Detox | 5 min read

Do I need a drug and alcohol detox or rehab?

Medically Reviewed

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

On September 2, 2022

Written By

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

On May 23, 2019

Individualized Custom Substance Abuse Treatment Program
Reading Time: 5 minutes

As you search the web for options for addiction treatment, you come across many new terms and types of programs. Among these are detox and rehab treatment. So what are the differences between these programs at Ascendant New York? Do I need a drug and alcohol detox or rehab?

What type of treatment do I need?

At Ascendant New York, your individual needs come first. This means you undergo an initial addiction assessment to determine whether you need a drug and alcohol detox or rehab. The typical course of treatment starts with detox and continues through rehab treatment.

Addiction ravages your body and mind. Even when you try to stop using substances, doing so causes you to suffer physical and psychological distress ranging from mild to severe. Learning about the symptoms you suffer in this early withdrawal helps your treatment team understand the severity of your condition. This helps them plan the best detox treatment for your unique needs.

Some people realize they suffer problems with drugs or alcohol before becoming fully addicted. Others use these substances for years before seeking help. Where you fall on the spectrum of addiction helps professionals determine the specific treatment you need.

That said, most people suffering from addiction need to start their treatment in a residential detox, followed by quality follow-up care, including individual and group therapies. Below, you can learn more about detox and rehab to understand how they differ and why you need both.

What is drug and alcohol detox?

When you stop using drugs or alcohol and suffer withdrawal symptoms, these ill feelings indicate you need to detox. Withdrawal is the process of cleansing substances and other toxins from your body and brain. This is hard work for your whole system. So you experience a wide range of effects, such as nausea, vomiting, tremor, blood pressure changes, and mental symptoms like depression or anxiety.

No matter how your withdrawal feels at first, these symptoms can quickly grow in severity. You can expect to feel uncomfortable for a week or more, especially if you try to go cold turkey or detox at home. Some physical and psychological effects even put your life at risk.

Drug and alcohol detox helps you get through withdrawal more comfortably and safely than detoxing at home or other services. You start your detox program with an intake exam, so your treatment team can understand what to expect from your withdrawal. This exam includes blood work and other tests. You also discuss your drug or alcohol abuse history with a caring counselor.

As you settle into the residential detox program, you receive the support needed to feel as good as possible throughout your withdrawal. This support usually lasts about a week to 10 days. It includes helpful medications for your symptoms to ease ill feelings and help you feel comfortable, calm, and rested during your stay. The support also includes regular checks of blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.

The Importance of Nutrition during Detox

One of the problems associated with trying to detox at home is the inability to maintain proper nutrition during withdrawal, even when other people try to take care of you. During this time of extreme physical and mental adjustment to not using your drugs or alcohol, you need quality nutrition and hydration throughout each day. In a licensed and medically supervised detox, you get the nutrition support you need for your healthiest entry into sobriety.

At Ascendant NY, Chef David Burke provides mindfully crafted cuisine to help you feel better through your symptoms. This nourishment lifts your mood to help you stay mentally strong in your first days without substance abuse. You also start feeling physically stronger as your spirit lifts and your body receives nutrients it has long missed.

The results of your nutrition struggles seem clear as you start to sober, particularly when you look in the mirror. You see effects of your drug or alcohol use, such as brittle or thinning hair, pale skin, dull eyes, and a general look of poor health. You also suffer internal changes, such as a compromised immune system, more frequent illness, dental problems, and poor digestion.

But when you receive quality nutrition during residential detox, your look changes rapidly. Your appetite increases, your mood improves, and your digestion settles. Soon, you look in the mirror and start seeing a healthier person emerging from under the shell of poor health from addiction. The farther you get from active drug or alcohol abuse, the better you look and feel.

What happens after detox?

One of the most important phases of your detox treatment is planning for the next phase of early recovery, rehab. Entering a rehab program is crucial for building lasting recovery and preventing relapse. After all, one of your biggest risks in recovery is relapse, especially since this often leads to deadly overdoses.

Your detox treatment counselors help you understand the importance of a quality therapy program. Rehab treatment includes an array of therapies and other services designed to help you understand your addiction, including why you became addicted in the first place and how to avoid returning to substance abuse. You build coping skills, relapse prevention, and life skills in these therapies. You also build a stronger sense of self with new sober interests and a strong support system.

All of this learning, building, and change starts in detox at Ascendant NY. You can take advantage of the opportunity to extend your treatment through outpatient ambulatory care after withdrawal ends and your health stabilizes. Outpatient treatment occurs during scheduled daytime hours, during which you receive continued support, therapeutic guidance, and appropriate medications.

Outpatient care enables you to return home after detox and return to work, school, or family responsibilities. Or, if you must await entry into a longer-term residential rehab program, outpatient treatment bridges the gap between detox and your next residential environment.

Do I need outpatient care after detox?

Remember that you started abusing drugs or alcohol without expecting to suffer addiction. You either self-medicated mental or physical conditions or used substances to escape other root problems. Triggers and temptations of your past substance abuse do not go away just because your body cleaned itself of toxins. Being sober means you must find healthy ways to cope with your past issues, especially those that continue to arise.

Without therapies and other methods, you do not simply wake up to a new set of coping skills. You must learn these skills and how to enjoy a sober life. Not knowing how to cope or even exist in sobriety causes great stress. This is where outpatient care comes in, to help you learn how to live in recovery.

Attending an outpatient care program, such as Ascendant’s New York IOP program or ambulatory care, extends the support and learning of your detox process. You work with caring professionals to develop a post-detox action plan that helps you keep your eyes on sobriety with the understanding of what to expect during early recovery.

Your Individual Path to Healthy Recovery

You learn about your individual needs for healthy recovery after addiction by talking to detox treatment professionals at Ascendant NY. Whether you need drug detox, alcohol detox, detox followed by outpatient care, or another rehab treatment program, you can achieve lasting sobriety in Manhattan.

Ascendant NY’s services include:

  • Medically supervised residential detox
  • Outpatient ambulatory care
  • Holistic methods and nutrition
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family participation
  • Relapse prevention

To find out whether you need detox, rehab, or both programs for strong addiction recovery, call Ascendant NY now at 917.262.0003.

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