Detox is not treatment!
by Ned Wicker
We live in a fast-moving society. Everything needs to be done quickly, from fast food to easy credit. We want it now. However, fast and easy aren’t always effective, and in the case of treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction, a quick solution may not be in the best interest of those suffering from addictive diseases.
Because of the current economic pinch, inpatient drug rehab treatment facilities all over the country are closing, as insurance companies do not want to pay for treatment and rehabilitation. Rather, in many cases, patients are placed into out-patient programs, perhaps after going into a facility for detoxification. But detox is not treatment, and treatment alone does not necessarily lead to recovery.
Recovery often requires a spiritual connection.
Because we are all body, mind and spirit, it is difficult to assert that tending to the physical needs of the patient is the only really necessary step in getting them back on track to a healthy lifestyle. Even if a medical intervention rids the body of the substance, and even if people are given something to take the edge of anxiety and fear, that still leaves the spirit, which is largely left untouched.
The “Big Book” nailed it nearly seventy years ago when the writers suggested that a spiritual experience was necessary to overcome the demon of addiction. Yet the spirit cannot be cared for if it is either ignored by those providing treatment, or ignored by the one seeking a fast outcome.
Inpatient treatment can be found, but it’s expensive. However, in order to move in a different direction, people need to be in a safe, nurturing environment. Just because a person goes through detox, and countless thousands have, that does not ensure that they will stay clean and sober and nor return to their old friends, their old haunts and go right back to the lifestyle that got them into trouble to begin with.
Inpatient treatment is often required to avoid constant relapse.
If people continue to hang out with their old friends, thinking they can abstain, they fool themselves. Going back to the old environment is a prescription for relapse. Even if their old friends were supportive of them getting off the drugs, invariably they will be invited to partake. Temptation is so powerful.
Getting a person into inpatient drug rehab is not locking them up, it’s placing them into a therapeutic environment and getting them out of the stress of their drug and alcohol culture. We have visions of “mental institutions” we get from movies, but the inpatient drug rehab facility is much more like home. Some can be rather fancy, and the price tag is fancy, but there are facilities much more in reach of the average person. You have to do your homework.
Find a place that takes your insurance if you can.
Insurance will cover some treatment, especially medical detox, but that is not a long-term solution. Note that many drug rehab programs that are effective cannot bill the insurance companies, but it is possible depending on the coverage package. That's why you need to find a place that can take your insurance, if you are covered. The best facilities are “holistic” and have earned the highest accreditation ratings. Those facilities can work with the insurance companies. You need to have that conversation when connecting with rehab facilities.
We want to incarcerate rather than to treat.
It's sad to know that many people will not get the benefit of an inpatient drug rehab environment. Our society would rather incarcerate than treat. However, drug courts established around the country have judges that understand and direct offenders to treatment facilities. It is far better to treat than to jail, so people are given second and third chances to turn things around.
Many choose, for whatever reason, to shortcut the system and they believe they can go it alone without help. They violate the court-ordered treatment and wind up back in the court system, facing lengthy prison terms. Again, some behind bars treatment and recovery programs have proven to be effective.
The therapeutic environment, being with other addicts and alcoholics, safe and free from ridicule is an important component to carrying a person through treatment and into recovery. People need help getting themselves back on the right course and inpatient drug rehab is an excellent way of placing patients back on solid ground.
Great time for spiritual renewal!
It's a time for spiritual renewal, as the body and mind heal. The best facilities understand that there is an important medical component to caring for patients suffering from chemical dependence. There is an emotional component to their treatment which requires professional intervention. Then there needs to be a rebuilding process, giving the patient an opportunity to strengthen their resolve and spiritual stability.
If inpatient drug rehab is not possible due to financial constraints, an outpatient program with connection to a variety of different resources that an inpatient drug rehab facility would have, is the best alternative. The therapeutic community is out there and patients need to avail themselves of the programs in their community.
In closing, choosing an inpatient drug rehab requires some research and a few phone calls. Do not get caught up in the "fast lane American way" of doing things. Take your time and above all things, ask questions. An inpatient drug rehab facility, worth its salt, will gladly answer any and all questions so don’t be shy.