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What to Look for in a Heroin Detox Program

Sadly, there are many addicts who go to treatment and don’t finish, most of these incomplete stays can be attributed to planning or the lack thereof.  Improper planning leads to poor performance. So, with this in mind, take the proper steps and always ask questions to find the best heroin detox program for yourself or your loved one.

When someone is finally ready, able and looking to get help for an opiate addiction, there are many questions that may come up. One major stumbling block that hold many addicts back is fear of the unknown. There are many questions that come to mind instantly. Things like “what does the facility look like?” “where is it located?” and the big one “am I going to be sick?” When searching for a facility to detox a person’s body from drugs or alcohol one on the most important aspects considered by many people is the comfort. Some fear of being in a hospital setting. Unable to get out, visions of fluorescent lighting, hospital beds, doctors and bad food come to mind. This is not typical but can be a scary thought that keeps an addict complacent and unwilling to get help. Whether they will be going to a hospital or a private facility, being prepared for what’s to come can help ease anxiety and give the person seeking detox a better shot at completion and recovering. Here are some of the things to look for and keep in mind when choosing a heroin detox program.

What Happens During an Opioid Withdrawal?

Detox is short for detoxification. It’s a process in which toxins and abused substances are flushed from the body. Going to a detox facility helps a patient manage the unpleasant physical withdrawal symptoms that occur when a person stops using opiates.

These symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • hot and cold sweats
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • muscle and bone pain
  • inability to sleep
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • overwhelming obsession, mentally to use

A detox is best done in a medical setting like a hospital or private detox facility.

What Questions Should I ask When Looking for a Detox Facility?

One of the first and most important questions that should be asked is “Does this facility accept my insurance?” or “What is the cash pay price”.  After finding out you are eligible to receive services at the detox through either insurance or self-payments more detailed questions can be asked and answered. It does no good to ask a list of questions before knowing if that specific program is even an option. One of the next steps would be to check online to see if the facility has a good reputation as well as double checking accreditations and licensure is important. Do personal research and ask questions over the phone. How long have they been in business? What are the qualifications of the medical staff? These are important questions.

Medication and Medical Needs During Opiate Withdrawal

Comfort medication is a staple of most detox centers. Knowing what medications are used for the detoxification process is important. Most facilities have what they call a “detox protocol”. Typical medications used during a supervised “detox protocol” would include medications such as buprenorphine, suboxone, or methadone. Methadone is least commonly used. A detox facility should screen each individual to get a better idea of how severe the usage is and their medical history. This will help the nurses and doctors come up with a more personalized detox protocol. Other medications typically used during the detox process are Clonidine, a non-narcotic medication, Librium, Zofran (or other nausea medications), and muscle relaxers. In addition, vitamins and minerals are sometimes offered to help replenish one’s body. Ask what medications are used, every place is different. Patients should not be over medicated. This is one of many situations where the experience of the medical staff is important.  If the patient has any other health issues or allergies, make sure the facility and its medical staff can meet these needs. Ask how many employees make up the medical staff and if they are available twenty-four hours, ask if smoking is allowed.

Other Things to Look For in a Heroin Detox

Does the detox facility offer support through therapy and groups? It’s imperative to ask if there is any therapy available and whether it’s optional or not. A reason to ask if the groups are optional is that a patient, not feeling well, should not be shuffled from group to group. Rather rest and let their bodies recover for the first few days. When the body and mind start to clear though some patients do get flooded with thoughts, depression, or anxiety. There should be a support system put in place for the client, whether it be a clinician or a group. Also setting up an aftercare plan for the patient can be a key component to their success after discharge. This is where a strong clinical staff is important. Again, some detoxes offer these opportunities and others don’t. Some facilities make groups mandatory while others don’t, so always ask. Ask about gender-specific programs or if their program is mixed if that is something important to the future patient. Another overlooked amenity is often food. The food made available is important due to the body’s need for replenishment and nutrition. Ask if there are lighter options made available for smoothies or fruit that are easy on the stomach. Amenities such as the room and board, massage, acupuncture, and yoga. Diet and exercise are important to the detox process and helps rid the body of residue toxins.

Choosing a detox center isn’t always easy but once a person has figured out what options are available the hardest part is over. The goal is detoxification from opiates and that should stay at the forefront of one’s thoughts at all times. Plan for success by going through the proper steps. Ask questions to alleviate the fear of the unknown. Make sure the facility is staffed with an experienced medical and clinical team. Make sure you know what to pack (comfortable clothing, toiletries etc..) and remember that there is no such thing as a dumb question, especially when it comes to the health and wellness of yourself or someone you love.

To learn more about heroin detox and what options are available to you from Daylight Detox and Recovery Center, call us: (800) 518-5205.