Drug and alcohol addiction is one of the most underestimated problems in a society. It is very prevalent contrary to what people may think. The statistics show a very dire situation that needs to be tackled. For instance, there are over 20 million Americans above 12 who have an addiction which does not include tobacco. Every day, about 100 people die from overdoses and over 5 million visit emergency rooms due to drug related conditions. If this is not shocking enough, consider that over 2.6 million addicted people are dependent on both alcohol and drugs. There are many more statistics that go to show the unfortunate circumstance in society.
In addition, alcoholism is the most common addiction in the society and since alcohol is legal, the condition goes untreated in many cases. However, alcohol is not the only drug abused. The abuse of prescription drugs has risen significantly over the past few years. As a matter of fact, deaths from overdoses on prescription drugs accounts for a higher percentage of all overdoses rather than from other illegal drugs.
Drug addiction costs not only the individual but also the family and the society. Whether it is physical, mental or psychological, addiction burdens everybody. For example, it costs the American society 740 billion dollars in the form of crime, lost productive labor and healthcare costs. Since many addicts are between 18 to 35 years, the society is deprived of capable manpower. This calls for drastic measures to deal with the problem before it gets out of hand.
The only way to successfully treat an addiction is to go through rehabilitation and complete the program. The program is not easy for many addicts and they find themselves relapsing. There are different types of rehabilitation products tailored to meet the specific needs of each addict. Briefly, they include:
- Inpatient rehab which is a full time commitment to a rehabilitation program. The addict is a resident of the rehab for the duration of the treatment. This is ideal for addicts who do not have a supportive environment outside the rehab and may end up relapsing.
- Outpatient rehab. This is a part time commitment to a treatment. It is non-residential where an addict only goes to the rehab for treatment several times a week and goes back home. This kind of treatment is important for addicts who need family support.
- Teen rehab is specially tailored for teenage addicts. They go through quite different challenges and need a different approach of treatment.
- Gender based rehab deals with a particular gender to help them connect with other individuals who share the same challenges.
- Holistic rehab are treatment programs that concentrate on the forms of treatment such as meditation and yoga. Just as the name suggests, it is holistic treatment.
- Dual diagnosis rehab is a program that caters for the needs of addicts who are concurrently suffering from a mental disorder. Statistics shows that 6.8 million people with an addiction also have a mental disorder.
Regardless of the type of rehab the addict chooses, the process is the same: detoxification, behavioral therapy, medication and after care. The only difference is the delivery of the program.
Drug Detoxification is always the first but not the only step of treatment. Detoxing is simply ridding the body of any harmful substances. So in this case, a detox is getting rid of any drugs or alcohol in th body system. There are different kinds of detox:
- Cold turkey detox where an addict completely stops the use of the drug. This type of detox can get pretty dangerous if there is no medical supervision.
- Semi-medicated detox, where the addict uses some prescribed medication to treat some withdrawal symptoms.
- Fully-medicated detox where the addict relies solely on medication throughout the detox process.
Every type of detox needs direction from a medical professional. The withdrawal symptoms from some drugs are life threatening and if not properly treated, they can cost the addict his/her life.
All these brings us to the conclusion that a detox is not easy in every aspect. It takes a toll on the addict’s physical, mental and psychological health. Moreover, it is not only the addict who experiences the effects of the detox but also their families.
It is for this exact reason that we should know the benefits of a detox in order to understand what is to be gained if the detox is successfully completed. Such knowledge will act as a motivation for both the addict and the family.
Benefits of a detox
It is no secret that detoxification is painful and difficult but here is what you stand to gain after the process:
- Physical health
Drug addictions generally lead to the deterioration of one’s health. Addicts generally look malnourished and have pale skin because most of the same have little to eat. They really heavily on drugs. This health problems not only affect them but their families as well. For example, an expectant mother who is an alcoholic will give birth to a deformed child.
The situation is exacerbated when the addict is suffering from a mental health condition. The detox will need to be carefully monitored since treatment concentrates on two issue rather than one.
Alcoholics end up suffering from liver diseases and smokers end up with lung issues. Sometimes, the family of a tobacco addict suffer from the effects of passive smoking which are worse than those of active smoking. There is really no way of having a healthy addict because one way or another, their body is being negatively affected.
In some cases, addiction can cause damage to an addict’s nervous system. Usually, drugs immediately work on the nervous system when they are ingested or smoked. They act as suppressants and trigger the release of dopamine which is the body’s pleasure chemical. The body becomes numb and relaxed. In the long run, the suppressions adversely affect the nervous system which has become so used to being in some sort of slumber. Without the drug, the nervous system rebounds in a potentially damaging way. The damage may be fatal or life altering and lead to immense health complications down the line.
Fortunately, detoxification helps the situation by restoring the addict’s health. Once the drugs and alcohol are flushed out of the body system, the organs can go back to proper and normal functioning. The liver begins to heal. The lungs begin to heal. The nervous system is kept intact. Generally, the whole body begins to regain its functioning.
During the detox, the physical health will deteriorate because of the withdrawal effects such as nausea, vomiting, hallucinations etc. But after all this, the addict and his/her family stand to gain from a healthy individual. The society will also enjoy the benefit of a productive individual and the healthcare costs will greatly reduce.
- Social life
One of the telling signs of an addict is that they are withdrawn. They do not like hanging around large crowds of people because they don’t want to reveal their addiction problem. Addicts are loners. They hide their addiction at any cost either from a point of fear or shame. Addicts also have a problem with a running mouth. They tend to be abusive and say things they don’t mean which breaks the relationships they have. People will often not want to associate with them because they get hurt.
The good news is that after detoxification, an addict can rejoin the normal society life. They can:
- Create meaningful relationships with those around them
- Help others
- Enjoy going out and getting involved in the social life around them
- Have meaningful conversations without being abusive
After detoxification, they no longer have to be ashamed of who they are. They are no longer dependent on drugs or alcohol so they have nothing to hide. A social life is so important in developing support systems within the community.
The detox helps addicts to stop being loners and to enjoy the company of other individuals.
- Family life
As mentioned earlier, drug addiction adversely affects families. Many divorces are a result of alcoholism of one partner. Addicts do not have a care about their families. They are only interested in funding their addiction. You may find that they do not meet up to their responsibilities as a husband, wife or parent. They neglect their duties and are not bothered by it.
It is not surprising that children from drug addicted families have psychological and emotional problems. They have grown up in neglected homes and most of them end up being addicts. Furthermore, since they are used to fend for themselves, they get involved in crimes which results in arrests or deaths.
Besides divorces, there is also the death of a partner which causes widowhood or widower-hood. Addiction causes physical and mental fatigue in the family. It breaks the family apart.
Through detoxification, an addict can restore a healthy life for his/her family. He/she can go back to meeting his responsibilities. Addicts who go through detoxification are more willing to create a safe environment tin their homes. They are more aware that life is not just about them. Moreover, they develop a support system form their family throughout the period of detoxification and even afterwards. Children can go back to being children and parents to being parents. The cases of divorces, deaths and crimes will reduce. The family life will be as it should be and the living standards will not have to decline as a result of addiction. At the beginning of the detox, the family’s tenacity, emotions and grit will be tested. It will definitely be a trying period but the good news is that it will produce fruits that they will all enjoy.
Addicts have problems with productivity and working. You can tell a person is an addict if they are always showing up to work late or they hardly show up. Furthermore, if they do come to work, they have substandard work and don’t keep up to deadlines. If they are a teenage addict, they are always truant and never show up to school. Eventually, addicts lose their jobs because they cannot keep up with their tasks. When they lose their jobs, the company loses out on otherwise capable manpower and the family loses out on a source of income putting a strain on the other partner. Remember that the addict needs to fund his/her addiction and has lost the only way he could. It is not surprising if they end up in criminal activities just to fund that addiction.
A detox will improve an individual’s productivity. The addict will be able to work effectively and efficiently. Deadlines will be met and work will be done to the expected standard. Truancy will be eliminated. In addition, the individual has an improved ability to learn skills that can help with gaining employment. A majority of addicts are dropouts for one reason or another and usually end up with no employable skills. The good news is that rehab programs provide aftercare services which help the addict rejoin to the society and with skills that can help them get a job. Without detoxification, the addict cannot grasp a thing. Even for individuals who are not addicted, working whilst you are sick reduces productivity. What of an addicted individual?
Therefore, detoxification gives an individual the ability to be a productive member of society. Ultimately, the family and society gain from this productivity.
- Mental health
Addicts usually suffer from low self-esteem and lack self-confidence. They lack self-drive and always prefer their own company. The guilt and shame of being an addict deprives them of revealing their true self. They are always hiding. It is this low self-esteem that drives others to abuse more drugs. Their addiction is their solace. Such a situation is very dangerous since they often become suicidal or even commit suicide. The mental health of an individual is very important because it is out of this that people have the drive and motivation to do what they do.
A detox will benefit the mental health of the patient. They become more self-aware and self-confident. Their self-esteem begins to improve and they change their perspective on life. They are no longer hopeless and in hiding. If they do complete the process successfully, with all the hurdles and challenges of detoxification, they will look at this accomplishment as a source of motivation and drive to overcome any other hurdles in life.
Furthermore, the fact that they are able to form friendships and support systems in their family after the detox boosts their self-esteem. They realize that they can actually live a normal life just like everybody else. Good mental health is essential in how relationships are formed and if addicts can improve after a detox, then their families will also rest from all the mental fatigue they had to go through. A healthy mind is a healthy individual.
Addictions make people slaves. Slaves to drugs. Slaves to alcohol such that they cannot function without it. You can clearly tell an addict if they cannot function well if they are not high on something. They need a drink if they have to work properly. Essentially, they have become dependent on that drug. Sometimes, they don’t have control over their behavior. This is way many accidents happen if a driver was under the influence. Their perspective of ‘I must have a drink to function properly’ is really the opposite of what happens. They never function properly. As a matter of fact, they continue using the drugs even if it causes harm to their bodies. There is nothing as destructive as a drug dependent person.
A detox frees the body and mind of that drug dependency. Moreover, the tolerance that develops as a result of the dependence can be dealt with. A detox helps the patient regain control of their ability to control behavior. They can say no to harmful substances and no longer need to depend on drugs for their functioning. The addict can take back control of their personal affairs and relationships. They begin to live and not just to exist.
- New interests
Before detoxification, a patient can hardly do anything let alone pursue self-promoting interests. Most of their time is spent at the local bar or just away from anything substantial. Since most of them either lose their jobs or have no job at all, they have lots of idle time which they misuse. The detox process benefits the patient in that they can develop other interests to keep them busy in their free time. The only way to keep away from relapsing is to substitute the drug abuse activity with another beneficial activity. Eventually, the patient will pursue interests in their idle time. Sometimes, talents previously not known may be discovered and honed. Such interests bring more happiness than that from drugs and alcohol.
- Paves the way to recovery
Treatment of addiction has to begin somewhere and this somewhere is detoxification. The other steps of treatment would be meaningless without a detox. A detox is not the only answer to addiction but it is the door to a more robust treatment plan. It is therefore not surprising that drug rehabs require a patient to undergo detoxification before they can begin treatment. Therapy and aftercare would be pointless if detoxification was not pursued in the first place.
Detox helps to curb the cravings and safely passing out the drugs through the body. More treatment will be required to permanently stop the cravings but a detox is the best way to start.
The journey to recovery is a long way ahead but by taking the first step of detoxification, then success is assured.
- A new lease of life
There is nothing as sweet as a new start in life. Everybody needs that once in a while. Many addicts especially alcoholics live in denial. They always have an excuse as to why they are alcoholics and always have someone to blame for their problems. It is either their ‘arrogant’ boss or ‘nagging’ wife who drives them to alcohol. All these excuses are a bid to avoid dealing the underlying problem that they are addicted. However, when an addict realizes that their problem is their addiction and take the first step to seek treatment, they life begins to take another turn.
A detox cleanses the body of every drug. It gives the body a fresh start. More than that, it gives the addict a new lease of life. They become more spiritually, mentally and physically aware of the decisions they make and the consequences of those decisions. A detox is like a second chance to start over. The patient has an opportunity to mend broken relationships and form new ones, pursue new interests and live life to their full potential. After the detox, the patient gets to experience what it feels like to be drug-free. It is exactly what they need.
A detox has so many benefits that go beyond just the physically. Some are seen immediately and others are experienced in the long run. Remember that a detox is only the first step. The patient must go through behavioral therapy, family therapy, medication and aftercare. If these other steps are ignored, then the detoxification would have been pointless.
A drug detox is not easy. Support from family and medical professionals is so important. It should not be something a person does on their own. It gets even harder for people who have been addicted for years. Nevertheless, it is possible. A relapse is not inevitable. It is avoidable. The beginning is always the decision to make the first step and remain determined that regardless of the pains during the detox, the patient will persevere till the end.
All these benefits should be enough to motivate an addict to begin the process of detoxification. They should realize that the rest of their lives depends on the choice they make. Without a doubt, this choice should be the detox process.