10 Things to Look for in a Detox Center

mother discussing detox options for drug addiction with her daughterProfessional detox is a form of medical treatment, and it should therefore only be provided under the supervision of a medical professional. During the process of medical detox, a physician or nurse supervises clients who are going through withdrawal, with the aim to resolve life-threatening crises, control withdrawal symptoms, and offer support and encouragement. The right detox center can make all the difference. Here are 10 things to look for in a facility:

  1. A good reputation: If a facility has a history of providing clients with excellent care, and a good track record of former clients in long-term substance abuse recovery, it’s likely it is a good choice.
  2. Respect: Clients should have a say in the type of care they receive, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Each client should be respected, and individuals should have the option to disagree with clinicians’ care recommendations. SAMHSA recommends informing clients about their care plan and customizing treatment to individual needs.
  3. Comfort: The facility, its program, and staff should be tailored to the needs of those requiring drug or alcohol detox. In addition to managing withdrawal, it should provide clients with private rooms and amenities like nutritious meals, round-the-clock support, and complementary therapies. Also, consider the attitude of the staff members, as they should help clients to feel welcome and comfortable.
  4. Use of medications: Some medications can reduce cravings and help to prevent relapse, such as buprenorphine for opioid withdrawal. Oftentimes, medications may be used to treat co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. In addition, medications may be used on an as-needed basis to address specific withdrawal symptoms, such as anti-nausea medications to treat vomiting. A survey by SAMHSA found that from 2007 to 2013, 37-45 percent of individuals in the US seeking treatment for substance abuse also had a co-occurring mental health issue.
  5. Location: The facility should be located in an area conducive for the person to feel at ease. A secluded getaway removes clients from life stresses and substance-taking influences. Detox centers close to home make it easier for family members to visit and provide support and encouragement.
  6. Qualifications of staff members: Those working at the detox center should be caring, professional, and properly credentialed. Be sure to talk to physicians, nurses, and therapists during the initial tour. They should be willing to answer any questions or concerns one may have, and they should have extensive experience in helping individuals detox from the substance of abuse in question. All detox centers should have medical professionals on site around the clock.
  7. Continual monitoring: Guidelines from the New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services call for continuous monitoring and evaluation for up to 48 hours when a client is in withdrawal and acutely ill. Once stabilized and discharge criteria are met, they can be moved to inpatient or outpatient services with medical supervision. The guidelines also state that the person must complete the prescribed detox treatment.
  8. Counseling: Individual and group counseling can incorporate a variety of treatments and strategies that support the detox process. One common type, according to SAMHSA, is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It initiates the process of changing the thoughts, behaviors, and feelings of those suffering from addiction. Long-term recovery beyond detox is often dependent on the person’s outlook, so CBT can prove critical to recovery. While intensive treatment generally doesn’t begin until withdrawal is complete, some therapy can begin during the withdrawal phase of care.
  9. Payment options: In many instances, insurance may at least partially cover the cost of detox. Ensure that the detox center in question accepts insurance and clarify the specifics beforehand. Some detox centers may offer payment plans so clients can pay off the cost of care over a set period of time.
  10. Realistic promises: Any facility that promises a “cure” for addiction or “instant results” should be avoided. Likewise, detox centers that use “rapid detox” or “ultra-rapid detox” methods should be considered suspect since these methods have been shown to be dangerous. Instead, the facility should focus on recovery as a long-term process and use evidence-based treatments. The program should integrate an expectation of relapse over the course of recovery. Since detox is not treatment on its own, it should be followed with a comprehensive treatment program with a heavy focus on therapy.
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