The first step to the rehabilitation process, when pertaining to narcotics, is detox. Some rehab facilities will have a medical detox center on premises, while others will require that you go to an inpatient center prior to starting your stay in their program. This is to insure your safety, and help make a more comfortable transition from everyday use to sobriety.
Intake: Once you enter a facility, you start with intake. First they will have you fill out some paperwork giving them permission to treat you. This is also when they find out what insurance you have or if you’re going to pay cash for your treatment. The process is similar to what you would go through before receiving care at an emergency room.
History: The next step will be your drug and medical history. It is important to be completely honest during this process because it will allow them to give you the best treatment possible. A nurse or counselor will talk with you to find out what drugs you are coming off of, how long you have been on them, and if you have any medical issues that may affect your treatment.
First few hours: Now that you have signed in and given them a history of your drug use, you are ready. You will be shown to your room and they will start monitoring you. A nurse will periodically be in to check your vitals, and ask questions about your overall physical and psychological wellbeing. At this point you will probably be starting withdrawal. This is necessary so they can measure the severity of your symptoms and come up with a detox treatment plan.
Medication: Most facilities will have a 24-hour period from the time you come in before they will start you on medication. This is to insure that whatever narcotics are in your system have had time to lose their effect, and give you time to start feeling withdrawal symptoms. Once this period has passed, you and a doctor will determine what medication you will be on to help the process go as smoothly as possible. It will most likely be a combination of a small amount of narcotic and non-narcotic medication to treat your overall discomfort.
Treat The Symptoms: As a drug user, you are used to taking narcotics on a regular basis. In detox, however, you are going to be tapered off narcotics as quickly and safely as possible. As you taper off of the narcotic, you will be given non-narcotic medications for the physical symptoms of withdrawal. For instance, if you have a headache, you will be given a non-narcotic pain reliever instead of more addictive medications. This process is known as “treating the symptoms”. So if you tell the facilitator or nurse that you do not feel well, prepare to be asked specifically where you are feeling discomfort. The goal is to have you off of all narcotics within three to seven days in most cases.
The End Result: Detoxing is only the first step in the rehabilitation process. This is to get you to a point where you can safely and effectively start the next steps into your sobriety. The focus is not on keeping you sober as much as making sure that you are not physically dependent on narcotics when you begin your rehab program. Then rehab will give you the tools to not be mentally dependent, which as you probably already know is the hard part. Detox is not a rehab. You may feel better physically, but it is only the first step to a healthy and happy sobriety.