Detox is Just the First Step

detoxificationThose of us working in the addiction treatment and rehabilitation field have seen too many instances where people with substance abuse issues feel that all they need is detox. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of those relapse quickly and are back in detox again.

There is a reason why there is a continuum of care that lays out all of the best practices for effectively treating addiction. Specific therapies aside, detox should be followed by a residential rehabilitation programs in most cases, then a type of outpatient care and finally some kind of ongoing recovery support group or system.

People addicted to drugs and alcohol feel terrible, and the substances exacerbate these feelings, even though they may be temporarily numb when they’re drunk or high. So when they get into a detox center and make their way through the process, they naturally start to feel a lot better. The mistake here is to think that just because they feel better than before that they’ll be able to now face life without going back to the drugs and alcohol, but nothing changed except for some clean time. They still haven’t addressed things through counseling and therapy that led to the addiction in the first place, so those problems still exist. And, since they haven’t learned methods of coping with cravings and other relapse prevention methods, they typically wind up doing what they did before – get drunk or high.

So, before you let your loved one convince you all they need is detox, take the time to speak with a professional about the need for inpatient treatment, where a full recovery plan can be developed and implemented.