies on medically managed detox.
Medications used during detox include:
Benzodiazepines for anxiety. These medications also can be addictive, however, and affect the brain much the same way as alcohol.
Disulfiram to reduce alcohol cravings
Opioid replacement therapy such as methadone, buprenorphine, clonidine or naltrexone when detoxing from heroin, fentanyl, or other opioids.
Dexamphetamine to lessen cravings from those withdrawing from crystal methamphetamine. Dexamphetamine works much the same as opioid replacement therapy. It helps those addicted to meth get over the intense cravings that make sobriety so difficult for them.
OTHER WAYS WE KEEP YOU COMFORTABLE DURING DETOX
Many of our clients tell us they enjoy detoxing in a house as opposed to a sterile hospital environment. We offer modern conveniences such as Netflix and Hulu as well as comfortable accommodations and good food. Many people caught in the grips of addiction forget to eat when hungry. It’s a habit we try to squash immediately, as good nutrition and a feeling of well-being is critical to recovery. During detox, it’s more critical than ever not to put a HALT to your recovery, and yet that’s when you’re most at risk. HALT is a recovery acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. You don’t want to be any of these things in recovery, as they push you to use again.
We put a halt to HALT the moment you walk through the door.
The third, and final, stage in the detoxification process is guidance. This last step is very important to securing the client’s long-term recovery. The client will be guided into a comprehensive addiction treatment program, where they will receive the care plan they need to become sober. For example, a person addicted to opioids who also is suffering from depression is going to have much different needs than a person with PTSD who also is an alcoholic. It’s also important for the person in treatment to learn to better understand themselves and what triggers them to use
A process called sand tray therapy allows our clients to illustrate thoughts and behaviors by etching ideas in sand.
The C.J. Jung Institute of Los Angeles explains it this way. “Developed by Swiss Jungian Analyst Dora Kalff, Sandplay is a form of therapy that gives both child and adult clients the opportunity to portray, rather than verbalize, feelings and experiences often inaccessible and/or difficult to express in words. Sandplay also provides a balance to the extraverted, verbal, and outer-focused everyday world.”
This therapy allows people who have experienced trauma, for example, to process those feelings without speaking, which can be painful. Many people who have undergone EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) will explain it is simply too brutal and painful in the way it brings memories to the surface.
The initial drug detoxification program does not dig deep enough to address the complex reasons of why a client struggles with addiction. Even though a quick assessment is provided, there is not a significant amount of time set aside to address the initiators. A more thorough exploration of the societal factors and complex behavioral issues that lead to addiction is needed. That is why this last step is so crucial. The clients need to continue into a treatment program after detox so they can get to the reason of why they use drugs or alcohol to cope with underlying issues. This is accomplished through proven methods such as talk therapy, sand tray therapy and more.