Detox from drugs and alcohol is often the first step for someone seeking treatment for addiction and substance use disorder, and it is often a vital first step in an addiction treatment continuum of care and journey of recovery from addiction. Typically referred to as detox, detoxification is a medically supervised and managed process that removes substances from the body, safely and comfortably helping individuals to manage withdrawal symptoms in a controlled healthcare environment. Detox aids a patient in finding physical and medical stabilization.
However, detox alone can often be detrimental to the treatment and recovery process. This is because patients often have the belief that once they are physically separated from the substances they are using or misusing and beginning to feel physically better, they don’t need to continue on with supportive and therapeutic treatment and recovery services. Because patients often refuse treatment, therapeutic, or recovery support after detox, they often fall into the revolving door of relapse and then back to needing detox again. Just going to detox can also place a patient in danger of overdosing if they relapse. This is because while the patient may have gotten through withdrawal, completed the detox process, and began to feel better physically, there is still mental and emotional stabilization that is needed.
Addiction is a chronic, progressive illness that impacts the brain. Healing the brain takes time and professional care and support. So, patients that believe that they are fine once getting through withdrawals and will not use drugs or alcohol again are in a dangerous and precarious position, because while their body may feel physically better, their brain is only in the very early stages of healing. A quick 5-day or 7-day detox, while helping the individuals to feel physically better, does not even allow for rational decision-making yet. Their brain is still negatively impacted by the often-extensive history of using drugs and alcohol, their pleasure centers in the brain are compromised, their ability to have resiliency in difficult emotional situations is greatly diminished, and they often are still suffering from mental health issues. Therefore, while detox is a vital first step in treatment and recovery, ensuring the patient is physically freed by the grips of active addiction, mental and emotional stabilization is also key in aiding the patient in making the best choices for themselves to continue on with treatment and a journey of recovery.
Here at Innovo Detox, we know that in order for a patient to be successful and find sustainable recovery, they will need to go on to continue receiving treatment and recovery services. This often means once they have detoxed here, they will move on to a residential treatment center or inpatient rehab. However, based on their individual situation, they may instead go on to options like an extended care treatment program, partial hospitalization (PHP) or intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment program. Other patients may be appropriate to enter a sober living or recovery house, see an outpatient clinician such as a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist, or engage in case management services or with a sober coach. Each patient’s aftercare is different and customized to their clinical needs and life situation. However, what is important is that each patient engages in a clinically appropriate plan of aftercare treatment and recovery support.
Unfortunately, many patients are resistant to aftercare. This can be because they feel physically better and believe that they are able to choose to just not use drugs and alcohol again. This could be because, consciously or subconsciously, they still want to use drugs or alcohol. This could also be because they simply don’t want to; that their brain is telling them they do not require any additional care or that additional treatment is inconvenient. This could also be because they are still dealing with mental health or psychiatric issues, making it difficult for them to choose what is best for them and choosing what they know they should do that is in their best interest.
These reasons are why extended stabilization is key in helping patients make the best decisions for themselves. Here at Innovo Detox, we help patients through withdrawals and find physical health, but we also offer extended residential stabilization for an additional week or two. This time allows for the patient to receive additional care, aid them in working with our psychiatrists, therapists, and counselors to gain insight and find stability in their mental health, begin any necessary medications for their mental health or psychiatric needs, and find emotional stability that will allow them to make rational decisions in regards to what is best for them to stay sober, find recovery, and continue on in the recommended treatment process. This additional week or two of residential stabilization, when a patient is not going directly into a 28-day rehab or inpatient level of care, better prepares the patient to engage in clinically appropriate aftercare, where they will be physically, mentally, and emotionally stable and be able to actively take part in the treatment and recovery process.
Ask anyone in active addiction and most likely they will tell you, “All I need to do is stop using drugs and alcohol and I’ll be fine.” This type of thinking is why so many patients only want to go to detox and then refuse aftercare recommendations and do not continue on with treatment. This is also one of the reasons why so many people relapse and then return to detox. Often, due to the nature of addiction and suffering from an illness that has so negatively impacted their brain and its pleasure and reward system, and therefore their decision-making, they simply do not have the tools or resiliency to make the right decision of what they truly need. And what they truly need, as anyone does that is suffering from a chronic illness, is long-term treatment, care, and support. So an extended stabilization period lasting two to three weeks allows patients to not only feel better physically, but to receive an accurate mental health diagnosis, get any mental health issues under control with medications and therapy, and find the necessary emotional stability to begin making the best decisions for themselves that will support them in finding lasting recovery and freedom from addiction.
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.