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Common Drug and Alcohol Detox Questions

Drug Detox Questions and Answers

What is Drug or Alcohol Detox?

It is the process of administering and monitoring medical treatment to people who are entering a drug or alcohol addiction recovery program in order to remove the addictive chemicals from the bloodstream.  Medically-supervised detoxification will lessen withdrawal symptoms.

How safe is it to detox at home?

It is recommended that you talk to a doctor before attempting to detox at home without supervision.  However, if clear guidelines are available, detoxification at home is allowed. Generally speaking, physician supervised, inpatient detox is more effective and safer.

How long will drug detox last?

The period varies from one patient to another. The length of time taken for drug detox depends on the amount, the type and duration of the substance abuse. The method of detoxification used will also affect the length of time taken.  Rapid detox can last only a few hours, while traditional detox process can last several days.

Does drug detox hurt?

Yes. Certain withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, vomiting, muscle pain, bone aches, and blurry vision can be very unpleasant.

What are some of the most common withdrawal symptoms?

The symptoms include headache, depression, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, anxiety and reliability, sweating, chills, seizures, confusion and hallucinations.

How many types of detox programs are offered?

There are two general types of detox programs: outpatient and inpatient detox programs. At inpatient facilities, there is usually a choice of rapid detox or traditional detox.

What is an outpatient detox program?

Outpatient detox program involves self-administration and monitoring of the detoxification process by the patient at home. It is usually referred to as non-medical detox.  Most outpatient detox situations are coordinated by a physician.

What is an inpatient detox program?

This program requires the patients to check into a facility such as a rehab facility, a hospital or detox center.  They may not leave until the entire detox process is complete.

How long does treatment take place?

How long the treatment will take depends on patients' specific needs based on the degree of addiction.  Detox can take between 4 to 5 days to complete. After this, it is recommended that the patient enroll in an IOP or inpatient rehab program for at least 60 - 90 days.

How do I start the rehab process?

The first step is the most important.  This step involves contacting a detox center, which is always available 24 hours a day.  Most rehabilitation centers offer free program consultations that will guide you on the treatment options available along with their costs.

Will my insurance pay for detox treatment?

Most of the private insurance policies cover a certain percentage of the treatment costs. Your employer may also have an Employee Assistance Program provision that is in place to help employees struggling with addictions.

How much does drug detox treatment cost?

Since detox is usually integrated into a subsequent inpatient or outpatient rehab program, it is difficult to determine the exact cost of detox alone. Generally speaking, outpatient detox will cost about $10,000 per month while inpatient therapy can cost upwards of $25,000 per month.

Can I enter and leave from the detox center as I please if am in an inpatient program?

No. There are laid-down procedures that provide guidance on such actions. Unless there is an urgent matter to be attended to, the patient is generally not allowed to leave the facility until they are successfully discharged.

Which support groups can I join after completing my detox program?

These include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Chemical Dependency Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery. Your rehab facility will refer you to the appropriate local support group.

Is it dangerous to suddenly go "cold turkey"?

Withdrawal symptoms of sedatives and alcohol can specifically trigger seizures and delirium tremens, which can be fatal at times. However, withdrawal symptoms for opiods though painful, are rarely fatal. Always speak to a physician before attempting to stop "cold turkey".

At an inpatient detox center, is the patient's confidentiality guaranteed?

Yes. The patient right to privacy is respected. Like all medical providers, HIPAA guidelines must be followed. However, if the patient’s actions pose a grave danger to him or other individuals, the relevant parties will be notified.

Is cigarette smoking allowed in the course of the treatment?

Generally, the answer is no, but the policy varies from facility to facility.  The vast majority of rehab centers are smoking-free zones. However, nicotine patches are provided to patients with tobacco cravings to help them quit the habit. Research indicates that patients who stop using tobacco while in a rehab have higher chances of recovery success.

If I think that someone needs detox treatment, what can I do to help?

If you feel a person uncontrollably abuses drugs or alcohol, please contact us so that we can discuss ways to help such a person.

What products are not allowed in an inpatient rehab center?

Generally speaking, forbidden items include laptops, pornographic materials, tobacco products, alcohol, weapons, iPods, computers , cameras, cell phones and other items likely to cause harm to you or others, and also slow down the progress of the rehab program.

Can friends and family members visit during the rehab treatment time?

Yes. However, there are set dates and times for visitors and friends to visit. This is done to avoid influences from friends and family on the treatment program. The patient and his or her treatment team can discuss the visitation privileges.

What should patients pack for their stay in the rehab center?

It is recommended that patients bring personal items such as sneakers, workout clothes, toiletries, reading material, and comfortable clothing.

Do patients have roommates during their period of stay?

It depends on the facility.  In most of the rehab centers, each room is set for two beds.

What are co-occurring disorders?

This refers to a dual diagnosis. A person with dual diagnosis has at least two different types of mental or behavioral disorders afflicting him or her simultaneously. A person with alcohol or drug addiction and behavioral and a psychological condition such as anxiety disorder, depression or bipolar disorder has a dual diagnosis. Such conditions can be handled by specialized rehab therapists.

How does one know if he or she really needs treatment?

The officials in detox centers will hold an interview with prospective patients. Tests are also done to evaluate whether the person is eligible for detoxification. If the levels of toxins circulating the patient’s body are very high, then detoxification is necessary.

How successful are the detox programs?

If admitted to the suitable detox center, the success percentage averages about 80 percent. However, the success is also determined by the patient's will to undergo long-term addiction treatment and make a change for the better.

Are patients allowed to contact the outside world during detox?

Each detox center has its own rules and guidelines. Some centers consider items such as iPods, laptops and cell phones a distraction during the detox program. However, most centers allow patients to reach out to the outside world, with specific guidelines and monitoring.

Should the family be involved in a patient’s treatment?

For a successful recovery process, family involvement is very critical. Most detox facilities have a set time for the family members and friends to visit and also participate in any relevant lectures, workshops, and counseling sessions.

What are the factors that influence the cost of a detox program in a rehab center?

These include the length of the program, the location of the detox center, the amenities provided, and the type of program.

How do I pay for the detox program?

You can pay through your insurer if the policy covers this kind of treatment. You can also pay by yourself through credit cards, cash or through wire transfer. Many facilities offer self-pay discounts and payment plans.

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