More and more Americans need alcohol drug detox. A new study found that 25% of Americans under the age of 30 are alcoholic. While alcohol drug detox is the first step to getting sober, many other treatment plans can also make a difference. Most alcohol abusers find that they’re most successful when combining different treatments and therapy sessions. Complex alcohol and drug treatment plans speed up recovery.
Out of all the options available, Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings and the 12 step program come highly recommended by recovering addicts and alcoholics. These groups offer the support that many alcoholics need to stay on the right path. The meetings connect people together, and also provide some useful resources.
A common misconception that many people have is that these meetings are part of an aftercare program for addiction. Many people wonder whether they can go to meetings while in detox. The answer is yes. In fact, it’s highly recommended.
What Is Alcohol Drug Detox?
Alcohol drug detox can be part of either an inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment plan. The detoxification process involves ridding and cleansing the body of all toxins. The medications used in medical detox will ease cravings and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. They work by attaching to receptors in the brain. This prevents the brain from becoming hyperactive and over-stimulated.
The alcohol detox process usually takes about a week. After a week, the physical withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside. Patients are then asked to focus on other parts of recovery. That might include and involve therapy or counseling.
The medications used in medically supervised alcohol detox are prescribed as early as 8 hours after your last drink. That is when the withdrawal symptoms will usually begin to kick in. Doctors and nurses will check each patient’s vitals to confirm that they are in good shape. After all, alcohol detox can be deadly.
The medications may continue long after the withdrawal symptoms have stopped. In these situations, the detox process eases psychological withdrawal symptoms, like depression and anxiety. It’s not unusual for fluctuations of chemicals in the brain to cause mood swings. These changes may result in co-occurring disorders or a dual diagnosis. This is when an alcohol use disorder and a mental health disorder occurs at the same time.
Some of the most common medications used in alcohol detox include disulfiram, acamprosate and naloxone. Each one of these medications has its own purpose and administration method. They help alcohol users fight alcohol addiction and dependence.
Difference Between Inpatient Detox vs. Outpatient Detox
Alcohol detox is available for both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. There’s a distinct difference between the two types of detox programs. Depending on which type of alcohol and drug detox you choose, different medications may be more suitable than others.
Inpatient detox involves staying and living at the alcohol rehab center for a prolonged period of time. Usually, most treatment lengths vary from 28 to 90 days. Patients will receive an intense treatment of medications to help ease any suffering. This type of treatment is highly recommended for first-timers. It’s also ideal for treating severe addictions. The substance abusers are constantly being checked up on and watched.
Since patients receive around-the-clock supervision, the most common medications include disulfiram and acamprosate. Each medication works differently.
Patients will need to take these medications several times a day. Doctors and nurses can monitor patients to make sure that they’re on the right track. The medication dosage can be adjusted and altered to avoid unwanted side effects.
Outpatient detox is much more freeing. Patients only need to travel to medical detox centers several times a week. There, they get their prescriptions refilled and take part in counseling or therapy sessions. One-on-one counseling and family counseling are both excellent options.
Due to the lack of supervision with outpatient detox programs, the most recommended medication is naloxone. Naloxone is injected intramuscularly into the buttocks once a month. Each injection contains the same dose, and the treatment doesn’t need to be adjusted to each patient’s biological makeup, age, weight, etc.
Pills may not be as appropriate as they may need more adjustments. Naloxone offers the same type of results as the other medications. It’s just as effective.
Outpatient detox programs are more appropriate for alcohol abusers who have a mild addiction or have previous experience in addiction treatment.
What Are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Meetings?
One of the best support groups of all time is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This type of support group is essentially the 12 step program. These support groups believe that there is a higher power that will support you through these dark times. There are other variations of this type of support group. They include Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Overeaters Anonymous (OA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), among many others.
The root of this treatment program dates back to the 1930s. It was first started by two alcoholics who were looking to get sober. They found that support groups can help many people remain abstinent.
Many different topics are discussed at these meetings. The meetings are usually open to the public, so anyone can join. The different meeting types include:
- Speaker meetings- members can share their experiences with drug or alcohol abuse. They can discuss how they overcame various struggles with getting sober and staying sober. Some members may even talk about the types of substance abuse treatment they sought for drug or alcohol dependence.
- Discussion meetings. These meetings focus on specific topics related to alcohol abuse. For example, these meetings may discuss the best rapid detox treatments available, or how to open up about your alcoholism to loved ones.
- Step meetings. These meetings are for the 12 step program, and are reserved for discussing how to progress through each step.
Most meetings will only take an hour or two. Alcoholics are encouraged to attend the same meeting every week. It’s good to build rapport with the same group members. It’s easier to open up to familiar faces. Members encourage a weekly meeting where you start doing service, called a home group. This home group will keep you accountable in your sobriety.
AA is highly recommended for many reasons. If you’re wondering whether you should attend AA meetings or not, consider the following benefits:
- You can gain additional knowledge about addiction from the personal experiences of others.
- AA meetings are free and international. You can get support even when you’re traveling to another city, state or town.
- AA meetings are highly structured. This ensures that you dedicate a certain amount of time to the psychological aspect of alcohol addiction.
- AA prevents relapses. Some studies show that AA has a success rate of up to 75%.
Many alcohol abusers find it soothing to talk about their experiences. They may also find it easier to share their struggles with people in similar situations. Having some shoulders to lean on may be all that’s needed to prevent a relapse on a bad day.
If you’re on the fence, just remember that there’s nothing to lose. You can always attend one meeting and never go again, if it’s not right for you. Many experts recommend trying several different meetings to find a good fit. It is also highly recommended to find a sponsor that will guide you through the 12 steps of recovery at an AA meeting.
How To Attend AA Meetings While In Alcohol Drug Detox
If you’re in alcohol detox or drug detox, now is a good time to start joining meetings. You don’t have to finish the detox programs before getting help. You can start to bond with other people in similar situations, and start working towards recovery. If you’ve decided to go to any of these meetings, just make sure you go with an open mind. You don’t need to bring anything else.
Meetings For Inpatient Detox
If you’re in an inpatient program, you’re likely staying at a recovery center. In these situations, look for treatment facilities that host support groups and meetings at the treatment center. Some of these meetings may be geared towards patients who are still undergoing detox treatment. Patients can discuss how they’re feeling while they attempt to get past the alcohol withdrawal symptoms. They can talk about the motivations that led them to seek alcohol treatment in the first place.
Support Groups For Outpatient Detox
If you’re in an outpatient program, then you’ll have a lot more options. You can simply search for support meeting times and locations in your area. There should be plenty of resources available. Look for meetings that are open and that welcome new members.
Keep in mind that members will be at different parts of recovery. Some members may have just started, while others may already be clean for years. There are also many other features to look for. Some support groups may be faith-based, while others may be for women only.
Find Detox Programs With AA Meetings
While there are many features you should consider looking for in an alcohol or drug treatment center, the type of support programs that are available should be high on your list. Dealing with an addiction alone can be difficult. Most recovering addicts would agree that the best course of action is to find a support group and a sponsor. It’s nice to be able to relate to others who are in the same position. It’ll make you feel less alone.
Many detox centers offer their members some type of support group. Some host 12 step programs in the facility, while others will connect like-minded individuals together. Now is a good time to ask for help from others who have been in your shoes. They’ll know exactly how to react and can give you advice based on their own personal experience. They can also recommend various addiction treatment approaches that have worked for them.
Here, at Amethyst Recovery, we host many support groups in our commons areas. There are also meetings every Friday night, where an AA or NA speaker comes and shares their story. Our clients can ask the speakers questions freely and are encouraged to share. We also encourage our patients to support one another during these difficult times. If you think you might be interested in our facility, don’t hesitate to contact us or even take a virtual tour. We’re always available to help!