The rigors of drug and alcohol addiction inflict severe and often permanent damage to our brain, body and central nervous system. The very nature of chemical dependency is that it renders us unable to make our own decisions because our brain chemistry has been essentially hijacked by these drugs. Without proper help, the withdrawal process can be extremely difficult, if not impossible to manage. This is why each drug or alcohol addiction treatment program must begin with a thorough and medically supervised course of detoxification or “detox”. Detox helps patients become medically stable prior to rehab and can address long-term health issues that have emerged as a result of substance abuse.
Many treatment centers refer patients to nearby facilities because they are not able to offer detox on premises; others are able to offer the complete treatment experience all at one location. Either way it’s important that treatment begin with this critical first phase. Medically supervised detox offers experienced physicians and nurses who are trained in the withdrawal process, and can mitigate the severity of their withdrawal symptoms. They can also intervene in the event of a medical emergency, which as many of us know, is not out of the realm of possibility during the first few days of the recovery process.
Treatment, at its core, is a multilateral effort that must address the many different aspects of our addiction. It does us no good to receive care for the physical problems we experience without any behavioral context for how we can achieve long-term sobriety. On the opposite side of the coin, we must first make sure we are healthy enough to embark on rehab before we can think clearly and establish coping mechanisms. We must be willing and able to accept the complete treatment package if we’re to successfully overcome our substance abuse. The first step is making sure we’ve arrested the physical aspects of our addiction.