Drug and alcohol withdrawal treatment, which prevents symptoms caused by abrupt withdrawal of substances to which patients are physically addicted, is the first phase of substance abuse rehabilitation treatment. Alcohol/drug withdrawal treatment centers provide inpatient or outpatient treatment that is aimed at eliminating physical cravings for alcohol and drugs so that intensive counseling and psychological rehabilitation treatment can begin.
At some point during the process of his or her addiction disorder, almost every person who has become addicted to alcohol, drugs or a combination of alcohol and one or more mind-altering drug reaches a point where he or she is mentally, psychologically, and morally ready to quit. An addict in that state of realization might well attempt to stop drinking or taking drugs, only to find that stopping is physically impossible. This is not a sign of weakness or lack of willpower; it is simply a result of the way alcohol and many mind-altering substances become habit-forming. These substances affect transmitters and receptors in the brain, and the brain becomes accustomed to the presence and effects of mind-altering drugs and alcohol once they are consumed on a regular basis. Therefore, withdrawal symptoms can result when the brain is denied the substances for which it has developed a need. When these substances are abruptly discontinued, a long-term addict's brain cannot send the messages that it needs to send to the various organs of the body in order for the body to function properly. The garbled messages in turn cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can cause an addict to return to using alcohol or drugs even when he or she is emotionally ready to stop using them.
This is where alcohol/drug withdrawal programs come in. Such programs, whether administered on an outpatient basis for milder addictions or in inpatient alcohol/drug withdrawal treatment centers as part of an overall, intensive rehabilitation program, treat the physical need for drugs and alcohol by substituting them with safer medications that affect the same neurotransmitters and receptors that alcohol and mind-altering drugs affect. Once the patient is assured that he or she will not suffer physically by avoiding drugs and alcohol, guidance and therapy are provided to deal with the emotional, psychological, and environmental factors that resulted in a need to turn to abuse of alcohol or drugs.
Please call our nationwide alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation and treatment information helpline at 1-888-935-1318 Who Answers? if you or a loved one needs support to deal with the physical effects of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Our experts are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer any questions you have regarding alcohol/drug treatment programs that promote a healthy, drug-and-alcohol-free life.
Treatment Centers, Programs, and Facilities
Alcohol/drug withdrawal treatment centers include hospitals as well as residential rehabilitation centers. Whenever possible, hospital treatment is usually avoided in favor of the more relaxing and pleasant atmosphere of a residential treatment center that provides luxurious accommodations in a vacation-like setting so that patients can focus on getting well. The medical specialists who deal with treatment of physical addiction issues at residential treatment centers are usually nationally and internationally renowned experts with years of experience, who also recognize the value of a relaxing therapeutic session during the medical treatment, or detoxification, process. Hospital detoxification is reserved only for very severe cases of physical reaction to the abrupt cessation of alcohol or mind-altering drugs, or in the event of a medical emergency or other underlying conditions that require hospital facilities.
Choosing a Program
A 2016 Recovery Brands survey asked patients leaving a recovery facility what attributes they viewed as the most vital to consider when looking for treatment. The highest-rated priority was the clinic's financial practices, for example payment options and insurance accepted. They also placed more importance on the facility's offerings (food quality, recreation, housing options, etc.) after treatment.
Those entering treatment should examine a facility's monetary policies as well as the clinic's offerings to help with their final decision.
Outpatient alcohol/drug withdrawal programs are also available. While residential treatment programs can administer fast-acting substitute medications for treatment of physical addiction issues, outpatient programs use slower-acting medications such as methadone or buprenorphine. Methadone is an older substitute drug that can itself become habit-forming, so it is administered only in heavily regulated special clinics by physicians who specialize in medical treatment. Buprenorphine, usually used together with naloxone in a combination product sold under the trade name Suboxone, is prescribed or administered in a regular office setting. Nevertheless, practitioners who offer Suboxone treatment usually are licensed to provide this form of addiction treatment by the states in which they practice. Any addiction specialist, such as a psychiatrist or neurologist, who offers outpatient Suboxone treatment for physical withdrawal symptoms, should also provide rehabilitation counseling or be part of an outpatient center that offers counseling services.
Inpatient alcohol/drug withdrawal treatment programs normally include intensive counseling and behavioral therapy as soon as the medical detoxification process has succeeded. Outpatient alcohol/drug withdrawal treatment centers may offer counseling together with buprenorphine or methadone treatment, or they may refer patients to counselors and support groups once they are certain that the patients are obtaining the proper results from their outpatient medical treatment.
If you or a loved one needs assistance in choosing between inpatient and outpatient alcohol/drug withdrawal programs, we are here to help. Please call our nationwide 24-hour drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment helpline for information on how to best help yourself or the one you care about overcome addiction.