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How to Prepare for Drug Detox

How Do You Prepare for Drug Detox?

The decision to go to drug detox is not one that people make lightly. By the time that you’ve decided to go to detox, you might have tried unsuccessfully to stop using drugs or alcohol on your own. Or, you might’ve been the subject of an intervention held by your family and friends. No matter how you’ve arrived at this decision, you have already made the first step toward getting sober.

Choosing to go to drug detox puts you in contact with the support you need to make it through the first days and weeks of your recovery. To find success in sobriety, it’s first necessary to give your body time to wean itself off the chemicals it has become accustomed to using. While this process isn’t always easy, being surrounded by professionals who know how to support your physical and mental well-being helps you stay on track.

Now, all you have to do is begin preparing for a life-changing stay at a safe and effective drug detox facility. Taking these steps will help you start your recovery journey with everything you need in place to be successful.

Find an Effective Drug Detox Program

Drug detox programs can vary significantly regarding the types of programs they offer and the level of support they provide. Ideally, the drug detox program that you choose should be capable of supporting you through the entire withdrawal process. Since the time it takes for drugs and alcohol to clear your body can vary from a few days to a couple of weeks, you’ll want to make sure the facility you choose is one you’ll feel comfortable staying at while you recover.

Effective drug detox programs also follow a few best practices for withdrawal support. For instance, you should expect to have a professional available around the clock to help you with your symptoms. While you might share a room with other clients, you should find that the recovery environment is calm and conducive to helping you relax. 

Although you might be encouraged to exercise, meditate, and participate in counseling sessions, you should never be forced to do these things. Instead, the focus should be on staying comfortable by using healthy coping techniques. Once your initial withdrawal symptoms like headache, anxiety, and insomnia,  begin to ease, you’ll gradually feel like participating in the program more each day.

Initiate the Admissions Process

Once you’ve found the right detox program, it’s important to let them know that you’re interested in coming to the facility. The admissions process at White Light Behavioral Health is simple, and you can begin setting up your stay by making a quick phone call or filling out an online form with some details about yourself and your insurance plan. 

To start the process, be prepared with the following information:

  • Health insurance information
  • Details about your addiction history
  • Pertinent health info
  • Information about any prior mental health treatments

If you lack any of the above types of information, then don’t delay starting the admissions process. Most of the details can be worked out later. The most important thing is to reach out for help while you know that you are ready to begin your recovery.

Make Travel and Transportation Arrangements

The majority of people will need to travel at least a short distance to their detox facility. If you live within a couple of hours of the facility, then you might be able to catch a ride with a loved one or use public transportation. People who live out-of-state may need to arrange for a flight along with transportation services to get from the airport to the facility. If planning a travel itinerary feels overwhelming, then let the admissions team know. The support staff at a detox facility can often help you make arrangements to get to treatment safely.

Set Realistic Expectations

After dealing with the strain that comes with having a substance use disorder, going to detox might feel like a big vacation. Naturally, you should feel relaxed and comfortable, but you will need to prepare to do some work. The withdrawal process includes physical and emotional symptoms that can begin within the first 12 to 24 hours that require some effort to cope with. 

The most important thing to remember is to trust the process and be willing to share your experience with your support staff. Your detox team can offer you methods for coping with your symptoms that may include medication, relaxation strategies and distractions. Remembering that detox is only a temporary state on your journey to recovery can help you maintain the mental strength you need to keep going.

Establish an Outside Support Network

Entering a detox program puts you into immediate contact with support staff on the inside of the facility. But, you might need some additional support from people on the outside. Your stay in a detox facility is always confidential, but you might choose to let your family and close friends know about your plans. Doing so makes it possible for them to support you.

For instance, you might prefer knowing that you can call a loved one for emotional support if you start to miss everyone. Or, you may need someone to bring you something to the facility that helps your stay. Either way, make sure that the people you invite into your recovery journey are sober, positive-minded, and eager to see you succeed.

Begin Making Plans for Follow-Up Care

Most people need continuing care after they complete detox. Out of all of the people who deal with an addiction, approximately 9.2 million adults who are living in the United States have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Co-occurring mental health disorders include the following:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • ADHD

As part of your initial detox treatment, you may undergo psychological assessments that help the team know how to guide you through the next stages of your recovery. If you receive a new diagnosis of a mental health disorder, then don’t worry. Your next phase of treatment will involve helping you learn how to manage your symptoms without drugs or alcohol. 

Follow-up care includes specialized forms of therapy that help address your specific mental health needs. Depending upon your needs, you may stay in a residential program or attend intensive outpatient care. The types of therapy that you may receive may range from traditional 12-step programs to research-based cognitive behavioral therapy. Some people may need several different forms. For example, family therapy can help you renew your relationships while you also attend dialectical behavioral therapy sessions on an individual basis.

Making sure to follow the recommended follow-up care plan helps you avoid having a relapse that interferes with your recovery. 

Recruit Help With Managing Your Responsibilities

With the general details of your stay planned and your positive attitude set in place, you’re now ready to begin focusing on managing your household while you are away. The steps you need to get this part of your life ready for detox are similar to what you need to do for an extended vacation.

First, you’ll want to make arrangements for child or pet care. Usually, family members or close friends can help you care for your children, and you might need to reach out to a neighbor or boarding facility for pet care needs. If you provide care to a senior loved one, then you might also need to make arrangements for someone to step in while you are away.

Second, you’ll want to notify your work or school about your decision to take time off to care for your health. Although there isn’t any shame in going to detox, it is up to you how much you reveal about your reasons for taking time off. Depending upon your work status, you might be eligible for family and medical leave and other benefits that make it easier to take time off from work without facing any repercussions.

Finally, you’ll want to manage any bills or financial concerns. Some people choose to prepay or automate monthly expenses such as their auto insurance bill or rent. If necessary, you can handle these things from detox, but it’s always nice to check things off your list of concerns as much as possible.

Plan for What to Bring for Your Stay

White Light Behavioral Health offers all of the things you need to stay safe, healthy and comfortable during your visit. But, you will want to bring a few personal items. Our facility provides you with a bed along with clean bedding and bathing facilities. While you’ll have sheets and a comforter, you’ll want some cozy pajamas to sleep in at night.

When you go through the admissions process, you’ll receive information regarding which items to bring and what to leave at home. You can also use this list to help you get started on packing:

  • Contact information for family and friends
  • About a week’s worth of daily wear and pajamas
  • Shoes, which might include sneakers and slippers
  • A small amount of cash for necessities or snacks
  • A list of all prescription medications you take
  • Prescription medications in their original bottle with label
  • Eyeglasses, contacts, and other personal essentials
  • Toiletries, such as your favorite shampoo and deodorant
  • Journal, pictures of loved ones and other comfort items

The general idea of packing for detox is to be as light as possible while making sure that you have what you need to feel comfortable. While you might need your eyeglasses, you may not need your laptop if it will be a distraction.

Upon your arrival at detox, it is common for your luggage to be checked. If there’s a question about the safety of an item, then you’ll be offered options for keeping it safe until you are ready to go home. Arranging for someone to pick it up might be a possibility, or you may choose to store it until you complete the program. Either way, you can rest assured that your belongings will always be kept safe. 

You can also reach out to your detox support team at any time to ask questions as you pack if you aren’t sure about a specific item. Feeling confident about your decisions as you pack helps promote a positive mindset that gets you excited about your recovery.

Start Looking Forward to Life in Sobriety

Right now, it might be hard to look beyond the current moment. Or, you might fear getting too excited about being sober if you’ve faced challenges in the past. Wherever you are emotionally, you can trust that you are about to be surrounded by support. From the very first moment that you reach out to our detox program, you’ll be talking to people who understand what it means to want to end an addiction. 

As you begin preparing for drug detox, remember to lean on your new support network. Whether you have a question about what to pack for your stay or need some encouragement, all you have to do is say the word. Your new detox support team is ready to help you finally enjoy the benefits of living a life in sobriety. Stronger relationships, better mental health and new opportunities all await you deciding to go to detox.

Ryan Wakim MD
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Dr. Wakim is a board-certified psychiatrist with a passion for and expertise in addiction, mood disorders, trauma-related disorders and the subspecialty of interventional psychiatry. He obtained his medical degree from West Virginia University where he also completed his residency training, finishing as chief resident. Dr. Wakim co-founded and served as the CEO of Transformations leading to a successful merger with Shore Capital in May 2021. He is purpose driven towards improving the standard of and removing stigma related to behavioral healthcare. Dr. Wakim enjoys golf, traveling and time spent with his two dogs, Lulu and Rayna.

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If you or a loved one is grappling with addiction, don’t face it alone. White Light Behavioral Health is here to guide you on the path to recovery. With a compassionate team and a proven approach, we’re dedicated to helping you reclaim your life. Reach out to White Light Behavioral Health today and take the first step towards a brighter, addiction-free future. Your journey to healing begins with a single call. Please reach out to us today at (844) 297-3995 to book your appointment! And start your healing journey at our convenient facility.

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