Drug rehab FAQs
If you’re seeking drug rehabilitation for yourself, a family member, or someone you care for, one thing is for certain: there’s no shortage of questions you’re seeking answers to. We’ve compiled the following list of frequently asked questions from those considering drug rehab:
Before you’re admitted to a treatment center, you should have a full evaluation by professionals who will develop a specialized plan of care to meet your needs. From the admission process through detox, rehab, and discharge planning, your treatment center should provide support throughout your recovery. You should be introduced to a variety of treatment options, from residential care to partial hospitalization and outpatient services.
Matching the individual patient with the right level of care can be a complicated task. In general, patients with a more severe history of drug abuse and patients who are physically or psychologically fragile require a more intensive level of care, such as inpatient treatment or a partial hospitalization program. Those who are less advanced in their addiction and who are motivated enough to keep up with a more flexible program may be referred to outpatient treatment.
An intensive outpatient program can be just as appropriate as inpatient care in the right circumstances. A comparative study of patients in inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, published in Psychiatric Quarterly, found that inpatient treatment was typically more effective for patients with co-occurring psychiatric disorders and a lack of social support. Outpatient treatment was just as effective for patients who had a solid support network and no serious co-occurring disorders. This decision should be made only after careful assessment by an addiction treatment specialist.
- Loss of sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Muscle spasms
- Bone pain
- Involuntary movements
Drug withdrawal is usually accompanied by strong cravings for the drug of choice. These cravings can become so powerful that they overwhelm the user’s desire to quit. One of the primary goals of medical detoxification is to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, so that the patient will be as comfortable as possible. Withdrawal can be made easier through medical monitoring, pharmaceutical therapy, fluid replacement, nutritional supplementation, and psychological support.
For heavy users, or those with complicated substance abuse histories, detox may take a week or more. Detoxification from certain prescription drugs, including sedatives or tranquilizers, may require a more extended drug tapering process to gradually ease the user off the medication and prevent serious side effects. Detox from narcotics like heroin, morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone often requires opioid replacement therapy with a drug like methadone or buprenorphine to ease withdrawal and curb cravings.
Because the effects of drug abuse can often mask the symptoms of mental illness — and vice versa — identifying and treating co-occurring disorders can be challenging. To be effective, treatment must begin with a complete psychological assessment of the patient in order to determine the best course of recovery. In addition to substance abuse counseling, patients with co-occurring disorders usually require intensive psychotherapy, psychiatric medication management, and other services that are tailored to their mental health needs.
Inpatient care is often recommended for patients who have a history of heavy drug use, for those who have serious co-occurring health concerns, or for those who have relapsed after previous experiences with treatment.
Outpatient services are appropriate for individuals who have graduated from inpatient treatment and who are ready to make the transition back to the community. This level of care may also be the right choice for those in the early stages of drug abuse who are still functioning effectively and who are highly motivated to quit.
In non-medical residential or inpatient treatment, patients are monitored as they go through the withdrawal process and progress into rehab. However, the level of medical supervision is lower, and medication therapy is generally not provided as part of treatment. Non-medical drug treatment emphasizes behavioral modification, individual therapy, and group therapy instead of pharmaceutical interventions. Patients participating in non-medical treatment would typically be followed by physicians or therapists outside of the facility if psychiatric drugs or anti-addiction medications were recommended.
The services you receive will also affect the cost of treatment. Inpatient and residential programs typically cost more than outpatient services, due to the increased costs of staffing, housing, medical monitoring, and other expenses. Services like extra counseling, certain prescription medications, private accommodations, or optional therapies may come with an additional cost.
Regardless of your financial circumstances or your ability to pay, there is a level of drug treatment that fits your needs. Look for a facility that provides quality treatment from compassionate, highly credentialed professionals at a reasonable rate, with a variety of flexible payment options.
It’s important to discuss these questions with your insurance provider as well as the intake counselors at the center where you’re seeking admission. An intake counselor or case manager should be available to answer your questions and to find out whether your insurance company will authorize payment for the facility’s services.
When you approach your loved one, try to be as calm and nonjudgmental as possible. Even if you have strong feelings and painful memories associated with your loved one’s drug abuse, it’s important to remember that addiction is now considered to be a chronic disease, similar to diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. In the early stages of drug addiction, an honest talk could be all it takes to persuade someone to go to rehab. However, most drug addicts develop a sense of denial about their problem as soon as they start using seriously. In most cases, by the time the problem becomes apparent, a one-on-one conversation isn’t enough to stop the damage.
The Mayo Clinic states that a formal intervention may be the most effective way to help someone who’s in denial about his problem, or who refuses to get treatment. An intervention is a planned meeting in which the friends, family, or coworkers of an addicted person meet with the individual in order to encourage him to get help.
- To make your loved one aware of how her addiction is harming her life and the lives of those around her
- To discuss a plan for recovery, including a specific drug treatment program
- To present consequences if your loved one refuses to go to treatment, such as a marital separation or changes in a custody agreement
To maximize the effectiveness of an intervention, it’s best to hire a professional intervention specialist to help you plan and stage the meeting. Intervention specialists can help you outline your approach, choose the individuals who will be present at the meeting, and develop a proposal for treatment, or a treatment contract. An intervention specialist can coach you in effective communication techniques and prepare you for the various reactions you might face when you talk to your loved one. Although it’s possible to confront your loved one alone or with a small group, you’ll have the best chance of getting the outcome you want if you work with a professional from the beginning.