The first steps into addiction treatment can be nerve-wracking, and understandably so. Detox can sound terrifying, especially with the laundry list of side effects that can come along with it. However, the detox process is more straightforward than people think, especially with the assistance of medication and therapy.
In this blog, we share how to successfully prepare for detox.
What Happens During Detox?
Detox is the process of removing all remnants of drugs or alcohol from the body. When a person struggles with a substance abuse disorder (SUD), their body begins to rely on drugs or alcohol to function. During detox, the brain and body have to adjust to functioning without them.
Many detox programs are medically assisted and reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. These programs offer a greater chance of a successful recovery. When it comes to detox, it is best to attend a treatment center that provides rehab programs. Completing detox in a treatment center ensures that constant medical support from specialist staff is readily available. In turn, life-threatening complications that may arise can be mitigated.
Withdrawal symptoms experienced during detox can vary depending on the substance used. However, there are several common symptoms. These can include:
- Muscle aches
- Mood swings
These symptoms can begin shortly after the substance was last consumed and typically persist for upwards of a week. However, this timeline can vary depending on factors such as:
- The amount of drugs or alcohol consumed
- The type of substance abused
- An individual’s mental and physical health
Long-term side effects of detox can last for months. These include mood swings and continuous craving for drugs or alcohol. This may sound intimidating, but help is always available for those who need it.
Preparing for Detox
When entering a center or rehab program for detox, there are several things that you can do to prepare yourself. Below, we have shared a number of our top tips.
Do Some Research
The word ‘detox’ can sound intimidating at first, but knowing what the process is can erase a majority of that fear. Depending on the addiction you require treatment for, you’ll be able to research the medication that may be during your detox. You may also find some information that shares what you can expect from your program.
You can research other topics such as:
- The type of program you’ll be entering - Is it residential, outpatient, or partial hospitalization?
- What services does your program offer? - Do they offer different types of therapy? Do they have alumni services?
- What support can be accessed during treatment? - Do they have support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA)?
By knowing what to expect, you can prepare yourself to begin treatment.
What To Bring? Pack Some Essentials
When you enter a rehab program, you will be welcome to take several essentials with you. Often, rehabs will provide a list of approved items that they welcome clients to bring into the center with them. They will also share what items are prohibited.
Cell phones and electronics can sometimes be banned, but don’t panic - you won’t be completely cut off from the outside world. While the thought of not having your cell phone to hand may be alarming, limited access to electronics will help to minimize distractions, giving you the chance to focus solely on detox and rehabilitation.
Commonly banned items in rehab centers include:
- Any items containing alcohol as an ingredient
- Opened vitamins or supplements
- Food or drink
Important things to remember when entering rehab can include:
- Appropriate clothing
- Medications in the original packaging
- Unopened toiletries
Surround Yourself With Support
Support is a vital part of preparing for detox. Feeling supported by friends and family members can help people stay motivated when in treatment. Having them involved throughout the recovery process can additionally reduce the risk of relapse.
For many people in recovery, drawing on support from loved ones can make the process much easier.
Tie Up Any Loose Ends
Loose ends can nag at you throughout detox, so it’s best to prepare by tying them all up before beginning your program. This can include ensuring bills are paid while you’re away or letting school or work know where you’ll be so that you don’t have to worry about falling behind.
Ask yourself what extra loose ends you may want to tie up. For example, do you want to inform people that you’ll be attending rehab so that they don’t worry? Or would you prefer to keep it quiet? Be sure to arrange as much as possible to make the entrance and exit from treatment as smooth as possible.
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Keep a Journal
Journaling can be an excellent tool for your mental health. Keeping a journal throughout the detox stage of treatment can help keep you motivated. It can also assist you as you look to the future and map out what your goals are.
From your day-to-day thoughts to planning your day or noting down how you feel at that moment, you can use your journal as a space to reflect on what has become easier throughout the detox process or what has become more complex. This can help beyond the detox process and well into recovery, as well as helping with therapy.
Prompts you can use to kickstart your journal could be:
- How do you draw strength from your loved ones?
- What are your ambitions for the next five years?
- Finish the sentence, “my life would be incomplete without…”
- What three things do you know always put you in a bad mood, and how can you change this?
Take Care of Obligations
Consider what obligations you have before you enter a rehab program or treatment center. Do you have someone that you take care of, such as an elderly parent? Have you informed work or school where you’re going to be?
According to the Family and Medical Leave Act, you are entitled to up to twelve weeks of medical leave, so you do not have to worry about losing your job while receiving treatment.
Taking care of any binding obligations can set your mind at ease during treatment and focus on rest and recovery.
Get Help Today
Detox is a huge step that will improve both your and your loved one’s life. Being prepared for your stay can help you to get the most of your treatment.
Contact us today to see how we can help you through detox safely and compassionately.