“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
~ JK Rowling
If you live in or around Vancouver – Ridgefield, Battle Ground, Camas, or anywhere else in Clark County – and you are ready to address your addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are to be congratulated. Getting clean and sober is one of the best decision you will ever make in your life.
But whenever you make the decision to get help for a substance abuse problem, there is something you must do before treatment can truly begin. Addiction has both physical and psychological aspects, but before you can be PSYCHOLOGICALLY ready to receive the message of recovery, you first must be PHYSICALLY free of the compulsion to drink or use.
To do that, you have to undergo an alcohol or drug detoxification process.
To find the best alcohol or drug detox facility in Vancouver in the surrounding area, there are certain things you should look for to make sure that you are using a program that fits YOUR needs as an individual.
How Long Does a Drug or Alcohol Detox Take?
It depends on your personal drug of choice. Proper, medically-supervised drug detoxification in Vancouver can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Is an Alcohol or Drug Detox Absolutely Necessary?
To understand the answer to that question, you have to remember that detox does not actually address addiction. Even the best drug or alcohol detox in Vancouver will not teach you how to change your behaviors and attitudes in order to manage your disease of addiction.
But at the same time, the behavioral and psychological aspects of drug and alcohol rehabilitation – the education, the counseling, and the ongoing support – will not be effective if you are still physically addicted.
A detox is ALWAYS recommended, but sometimes, it is even medically necessary. Withdrawal symptoms are always unpleasant, but in the case of alcohol or benzodiazepines, they can be so severe as to be life-threatening. The only way to safely detox from either of those substances is under medical supervision.
Most addicts or alcoholics abuse more than one substance, meaning:
- Other presenting addictions will need to be addressed
- Detoxification from ALL substances needs to happen simultaneously, something that is too hard for most people
The substance abuser may also have a comorbid mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, or bipolar disorder. Around 33% of all people with mental disorders also abuse alcohol and/or drugs.
Treatment of a dual diagnosis usually requires prescription medications, which are only given under a doctor’s care.
Addiction and mental illness are closely related, and each disorder plays a role in the development of the other. Heavy drinking or drug use can “hijack” a person’s brain, interfering with their emotional stability, impulse control, and cognitive functions. Luckily, many of these unwanted changes can be reversed, with sufficiently-prolonged abstinence.
All of this means that the individual undergoing alcohol or drug detox in Vancouver should be monitored closely by a physician who can make any necessary on-the-fly adjustments in their medication.
This level of close monitoring and support is simply not available during a self-detox.
What are Vancouver Detox Facilities Like?
The best Vancouver-area detox programs provide a safe, clean, therapeutic setting where you can:
- Overcome your physical dependence on alcohol and/or drugs
- Receive personal support and supervision from trained medical staff
- If necessary, be given medication to alleviate the worst of your withdrawal symptoms
Should I Look for a Vancouver Drug Detox That Offers Medication Assistance?
While some Vancouver detox facilities prefer not to offer medication to ease withdrawal, the best programs appreciate the positives that come along with medication-assisted detox.
Withdrawal symptoms and cravings often prove to be the largest barrier – and hazard – during early sobriety, so it is only smart to consider an option that maximizes your chances of a successful start to the journey of recovery.
In other words, why risk your new and still-fragile sobriety by attempting to unnecessarily go “cold turkey”?
What Medications are Provided at the Best Vancouver Detox Programs?
The use of the right medications during withdrawal/detox has twin goals – (1) to reduce the severity of unpleasant or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and (2) to prevent dangerous complications. Typical medications include:
- Benzodiazepines – Librium, Valium, Sera, or Ativan, to alleviate anxiety, confusion, and tremors, and to lessen the risk of more severe symptoms such as seizures or delirium tremens.
- Naltrexone – Reduces the number of episodes of heavy drinking, the total number of days spent consuming alcohol, and the amount of alcohol that is consumed.
- Tegretol – An alternative to benzodiazepines that is non-sedating has a low abuse potential
- Antipsychotics – For hallucinations and agitation
- Beta-blockers – For tachycardia and hypertension
- Clonidine – For hypertension
- Dilantin – An anticonvulsive
- Methadone – Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is a “harm reduction” option for opioid abusers who find it difficult to maintain sobriety. Not only does MMT allow them to return to productive lives, but it also helps protect against the spread of diseases such as Hepatitis C or HIV/AIDS.
- Buprenorphine – Buprenorphine has a lower abuse potential than methadone, and so is considered to be a safer alternative.
- Naltrexone – Once-a-month injections are the most effective formulation for opioid withdrawal.
If you are considering treatment for any substance abuse disorder – for a family member or for yourself – and you have more questions about the detox process, you should make a call to a local Vancouver-area drug rehab program that offers both alcohol and drug detoxification for an initial intake assessment.