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Typically, before a person enters a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program, they must detox from all substances of abuse. In some instances, a comprehensive treatment program offers detox services whereas other times, the person must detox in a separate program prior to entering therapy.
Detox helps the body become stable, so they can begin to manage cravings. Sometimes, a person will be prescribed medication management, such as buprenorphine, or a small dose of benzodiazepines. Medication can help ease the body through a tapering process and off the physical dependence on the drug.
Once the body no longer physically needs the drug, the individual can then focus on the psychological aspects of their addiction and work to overcome them in therapy.
Many people need medical oversight while they detox. Medical detox is the safest way to end a physical dependence on a substance since medical supervision is provided around the clock.
Many people who attempt detox on their own end up succumbing to cravings for the substance of abuse or relapsing due to the discomfort of exhaustion, headaches, nausea, and other withdrawal symptoms. Relapse during withdrawal is particularly risky and can lead to overdose.
When people think of substance abuse treatment, they may think of luxury resorts or long hospital stays, both of which can be expensive. People who struggle with substance abuse and addiction often face financial difficulty, and many may be unemployed or homeless.
As a result, there is a great need for inexpensive or free drug detox programs, which may be offered by a state agency or local charity.
Medicaid provides health coverage for underprivileged populations. This federal program distributes funds to state governments, which spend that money on the creation of their own localized programs, including drug and alcohol detox and rehabilitation options.
The federal Medicaid program currently guarantees coverage for substance abuse treatment for those with little or no income. Going to a doctor or hospital and asking for detox assistance can lead a person to a social worker or case manager who can manage financial resources like Medicaid or applications for charity assistance to cover detox.
Contacting the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) can help an individual locate appropriate treatment in their area as well. DHHS is a public service that provides information on private or nonprofit detox and rehabilitation centers as well as information on detox services for those who are low income or unemployed.
Veterans of military service in the United States have several veterans’ benefits, including drug and alcohol detox services. The Department of Veterans Affairs will assess veterans who are struggling with addiction and prescribe a course of treatment based on their substance of abuse and level of need.
Volunteers of America (VOA) offers a free detox program based on the Social Model. While this form of detox relies on a social network of volunteer supporters rather than medication or medical oversight, it is an option developed specifically to help those who do have no financial resources, including those who are homeless.
Charitable organizations, including the Salvation Army and Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others (JACS), offer group meetings to help people discuss and overcome their addiction; however, these programs rarely offer support for detox specifically. In the same vein, recovering individuals can find support via Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
Although group meetings may offer encouragement if an individual is attempting to go through detox on their own, they do not provide medical support. For some substances of abuse, such as alcohol, this can be physically dangerous, as withdrawal symptoms include potential seizures or changes in heart rate and blood pressure.
It’s imperative to consult a doctor before embarking on this type of detox, and in certain cases, such as with alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal, self-detox attempts are not recommended due to the potential for life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Again, a hospital social worker can provide further information on free or low-cost physicians or programs that can help with withdrawal.
There are absolutely free or low-cost detox options available for those in need.
A person struggling with addiction may need to enlist the help of friends and family to begin the search for these resources, but they are out there. Government programs at the federal and state level provide coverage for detox services, and hospital social workers or case managers can help an individual find these resources.
Online resources like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Psych Central offer online search tools for behavioral and substance abuse treatment programs, some of which may offer free or low-cost services. Other facilities may offer flexible financing options, such as payment plans.