All successful efforts at drug rehabilitation begin with detoxification, either at home or as part of a drug abuse treatment program. Drug addiction is a process of substitution, where a drug has been used to artificially stimulate normal chemical changes in the body, and the body has come to rely on this artificial stimulation. During the first few days of being off a drug, the body can undergo painful, and sometimes lethal, symptoms as it clears out toxic drug residues and relearns how to carry out normal chemical processes.
Drug detox can happen anywhere, but going “cold turkey” at home has been shown to have a 95% failure rate.(1) Inpatient and outpatient programs at drug abuse treatment centers have been shown to have greater success. The most successful drug rehabilitation includes counselling, therapy, and medication to relieve the symptoms of withdrawal.(2) There are a variety of prescription drugs available through drug abuse treatment programs depending on your addiction. They are usually given orally and designed to safely do three things:
Suppress withdrawal symptoms, and
Allow for clear thinking by not getting you high.(3)
Outpatient Drug Abuse Treatment
Outpatient detox is a slower process that can take weeks or months. Drug rehabilitation physicians must start with higher dosages and request frequent visits to insure the symptoms of withdrawal do not cause relapse. What follows is a long-term tapering off of the detox drug. This kind of drug abuse treatment can be effective for some addictions but is unsuitable for others. Outpatient drug rehabilitation relies much more on the patient’s commitment to counselling and therapy programs. Cocaine, crystal meth, and marijuana addictions are candidates for outpatient drug abuse treatment, given the patient’s high level of commitment and motivation.
Inpatient drug rehabilitation has been shown to be the most effective, though this success rate depends on the quality of the drug rehabilitation facility. Initial detox can last from 6-14 days. Depending on the severity, outpatient drug abuse treatment can last for years. After the initial detox and therapy, recovering addicts move to outpatient drug rehabilitation programs for relapse prevention.
Inpatient drug abuse treatment offers several advantages for successful detox. The change of atmosphere can provide relaxation from the stresses of daily life. The most successful drug rehabilitation centers place an emphasis on relaxation and good nutrition. Supervision from medical personnel trained in drug abuse treatment can respond quickly to emergencies.
Choosing the Right Drug Abuse Treatment Program
A physician trained in drug rehabilitation should be your first stop to answer this question, but here are some pointers. Addiction to heroin and prescription opiates require medical detox to overcome withdrawal symptoms. Inpatient detox will be followed by outpatient drug rehabilitation for months or years. Buprenorphine may be prescribed for some opiate addictions. Methadone is required for more severe addictions, like heroin.
For other addictions with less serious withdrawal symptoms, outpatient detox is an option. This should be accompanied by therapy from drug rehabilitation specialists. All else being equal, inpatient detox offers the best chance of success for drug abuse treatment.
The best drug rehabilitation centers will offer 24-hour nursing, nutritional counselling and exercise, and qualified, on-site drug abuse treatment physicians and counsellors.(4) A database of addiction treatment facilities can help you locate one in your area.(5) Remember your commitment is key to quitting the addiction. Research the facility to insure it can help you do that.