The detox treatment is a very vital part of the addiction treatment program for any kind of dependency. However, it is important to note that a detoxification process cannot bring about complete recovery from the addiction. What detoxification does is to remove the addictive substance from the body of the person. It is actually a cleansing process that takes care of purifying the body from the toxins that might have collected in it over the years of the person’s abuse of the substance. However, it cannot be considered as complete treatment.
This is because an addiction resides in the person’s mind. It is extremely important to remove the temptation or craving that the person recurrently gets for the substance. Only then can it be said that the person is out of the addiction. This is a very difficult process and mere detoxification cannot cure it. It is essential to implement focused programs designed to eliminate the tendency of the person to abuse the substance. This is done in most rehab centers in the form of an aftercare program that immediately follows the detox process.
The aftercare program is usually decided according to the intensity of the detox treatment process. The withdrawal that the person faces is taken as the parameter. Generally there are two options for the aftercare process. The patient might be referred to an outpatient program or to a residential program. The selection will depend on the level of intensity of the patient’s withdrawal. Usually, people who are in mild cases of substance abuse will experience mild withdrawal symptoms also, so for them an outpatient format of aftercare will suffice. But people who have been with their addictions for several years, those who have been hooked to highly addictive substances such as heroin and methamphetamine and those who have some kinds of physical or psychiatric problems will need to be put on a stronger aftercare process. For them, nothing less than a residential aftercare pattern is recommended.
The main purposes of these aftercare processes are:-
1. To maintain the recovery process of the person with suitable medication,
2. To remove the cravings for the substance from the mind of the patient,
3. To ensure that the person returns to good health of body and mind,
4. To rehabilitate the person in the kind of social life that he or she was in before the addiction took over,
5. To help the person in reviving their professional life if they need,
6. To counsel them on repairing and rebuilding their relationships and
7. To provide the person with a constructive lifestyle.
Maintenance medication becomes and important part of this aftercare program. Here the primary intention is to ensure that the person does not develop the craving for the substance again. Suboxone that is used in methamphetamine treatment is a good example of this. Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid just like heroin is, and as long as the body is supplied with buprenorphine, the person will not feel an urge for the substance. At the same time, naloxone makes sure that the person will not take more of Suboxone and develop an addiction for it. Hence, the maintenance medication works at allaying the urges that the person has for the substance and also ensures that the person does not develop an addiction for the medication itself.
Most rehab centers have a counseling program for the families of the patients too. These counseling programs are usually conducted as three-day sessions where several patient’s families are called at one time. Experts counsel families on the right techniques to cope with the person’s addiction treatment and train them on methods they can use to reduce their cravings. This provides a good opportunity for the families to come together and share their experiences.
The patients themselves are trained in various techniques and therapies to keep their urges at bay. They are taught how to use breathing, relaxation and meditation techniques that can help them control their urges. They are provided some special treatments such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage and others that provide them respite from their constant cravings for the substance.
But the most important aspect of these aftercare sessions is the counseling and educational programs. Patients are counseled on how they can combat their recurring temptations for the substance. They are provided classroom sessions (in group format) to understand what their addiction is really about and how it can wreak havoc with various aspects of their lives. This eventually helps them come out of their dependency and look at a fuller, more meaningful life.