What Happens After Drug and Alcohol Detox?

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Table of Contents

Your Next Steps After Detoxing

Detoxing is the process of weaning your body off of the drug or alcohol that is in your system. Detox occurs under medical supervision at a hospital or treatment center. Although you can detox at home, the process might be more difficult since the withdrawal symptoms can be intense.

Being under medical supervision means you have access to medications that can help ease your detox process. This is good to keep in mind if you decide to detox or are currently in the middle of detoxing. The detox process can last anywhere from three days to a week.

Next, looking for the right treatment plan is part of what to do after detox. Treatment is the next step on the road to recovery. There are several treatment programs out there, and they continue to evolve. Most of the time, your addiction treatment will exactly match your needs and conditions.

The first step is always detox, but you have already accomplished that! However, what to expect after detox is not instant recovery. Your body has cleared the drug or alcohol from your system, which is amazing, but that does not mean you have made a full recovery.

The Importance of Therapy

You will need to address and work on the behavioral, psychological, and social changes that the addiction affected and changed. When you address these facets, you will help manage your addiction and are less likely to relapse. You can accomplish this all through treatment programs.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are a couple of different treatment plans. They are:

  • Short-Term Residential Treatment
  • Long-Term Residential Treatment
  • Outpatient Treatment

What’s after detox is usually one of these three programs. Each treatment is there to help you where you are at. You may not always know what to do after detox. Therefore, do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or concerns.

First Step: Determine the Right Treatment

Outpatient treatment means you are living at home, not on-site. If you are stable enough to continue most of your daily activities, such as work or school, you can look for outpatient treatment centers. More so, outpatient centers are where you will receive treatment every day or once a week.

Intensive day treatment is a treatment form where you drive yourself to treatment in the morning and go back home later in the afternoon. Intensive treatment is five days a week.

 Outpatient treatment has the same effectiveness as inpatient programs. It is great to have options for residential or outpatient care. The steps to take after detox all depend on what works best for you.

Short-Term and Long-Term Residential Treatment

Residential Treatment is where you live on-site with the doctors and counselors. It is a great way to have no distractions and focus completely on yourself and your recovery.

Short-Term Residential treatment is a stay of about three to six weeks, and you may extend it afterward with outpatient therapy. The short-term residential treatment consists of a 12-step program with therapies and medication for withdrawal symptoms.

 If you haven’t been using the substance for a long period, then short-term residential treatment might be the best option for you. However, medical professionals will be the best judge of necessary treatment. Depending on your condition, you may complete short-term treatment in six weeks and then transition into outpatient care.

Long-term residential treatment is where you will stay longer in a facility and engage in more therapeutic community activities. You will have care 24 hours a day to make sure you are doing okay.

 You get to engage in specific therapy sessions, activities that stimulate you, and social time with the other patients and staff. Treatment in the facility allows you to interact with other people who have gone through the same things as you in a therapeutic community setting.

90-days is the average stay of patients in long-term care. However, do not think you have to be perfect after 90 days. You can stay in residential care for as long as you need to heal. Some individuals stay for up to a year to feel healthy and happy again. There is no deadline to heal.

Second Step: Consider Different Therapies

Counseling is another tool available that you need to consider when wondering what to do after detox. The good news is counseling is usually always available within the residential and outpatient treatment plans. Keep in mind that experts highly suggest continuing counseling even after treatment and recovery.

There are individual counseling sessions and there are group counseling sessions. The individual sessions tend to focus on the aspects of your life as you are healing. 

The aspects you may focus on include:

  • Your job status.
  • Your relationship with your family.
  • Any social situations that might need addressing.

The goal is to build your backup so you can re-enter each section of your life. You will learn how to maintain your new sober lifestyle through coping mechanisms with a professional.

Group counseling happens within residential treatment programs. Group therapy involves a unique social aspect that creates a safe space to share things with people who can empathize with you. This kind of peer discussion can produce positive outcomes for all the individuals taking part. Professionals consider group counseling therapeutic.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “therapeutic counseling focuses on the ‘resocialization’ of the individual and uses the program’s entire community. 

The view of addiction is in the context of an individual’s social and psychological deficits, and treatment focuses on developing personal accountability and responsibility as well as socially productive lives.”

Along with the other individuals, you will be able to examine your past in a safe environment with structure. You will take time to challenge old beliefs, decisions, and destructive habits and form new healthier ones. The steps to take after detox such as this will promote a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.

Treating Individuals in the Criminal Justice System

Sometimes individuals who struggle with a substance abuse problem have run into trouble with the law. Mostly this encounter comes before medical personnel is ever involved. Therefore, the criminal justice system has a unique way of referring individuals to interventions and treatment.

 Upon conviction, the system may combine the incarceration process with a treatment program to better help that individual. Sometimes this method is even more effective since they have to stay in this place under the law. Therefore, if you have a loved one who is in and out of prison due to a drug or alcohol problem, call us to see if there are treatment centers in place for them.

Third Step: Identify Possible Dual Diagnosis

If you have a mental health condition, what to do after detoxing might look a little different for you. Thankfully, there are wonderful treatment centers in place that will better fit your needs. Co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis is when you have both an addiction and mental illness.

 It doesn’t matter which illness came first. Both illnesses can trigger each other. If you are unsure if you have a mental illness, it is good to look at the symptoms and signs of a mental health illness.

According to the National Alliance On Mental Illness, symptoms of a mental disorder include warning signs such as:

  • Extreme mood changes
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Thoughts of suicide

If you have some of these symptoms, there is a chance you have both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. Therefore, some steps to take after detox will include receiving treatment for your mental health.

However, a dual diagnosis is more common than you think. In 2018, around 9 million adults in the United States were experiencing dual diagnoses. Substances are often used to cope with the overwhelming feelings and emotions that both of these illnesses cause. Therefore, if you believe you might be struggling with a mental illness, what after detox is to find a specific treatment program.

Fourth Step: Treat a Dual-Diagnosis

You can receive treatment for both mental health and an integrated intervention treatment. Here, you will learn how your mental illness can affect your addiction and vice versa.

 The treatment educates you on how the two interact and the best ways to manage them both. You have already detoxed, which is the first step! So now, you can look for either an inpatient or outpatient facility that specifically treats a dual diagnosis.

In an inpatient rehabilitation center for dual diagnosis, you will receive care 24/7. These centers are similar to regular inpatient rehab, but treatment will be custom to treat your mental illness.

 For example, you may receive psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. This might sound terrifying, but it is an amazing tool. These kinds of therapies help people with dual diagnoses learn how to change their brain’s habits.

You get to rewire your brain away from your previous addictive behaviors while learning how to cope. You may receive medications that will help you heal. The medications are both for your mental health and to ease any remaining withdrawal symptoms. The expert professionals will work with you on what medications work and help you feel like you again.

You will also have the opportunity to participate in support groups and self-help groups during this time. Dual diagnosis can be isolating. Therefore, group therapy sessions or counseling are in place to help you manage the isolation.

 Being able to discuss your successes and frustrations with dual diagnosis in a group setting is effective. People have begun healthy relationships in these inpatient centers and continue to support each other once they’ve gone back home.

Your Level of Care

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) is an institution full of thousands of doctors, clinicians, and physicians researching and studying addiction treatment and prevention. This organization has developed levels of care that help medical professionals determine the individual’s needs during recovery.

 The needs include the risks they bear to themselves or others, their strengths, and their skills. With these levels of care, medical professionals can better match the most beneficial treatment to the individual.

According to ASAM, there are nine stages within the four levels of care. You can be on any of these levels, and they are all treatable. Sometimes what’s after detox is having a medical professional discover your level of care. Essentially each level is there for the kind of care you need. The lowest level of .05 is when you are at risk of developing substance use problems. Each level after that gradually increases in need for service.

What level of care you need will depend on your condition and the services you require. No matter where you start, you will recover. Remember the steps to take after detox include calling us and discovering the best treatment centers and plans for you. Congratulations on detoxing, you have done amazing thus far. Now, please take the next leap and call us at (888) 906-0952. We can’t wait to help you find the healing you deserve.






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