The confusion of detox vs rehab will naturally arise in the patients’ mind when they decide to stop using the drugs. It is because addiction doesn’t go away so easily. It induces physical withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, indigestion, muscle cramps, etc.
The psychological withdrawal symptoms could be restlessness, irritation, discontentment, anxiety, and fear etc. There is a critical need to heal the patient’s physical and psychological symptoms.
Detox (detoxification) is a process in which the physical dependence on substances (narcotic drugs) is reduced or eliminated. The doctors remove the toxic elements from the body and blood of the patient using specific treatments, injections, and medications.
The patient’s physical craving for drugs gets reduced in stages until it reaches the manageable stage.
The detox programs are generally performed in hospitals or specific detox centers.
The intensity and duration of the detox program depend on the level and duration of addiction and dependency, drug combination and alcohol, frequency and concentration, etc.
At the end of detox, the patients will be almost free from the toxic elements (byproducts of drugs and alcohol) in their body. It is the first step to get sober.
The patients can resume their normal life after detox. Consumption of nutritious foods and fruit juices will restore their health gradually but surely.
Many of the patients coming out of detox may have a tendency to relapse. They start to use drugs once again. Their addiction may continue until the body and mind are no longer capable of enduring the impact. So they go back to detox. It could become an endless cycle.
The level of care within the detox centers (or hospitals) could be limited to the duration of the program. In the end, the patient may get counseling and advice from a qualified clinical psychologist.
Detox has made the patient’s body free from toxic elements and eliminated the physical craving. But it has not reduced or eliminated the mental craving.
It is almost impossible for the patients to live without the substance (without help) due to mental obsession.
Twisted Thinking: For years the drugs gave them solace and solution to depression and anxiety. They had felt elation, enjoyed their hallucinations and found life to be joyful and interesting.
Moreover, drugs gave them freedom from fear. It is the twisted thinking among most of the serious drug addicts.
Unmanageable Life: Powerlessness over drugs had made their life unmanageable. They find life to be more unmanageable because the “crutches” called drugs are no more existent.
The psychological withdrawal symptoms may force them to go back to drugs.
Rehab could be inpatient outpatient type, though most of the doctors advise for inpatient type because they are better and chances of relapse during the program are nearly zero.
A rehab program is the combination of medication, psychotherapy, physiotherapy (if required), and rehabilitation through contact programs after the programs.
The treatment options in drug rehab can also act as detox methods for removing the toxic elements from the patients’ body and blood. They also provide the medications to reduce the physical craving for substances.
Duration of treatment depends on the same factors as the detox program.
Most of the drug rehabs will have psychotherapy treatments. Many of the serious addicts may have entered the zone of psychosis in which they have lost contact with the reality of life and the external world.
Initial Listening: The psychotherapist listens to the emotional trauma experienced by the patients during the rehab program. It reduces much of the mental burden of the patients.
They can narrate how their first experience with the drugs started and how it transformed into an addiction. The listening sessions may or may not include the personal life story of the patients and their family and social relations.
Cognitive Therapy: It is also known as relapse prevention therapy. The psychotherapist will try and engage the patients’ conscious and subconscious minds into a conditioning program.
The duration could be for a few days or weeks, depending on the intensity of psychosis (in the subconscious mind which keeps stressing on the importance of drugs to the patient), fear, violent behavior, and other symptoms.
The psychological treatment options in drug rehab can gradually but surely make the patients free from the mental craving for drugs.
Exploratory Therapy: It is a therapy which digs deep into the past. It could go to childhood days as far as the patient can remember. The psychotherapist tries to probe into some of the details like
The psychotherapist will try to search for the possible links between these factors and the addition of the patient at a later stage life. If found his task will be cut off those links at the subconscious mind and the conscious mind.
Sharing-Therapy: The sharing by the healed and recovered addicts about their experience can be highly influential. It can be useful to keep the patients sober and sane in their life after they come out of the rehab center.
12-Steps Therapy: The NA 12-step programs within the drug rehab centers can transform the thinking process in the minds of the recovering patients. It starts from the step-1 where they accept their powerlessness over additions and the unmanageable conditions in life.
Contact Programs: Most of the drug rehab centers have regular contact programs for the recovered patients who go out into the social, personal, family, and professional life after completing the rehab program.
In some chronic conditions, the patients may need to be inpatients in the detox centers to remove the toxins and restore a basic level of stability. Then they can come into the rehab for psychotherapy.
The patients can also directly enter the drug rehab center since the treatment options in drug rehab are equivalent to detox and much more.
Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D, is the CEO of Detox of South Florida, Inc and medical professional focused on addiction. A veteran in the medical field with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a consultant for many South Florida Rehab centers. Patients travel from allover the US to seek his help with addiction and Hepatitis C treatment.
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