Acknowledging an Alcohol Abuse Disorder is only the first of many difficult steps toward recovery. In the United States, addiction affects 1 in 7 people, over 40 million total. Many addicts fear reaching out for help and consider entering an addiction recovery center unnecessary, even while experiencing severe life disruption from their substance or alchol abuse. It’s important to provide the right information to those struggling with addiction without stigmatizing their condition, and to take the fear out of initiating the rehab process.
Preparing for Treatment
When first contacting an addiction recovery center, patients will usually encounter a case manager. They will handle the initial steps of the admissions process, such as determining the scope of the addiction (and its severity), acquiring medical and financial information, planning treatment programs for the incoming patients, and creating a discharge plan for successfully rehabbed patients.
More importantly, a case manager will serve as a point of contact for patients, giving them someone who closely follows their wellbeing and sees the challenges they face during rehabilitation.
Entering a Facility
Successful recovery requires a patient to part with their old habits, ways of life, and even self. The quickest way for a patient to start off on the wrong foot is to enter a facility unprepared for treatment. While facilities have different policies about what is or isn’t allowed, there are some general items that shouldn’t be brought upon admission:
- Alcohol, drugs, and drug paraphernalia
- Products that contain alcohol (like mouthwash or cologne)
- Scissors and other sharp objects
- Lighters (for smokers, staff can provide them if necessary)
- Shoelaces, lanyards, or ropes of any kind
- OTC or unlabeled medications
Staff members are required to confiscate these items (or similar ones); bring them can only increase the difficulty of treatment.
The Detox Process
Detoxifying the body and mind is a physically, mentally and emotionally challenging part of recovery, but it’s the most necessary. During rehab, patients will go through withdrawal. The severity depends on their history and frequency of drug use. Withdrawal symptoms can vary widely; not every patient experiences withdrawal the same way. For this reason, most facilities shy away from a one-size-fits-all approach.
The detox process in an addiction recovery center typically involves several stages:
- Inpatient evaluation: After comprehensive medical examination, staff develop a detox program that will be updated throughout a patient’s journey.
- Normalization: To chart a patient’s improvement toward stable health, staff monitor any changes in vitals and neurological status to catch potentially life-threatening adverse reactions, such as seizures, cardiovascular problems, and delirium.
- Lifestyle transformation: When the detox process is over, the patient can begin the next step of recovery — focusing on creating healthy habits and relationships without the need for substance abuse or coping mechanisms.
Staying the Course
Having an addiction doesn’t mean having to struggle alone. Ongoing support from family and friends is an important part of the healing process, and addicts who have a strong support network fare better in the long term than those without one. When an addict decides to enter a rehab program, this network becomes a crucial part of the journey.
In addition, it’s better for patients to avoid interacting with family or friends that enable their addiction. Common examples of this behavior include:
- “Bar hopping” with an addicted friend or spouse, even if acting as a designated driver
- Making excuses for an addict’s absences from work or school that result from their intoxication
- Telling others that withdrawal symptoms or hangovers are a temporary illness instead of SUD
Rehabbing can take weeks or months, but recovery is a lifelong commitment. While patients may have diverse struggles and needs, all addiction recovery shares the same initial step: reaching out for help.
If you or someone you know struggles with substance abuse, call Alcohol Services to discuss treatment options.