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FAQS for Drug Rehab

If you’ve made the sometimes difficult decision to seek rehabilitation for a drug addiction, then no doubt you have questions you need answers too.  Many of these we see asked on a regular basis by concerned people, so we’ve assembled the most common below.

What makes a good treatment center?

Trying to find the right treatment Center can seem boggling- the most important part is that it feels a safe and supportive environment offering a full range of services. Look for medically supervised drug detox, individual and group counselling, nutritional and recreational guidance and aftercare. Look for valid credentials with experienced staff. Remember that, before admittance, you should be fully evaluated at the facility, introduced to treatments and have a plan tailored to suit you put in place.

What types of treatment are offered?

Variety can be confusing when you’re seeking help. Most different levels or care are available to help individuals through different parts and stages of addiction. For most drugs you will need to begin with detox, to cleanse the drug from the system and physically reintroduce your body to a drug-free state. This can be done Partial hospitalization [24 hour monitoring] or outpatient [living off site while monitored during the day. Partial hospitalisation is an intermediate care level offered between these two stages.

What treatment should I seek?

You’ll be better placed to pick a treatment option by asking the following:

What is my history with drugs?

  • How deep is my current drug intoxication?
  • How well has past treatment gone?
  • Do I have concurrent factors like physical pain or depression?

These are all questions you must consider to establish the right treatment protocol. Matching levels of care to patient is a tricky task, especially as budget and circumstances like dependants to care for or inflexible work has a sad influence too. Very generally, the less advanced the addiction the more flexible program you can attend, like outpatient treatment. Intensive forms of these programs can be just as appropriate for the right circumstances. Psychiatric Quarterly did find that those with no support network and/or mental illness with drug use typically benefit more from Partial hospitalization treatment. No co-occurring disorder and a strong support network was needed for outpatient therapy. Most treatment Centers will help you make this decision via an assessment.

I’m scared of withdrawal!

Withdrawal can be a scary and uncomfortable experience. Some withdrawals produce only discomfort, while others can be life threatening. It depends on your physical and mental health as well as the drug used and the extent of abuse. This is a partial list of some general withdrawal symptoms which can occur:

 

  • Anxiety
  • Bone pain
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Involuntary movements
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Loss of sleep
  • Runny nose
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes

This will also come with a strong craving for the drug, which can overwhelm your determination to quit temporarily. This is why a medically supervised detox is a great way to both minimise discomfort, avert risk and help keep you on track.

Is withdrawal dangerous?

Some withdrawals can be dangerous, yes. Most will be if you attempt dangerous strategies like withdrawing by yourself without support, or stopping certain drugs ‘cold turkey’. It’s difficult to impossible to predict every side effect of withdrawal, especially where multiple addictions or factors are involved. Fever, seizures and hallucination can threaten your life. This is why Centers such as the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence strongly suggest medical supervision. This enables trained professionals to evaluate you at every stage and help minimise your symptoms as well as provide emotional support.

How long will detox take?

Detox is your first stage of recovery, where the toxin is physically cleared from the symptom. This will vary between patients and depending on your pattern of drug use. In general, it can range from a few days to a few weeks. This Treatment Episode Data Set suggests the average is a four day stay. Do bear in mind that some drugs need to be tapered safely and cannot be stopped quickly. Some opioid withdrawal processes need replacement therapy to help curb craving and ease withdrawal.

You keep mentioning co-occurring disorders?

Sometimes referred to as dual diagnosis, this refers to incidents where a patient suffers mental illness alongside their substance abuse issues. It is critical in these cases that both factors are addressed during treatment, or the patient will face high chance of relapse. Rehab should preferably be integrated so that the treatment for both can be sought at the same facility and a treatment plan developed that ensures both aspects are tackled is devised. Drug abuse often masks the symptoms of mental illness, making treatment difficult. A psychological assessment of any incoming patient is critical for this reason.

 

How many people suffer mental illness with their addiction?

Estimates vary, but a large percentage of adult drug users met the criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders. The Journal of Addictive Disorders suggests a number as high as 70%. This leads to conditions of unemployment, poverty, homelessness and incarceration.

Explain Partial hospitalization treatment to me?

Partial hospitalization treatment is a residential based treatment, where the patient enters a supervised environment [hospitals or dedicated facilities] to receive their drug treatment services. They will live at the facility fill time and are under 24/7 supervision in a safe, secure and drug-free environment. It’s ideal for heavy users or those with multi-layered treatment needs and dual diagnoses. It’s also ideal if you have relapsed before.

Explain outpatient treatment to me?

Outpatient treatment occurs where the patient remains living at home or at a transitional living Center while having access to the day services of a facility, accessing medication management, education, counselling etc. These are a great transition point for those leaving Partial hospitalization therapy, those in the early stages of drug abuse or with high motivation and good support structures.

What is the difference between medical and non-medical Partial hospitalization therapy?

In a medical Partial hospitalization program, you will also receive pharmaceutical therapy from the facility as well. These could be to make withdrawal easier, or simply to make recovery easier. In a non-medical facility, medical supervision is lower and you will likely not receive pharmaceutical therapy. Techniques focus on behavioural modification and therapy, and where medication is recommended it will be prescribed by professionals outside of the facility.

What is the difference between medical and non-medical Partial hospitalization therapy?

In a medical Partial hospitalization program, you will also receive pharmaceutical therapy from the facility as well. These could be to make withdrawal easier, or simply to make recovery easier. In a non-medical facility, medical supervision is lower and you will likely not receive pharmaceutical therapy. Techniques focus on behavioural modification and therapy, and where medication is recommended it will be prescribed by professionals outside of the facility.

How much will it cost me?

Drug treatment costs will vary widely depending on facility and intensity of care. If you need to seek low or no cost care Community health Centers, non-profit hospitals and publically funded facilities will be able to help. Forbes Magazine suggests paid programs start at $1500 and can stretch to $8000 or higher. Many facilities will accept Medicare or make treatment plans. Private facilities can start from $20000 and range above $60000. Some will accept insurance, while others operate cash only.

Partial hospitalization facilities will cost more than outpatient, as the staff costs are higher, and some services may come at extra cost [optional therapies, private accommodation or prescription medicine].

There are programs to suit you no matter how much you can afford. Look for a quality facility with flexible payment options to assist you.

Will they take insurance?

This will depend on your health plan- some do not cover rehab services- and the facility. Some will take insurance and others won’t. Some may limit the time you can remain at the facility. Discuss this question with your insurance as well as your intake counsellor before admission.

Are these Centers worth it? Will I be successful?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that those who complete their programs and continue to seek activities that support a sober lifestyle [counselling, support groups and 12 step programs] will, for the most part, reach their recovery goal. Statistics for completion can be grim- Stats from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show that around half of individuals complete them.

A successful recovery isn’t a statistic, however. It’s about shaping a new life that supports your health in all ways.

Must I travel?

This depends on where you choose to seek treatment. Travelling out of state can be wise, as it distances you from the scenarios where you regularly incorporated abuse into your life. If you have job or family obligations, however, this may not be possible. It’s an individual decision to make.

How do I tell my family/ how do I get my loved one to treatment?

It can be difficult to approach a loved one about treatment. Older thinking was that only the addict themselves can make the final decision, and that approaching them would alienate them. However, we now know your intervention can be a critical part of the recovery process.

However, it’s critical that this is approached in a calm and non-judgemental way. Addicts develop denial about their issues quickly. Mayo Clinic suggests a formal intervention is the most effective way to encourage the addict into treatment.

How does an intervention work?

There’s many ways to handle an intervention, and it should be tailored to the individual and their circumstances. Some addicts need a gentle approach while others need a firm hand. It’s vital to make sure the addict knows that they are harming their life and the loved ones around them, that a plan for recovery is made, and that they properly assimilate the consequences of not seeking help [marital separation, custody changes, job losses etc.]. Seek the assistance of a professional intervention specialist to help you plan the intervention, choose the right approach and prepare you for potential reactions. Working with a professional will set you up for the best possible success.