Addiction treatment begins with detoxification, which is the process by which the body rids itself of toxins. Generally speaking, doctors consider drug detoxification to be a medically-managed procedure. An addiction medicine physician skilled at creating a regiment that eases one’s transition into recovery oversees the process. At this phase, the kind of drugs the addict was abusing informs the medically-managed treatment and the protocols administered by the prescribing doctor. Some drugs are easier to detoxify from, others less so, and produce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that range from moderate to severe.
Opiate withdrawal, for example, which includes withdrawal from drugs like heroin and Oxycontin, produces severely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. In most cases, the withdrawal symptoms that accompany opiate detoxification are so severe that without a medically-managed detox, an individual’s chances of achieving long-term sobriety are minimal. Other detoxes, such as detoxification from alcohol, absolutely require the supervision of a medical doctor, without which in rare cases can be fatal. Following drug detoxification, treatment professionals assess the client to determine the best course of treatment.
Detox Precedes Diagnosis
The medically-managed component of addiction treatment also addresses other mental health issues that may contribute to an individual’s condition. This is pertinent for a number of reasons. Most importantly, once the detox phase is complete and the addict is physically relieved of their detox symptoms, the shape and nature of the addiction treatment services provided will be an extension of what has been employed during the primary care phase. In situations in which disorders are co-occurring, professionals deem the client to have a dual diagnosis. Successful dual diagnosis treatment then requires expertise across several disciplines in addition to a treatment team specifically trained to deal with all of the clinical factors that present in this particular scenario.
Detox is the First Step
The co-occurring disorders that most commonly attend addiction are conditions such as Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or some form of Anxiety Disorder (there are, of course, a host of other disorders an addict might be suffering from, but that lay outside the scope of this article). It should be stated that detoxification is but the first step an addict takes into recovery a larger world. The commitment necessary to detox and physically get one’s self clean must carry-over into the later phases of treatment, without which recovery is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain.
In order to facilitate this process, ARC’s staff employs a combination of clinical expertise, in addition to the best, evidence-based techniques and procedures available, which greatly increases an addict’s chances of stabilizing and maintaining long-term recovery. In addition to the competency of ARC’s treatment team is the community ARC creates for its clients. This community is inclusive, dignified, and flexible in a way that honors the needs of each individual. This community is absolutely vital to the well-being of the addict and ultimately becomes its own therapeutic tool. This aspect of treatment, although in some ways intangible, is nonetheless a crucial element of an addict’s experience in treatment and their ability to enjoy prolonged recovery.