Outpatient Detox, Outpatient Drug Detox Centers
Everyone knows what detoxification is. With so many fad diets and detox drinks or juice cleanses inundating the market today, it is quite understandable to see many individuals with serious drug and alcohol addiction issues to perform the detoxification themselves. They think that if fad diets and detox drinks can effectively rid the body of these harmful toxins or poisons, then getting rid of drugs and alcohol should not be any different, right?
Unfortunately, this is where many individuals get the idea of detoxification as a very simple process of removing harmful substances from the body. They fail to recognize the physiologic and psychological effects of these substances in the body and the possible consequences when alcohol or drugs are eventually removed and no longer replenished. Detoxifying because of unhealthy eating habits is entirely different from detoxifying from drugs and alcohol. For starters, these juice cleanses work on the digestive tract to flush the toxins out. They work by providing the digestive tract with a mechanism to sweep these substances down the colon.
Detoxifying from drugs and alcohol is an entirely different matter. These substances may have already been cleared from the Gastro-Intestinal (GI) system but their effects are still present in the brain and the rest of the nervous system. It is important to understand that drugs and alcohol change the chemical balance of the brain and rewires the way the brain interprets pleasurable events. Alcohol and a variety of drugs have been known to stimulate the brain in synthesizing and releasing massive amounts of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that is responsible for pleasurable experiences. Normally, a pleasurable event such as eating your favorite vanilla ice cream triggers the brain into releasing dopamine. This stimulates the reward center in the limbic system and registers the event as something pleasurable and very satisfying; hence, it should be repeated. The brain then associates eating vanilla ice cream to pleasurable experiences.
Drugs and alcohol disrupt this normal pleasure and reward system. Even without the vanilla ice cream, the brain releases dopamine and stimulates the reward center in the process. The limbic system thus registers the drug or alcohol as the thing that provides pleasure. So, the brain will naturally want more of the substance simply because it is providing the pleasure, or any other effect. Over time however, the body will grow accustomed to these effects, such that it needs sufficiently larger doses or more frequent doses of the substance. This is known as tolerance, whereby, the individual simply can no longer derive any effect from a particular substance without increasing its dose. If they do not do this, they go into severe withdrawal. The body simply cannot function optimally anymore without the substance. This results in physical and psychological dependence. These two elements – tolerance and dependence – are what characterize substance addiction and what differentiates it from substance abuse.
Therefore, drug and alcohol detoxification is crucial if addiction treatment is to have any effect. Because the withdrawal symptoms associated with substances can range anywhere from mild symptoms to more life-threatening manifestations, it is imperative that detoxification be medically-supervised. This is to provide support and active continuous monitoring of the individual’s condition.
For individuals with mild to moderate addictions, or whose withdrawal symptoms are not necessarily severe or life-threatening, they can be treated in an outpatient setting. Outpatient drug detoxification programs provide natural and psychosocial support to the individual undergoing detox. Medications will still be administered to help them better manage their symptoms. Nutritional counselling as well as individual psychosocial counselling is also provided in order to aid the individual in getting through the process of detoxification. It should be understood that, outpatient drug detox programs only work on individuals with mild to moderate substance abuse issues, bordering on addiction.
As the individuals will be essentially going home after every detox treatment session, it is imperative that they learn how to manage the temptations in their environment, so that they will not resort to using the drugs or alcohol as a means of fighting the withdrawal symptoms. This is where psychological counseling can help the individual so that they continue being motivated to become a better person. Nutritional support is useful in helping the body recover. Because drugs and alcohol have short-circuited the reward system of the brain, the body no longer has the drive to eat, leading to gross nutritional deficiencies. Providing protein, vitamins, and minerals in the diet can help the body heal a lot faster.
Detoxification is just the first step in the treatment of substance addiction. Making that critical decision to lead a life free from addiction takes courage and strong determination. Sprout Health Group recognizes this and as such provides a comprehensive outpatient drug detox program as part of its intensive outpatient treatment program. These highly structured treatment modalities allow individuals optimum control over their lives as they move away from a life of addiction and closer to healthier and more sober life.