Drug addiction treatment covers a wide spectrum these days: benzodiazepine addiction treatment centers, cocaine addiction centers, methamphetamine detox clinics, plus opiate detox centers that can be subdivided into heroin treatment centers, prescription drug addiction treatment centers, methadone detox centers, suboxone detox centers and more. But the most common substance of addiction is still alcohol: an estimated 15,723,000 Americans, including 623,000 adolescents under 18, suffer from alcohol use disorder.
If you or a family member are among those 15-million-plus people who “just can’t stop” drinking to excess, know that “just stopping” may not only be next to impossible but extremely dangerous. No drug withdrawal is pleasant, but while the majority of heroin addicts who go “cold turkey” rather than using opiate detox centers get away with it (not that it’s recommended), alcohol detox, along with benzo detox, is a life-or-death gamble to attempt by simply cutting off the supply. Withdrawal symptoms can become so severe that many detox treatment providers routinely use medical prescriptions to help clients through.
So, if you need professional alcohol detox treatment, how do you go about locating the right treatment center?
1. Stay close to home if at all possible.
While you don’t want to be too close to familiar stressors and temptations, it’s best to choose a drug detox center that’s convenient enough to visit in advance and where you can stay in close touch with supporters on the outside. Many people have decidedly unpleasant experiences from committing to out-of-state detox treatment centers sight unseen. (Note: Beware of centers that actively solicit you, especially if they offer “perks” for choosing them over other options. That’s a sign of unscrupulous places that care less about helping you get better than about how much they can get out of your insurance company.)
Start your search in as specific a geographical area as possible—e. g., “alcohol detox centers in Orange County” vs. the broader “alcohol rehab centers in California” or even “alcohol detox in southern California.”
2. Get referrals from your doctor, your insurance company and/or a sobriety support network.
Part of the expenses of detox treatment will probably be covered by your health insurance, and since those expenses can be considerable, it’s wise to find out early which detox treatment centers are in your provider’s network. As far as other referral options go, feel free to check out places where any individuals you know have successfully detoxed; but in pinpointing the best place for you, remember that medical professionals and major recovery networks will be in the best position to evaluate a variety of options.
3. Don’t procrastinate in seeking treatment, but don’t make impulse decisions either.
Anyone who knows anything about making progress knows there are two major risks at the point of an essential step out of your comfort zone: you may hide the fear of actually taking that step behind an endless screen of “I just need to learn a little more about the options,” or you may feel cornered and grab blindly at the first option in reach. Neither is a good method for making the best decision in a timely manner. When you’ve reached the point of knowing it’s time to check into an alcohol and drug detox center, the best approach is:
- Compile a list of 3–7 options that meet the basic criteria of convenient location, reputability, medical credentials, experience treating the specific addiction of concern, and evident interest in sharing sobriety information with the public.
- Make an appointment to visit each option in person (requesting a tour of the grounds and a personal interview with at least one actual treatment provider). Ideally, bring along a family member or friend for a backup opinion. While onsite, observe how responsive the staff is to questions and concerns, and what overall feel you get from the place.
- Ask about any points that are particularly important to you, e.g.: How much free time will you have? Will religious services be conducted? Can the cafeteria accommodate kosher or vegetarian diets? Is medication prescribed to ease withdrawal (as already mentioned, alcohol detox centers are more likely than cocaine or heroin treatment centers to “treat drugs with drugs”), and how do you feel about that? Can they reassure you on specific concerns about withdrawal risks?
- Once you’ve visited and reviewed all the options, pick one without agonizing over tiny points like “this one provides chocolate in the recreation room, but this one has a shadier gazebo.” The right treatment center for you doesn’t have to mean one that’s 100% perfect on every possible point of consideration, and any excuse for procrastination is now past.
4. Know what to expect.
Of course, every detox experience is unique, and the treatment center will brief you on the basics of what to expect and what will be done in case of emergency; but you’ll still be better prepared by going in with a solid idea of what will happen and when it will be over.
A typical alcohol withdrawal experience goes as follows:
- 8 hours after last drink: Nausea, physical shakiness and a sense of anxiety begin to develop.
- 24 hours after last drink: Body temperature and blood pressure start to rise; person sweats heavily; mental confusion accelerates; heart rate may become erratic.
- 72 hours after last drink: Body temperature remains high; person feels extremely agitated and disoriented. Risks of seizures, cardiac arrest and hallucinations reach their peak.
- 5 days after last drink: Physical withdrawal symptoms begin to abate.
- 7 days after last drink: Physical dangers are past; person begins to regain physical and emotional strength.
Specific details of the experience, of course, vary depending on the patient’s overall physical condition, the length and severity of the addiction, medications used in detox, and many other factors. It’s also important to realize that emotional cravings for alcohol will persist for several weeks and return periodically for months; so plan on staying at your alcohol detox center for around 90 days while you get used to living without—and while you get therapy to deal “soberly” with old stresses once official treatment finally ends.
To insure against the return of your drinking problem, you’ll also need long-term support from peers and counselors; your detox center can provide or recommend options. You may want to stay in periodic touch with the detox center itself, or any individuals who were particularly helpful to you—one more point in favor of choosing a center that is geographically convenient as well as a good personal fit.
Inland Detox, the top drug and alcohol detox center in southern California, is located in the Temecula Valley. Besides alcohol detox treatment, we provide benzo detox, cocaine rehabilitation, methamphetamine addiction treatment and opiate rehab. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction and need detox help, please call (888) 739-8296.