What To Expect at Rehab

When someone conjures an image of rehab, he or she might picture individuals sharing in group therapy, eating communal meals or attending 12-step meetings. While these often are major components of treatment, they do not depict the rehab experience in its entirety. The resident must first stabilize physically before proceeding to any other facets of the treatment process. The first phase of care is usually detox, which can last anywhere from three days to three weeks, depending on the person.

When someone decides to enter residential treatment for drug and/or alcohol addiction, also known as Substance Use Disorder (SUD), a medically supervised detox is often necessary in order to safely handle the withdrawal symptoms of early abstinence. Detox is often a requirement because if a person abuses a substance for an extended period of time, their body is usually physically dependent on it. Suddenly stopping the use of the drug can cause a great degree of discomfort and pain. This is why it’s crucial to undergo detox in a safe, caring environment.

Detox Protocol

Detox is somewhat of a tricky process. The ultimate goal is a healthy, stable substance-free client. However, to put it plainly, navigating the symptoms of withdrawal from drugs often involves more drugs. Of course, the goal is to remove all addicting medicines from the person’s system, but in doing so doctors often integrate the use of some completely non-addictive medicines, and occasionally some mildly addictive medicines that are intended for short-term use and closely monitored by the medical professionals administering the detox.

For example, a person undergoing alcohol detox is often prescribed a benzodiazepine (also commonly referred to as “benzo”), in order to alleviate anxiety. It’s important to distinguish, however, that the specific benzos usually prescribed during alcohol detox are considered long acting, so their withdrawal symptoms are less intense and less likely to appear during a temporary period of usage. Some examples of these types of benzos are Librium, Valium or Klonopin. Short-acting benzos are a different issue in that these are often very addictive, and many times the reason why a person might be in detox in the first place. An example of a highly addictive short-acting benzo would be Xanax, which is usually prescribed for short-term usage but often abused for longer periods of time or combined with other substances. Oftentimes, someone may enter detox with a primary diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder, but also have a dependence on Xanax. These types of clients may wonder if they will be able to continue taking Xanax while they are detoxing. Usually addictionologists advise getting off Xanax in a safe setting like detox anyway so, it can then be concluded that one cannot expect to continue taking Xanax during any kind of detox. Longer-acting benzos, such as the examples listed previously, are considered more effective and less likely to cause irritability in the client once they have worn off. Detox protocols vary though, depending on the person, the drug and how long he or she has been using it.

Benzos of any kind, including Xanax, are not considered an appropriate withdrawal medication when someone is trying to relieve opioid dependence. Therefore someone in treatment because he or she is struggling with an addiction to painkillers or heroin is more than likely not going to be prescribed benzos. Sometimes, clients have co-occurring benzo and opiate addictions, in which case there is even more evidence that benzos are not an ideal form of relief for opiate addicts. In fact, benzos can often worsen the withdrawal symptoms of weaning of opiates. According to a study from the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal, “Co-dependent patients reported a more severe withdrawal symptoms than patients withdrawing from opiates alone. Co-dependent patients had significantly more severe opiate withdrawal symptoms. Concurrent benzodiazepine withdrawal exacerbates opiate specific withdrawal symptoms.”

Why Luxury Rehab?

The biggest takeaway from any discussion about detox is the importance of getting help in a formal treatment setting. Not all residential rehabs offer supervised detox so if someone is conducting research for drug and alcohol treatment, it’s crucial he or she also evaluates whether detox is going to be necessary. There are cases in which someone is not yet physically dependent on a substance but still in need of formalized care. But someone in need of detox, behavioral and mental health treatment and aftercare—in other words, the full continuum of care—luxury residential treatment facilities are the ideal option.

High-end rehabs offer a plethora of the amenities one might expect in luxury treatment, such as swimming pools, Jacuzzis, five-star cuisine, on-site yoga and fitness training and acupuncture or massage, just to name a few. While certainly perks, those spa-like assets aren’t the crux of why these facilities deliver the best quality care. It’s a high staff-to-client ratio and client-focused curriculums that really make these settings special. Truly individualized treatment takes into account the unique circumstances of each person and designs programming around the individual. Personalized attention and dual diagnosis support are a guarantee. During a detox regimen, this amount of one-on-one caregiving is essential.

Recovery Malibu is a great example of a residential treatment facility that offers high-end care, fantastic amenities, including flat-screen TVs in every room and plush bedding, and one of the most qualified staffs in the field of addiction medicine. Doctors are on-site regularly and nurses are available around the clock. Residents are monitored especially closely during detox, ensuring their health is restored so that their mind can focus on the work of early recovery. Deciding to go to treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is a big step. Finding a facility that has the client’s comfort in mind, first and foremost, should perhaps be one of the biggest factors in the decision making process.