Drug and alcohol detox is often considered the first step in an addict or alcoholic’s journey of recovery. They are a necessary step for individuals whose addictions are so severe they are unable to manage withdrawal symptoms without medical supervision. Detox provides a safe place to separate from drugs and/or alcohol before you take the next step on your path. Many are unfamiliar with what detox entails, though. We’ve compiled a list of questions and answers regarding drug and alcohol detox in Washington state.
What is Drug and Alcohol Detox?
Drug and alcohol detox, short for detoxification, is the process of clearing an addict or alcoholic’s system of their substance of choice. While in detox, doctors also monitor withdrawal symptoms and treat them according to each individual’s case. It is the first step in the process of an individual’s recovery; they must be completely clear of all drugs and alcohol before the journey to sobriety can truly begin.
Is Detox the Same Thing as a 12-Step Program?
No. Detox provides a supervised place in which to separate from drugs and alcohol. 12-step Anonymous provides meetings with which to stay sober and meet other individuals struggling with addiction or alcoholism; they do not provide detoxification services. Some detox and inpatients incorporate 12-step programs into their services but have no affiliation with that 12-step program.
What Happens During Detox in Washington State?
During detox, you will be under the monitor and care of doctors and nurses trained in the process of separating addicts and alcoholics from their substance of choice.
- You will spend between 1 to 10 days in the facility
- Generally, 24-hour supervision is offered
- Phone access will be limited
- All meals will be provided
- Many detoxes manage withdrawals with medication
You can call the specific detoxes you’re looking at and ask what a typical day looks like. Oftentimes the detox process mainly involves sleep, watching TV, and receiving medication.
Will I be Safe in Alcohol and Drug Detox?
Detoxes are a safe environment in which to go through the process of drug and alcohol detoxification. You will be under the supervision of trained doctors and nurses who are equipped to handle any situation that may take place.
Does Drug and Alcohol Detox in WA use Medications?
Many drug and alcohol detoxes provide medically-supervised detoxifications, whereby the individual is weaned off using FDA-approved drugs. Detoxification drugs include:
- Methadone or Suboxone for opiate withdrawal
- Benzodiazepines for alcohol detox
Again, these detoxes are provided by trained doctors and nurses who are approved to handle the detoxification process.
How Long does Detox take?
The actual detoxification and withdrawal process can last anywhere from a few days for the physical symptoms and up to weeks for the psychological aspects. The length of your stay at the facility is dependent upon the program you select and takes anywhere from 1 to 10 days. Some locations are strictly detox only while others will transfer you from detox into an inpatient or sober living program. It is up to you to decide your length of stay and the path you take.
How Much does Detox Cost?
The cost of detox is dependent upon which detox you select, the length of the program, and whether or not you have insurance. There are some free and low-cost detoxes located in Seattle and one located in Walla Walla. There are also “luxury” detox programs that cost upwards of $35,000 for a 28-day stay. Many drug and alcohol detoxes rest somewhere in the middle and are able to work out pricing plans. Be sure to contact the detox programs you are looking into to discuss pricing before making a selection.
Do Alcohol and Drug Detox in Washington State take Insurance?
Most detoxes take insurance but the location you select may take only specific types of insurance. Some take only private insurance while others take private and state insurance. Detox websites generally include information on the types of insurances accepted but call those you are considering to ensure the information on their site is correct.
How do I Know Which Detox to Pick?
There are roughly 40 detox centers in Washington state to choose from. The one you select is dependent upon what you’re looking for from treatment. If you need only to separate from drugs or alcohol then a detox-only program may be what you’re looking for. If you’re hoping instead for a continuation program that provides support after detoxing then a detox that is part of an inpatient rehab treatment will be beneficial to you.
What Should I Bring to Detox?
Some detoxes are extremely strict regarding the items you are allowed to bring along. Others are more lenient. Most times a detox’s website will provide information about what you can and cannot bring to detox. Some great ideas for things to bring include:
- Comfortable clothing to last a week
- House shoes
- Pictures of your friends and family
- A book
- Cash (allowed in some detoxes where purchases are available)
- Nothing with alcohol in the listed ingredients
Every detox is different, though, so give them a call before you leave.
What do I do After Drug and Alcohol Detox in Washington State?
This is dependent upon the program you select and what you want for your recovery. Some of your options after detox include:
- Inpatient rehabilitation
- Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
- Sober living
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- 12-step meetings
Some people choose to go only to detox to clean out their system and then continue getting and staying sober through a 12-step program. Others opt for detox and then follow it with an inpatient rehab program or sober living. Some detoxes are included within an inpatient rehab center so you will simply be transferred over to the inpatient side of the program once your detoxification is complete.
Not all detoxes are the same; see what types of programs are offered at the detoxes you are considering. Many times a detox will help you sift through your options and select which is the best for your situation.
Will Detox Cure my Addiction or Alcoholism?
No. Detox does not provide a cure to addiction or alcoholism. So far, doctors have been unable to develop a cure. While there are drugs available to minimize cravings or eliminate the effects of drugs and alcohol, nothing has yet been able to cure an addict or alcoholic of their substance dependence.
Do I Have to go to a 12-Step Program After Detox?
Not necessarily. There are many options for achieving and maintaining sobriety, including 12-step programs, but they are not the only way to stay sober. SMART Recovery is a new program aimed to help alcoholics and addicts recover from their seemingly hopeless state and achieve a new, sober life.