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What Happens When You Leave Detox Treatment Centers

Detox treatment remains an essential first step towards living a drug-free life. Time spent in detox enables a person to break the physical hold of drugs on the body. In the process, the mind and body have time to heal and repair some of the damage left behind by drug use. Unfortunately, the effects of addiction go well beyond physical dependency. In this regard, detox treatment centers can only help but so much when trying to break an addiction problem. What most characterizes addiction has to do with the psychological dependency that forms along the way, leaving addicts feeling lost without the effects of the drug to fall back on in daily life.

In effect, what happens when you leave a detox treatment center will determine your likelihood of maintaining abstinence for any length of time. While everyone enters the recovery process with their own individual needs, working through the addiction mindset is essential to staying drug-free.

Detox treatment centers can be of great help in pointing you in the right direction and ensuring the needed supports remain in place. In this way, someone leaving a detox treatment center has the best chance at a successful recovery.

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Addiction’s Effects

Addictive drugs interact with the chemical processes in the brain. Brain chemicals, also known as neurotransmitters, allow the various areas of the brain to communicate with one another. These chemicals also enable the brain to communicate with the body.

Over time, drugs work to reconfigure the brain’s chemical pathways and ultimately “rewire” how the brain works. This rewiring not only alters brain function, but also alters a person’s thinking and emotional patterns and creates the addiction mindset that drives the addiction cycle. These changes account for why it’s so easy for those in recovery to relapse after months or even years of continued abstinence.

Because of the way drugs attack the brain on a physical level, detox treatment centers take a medical approach to helping addicts break the body’s physical dependency on drugs, according to Staten Island University Hospital. While breaking this dependency is a crucial part of recovery, someone leaving a detox treatment center must also work through the mental or psychological component that lies at the heart of addiction.

The First 30 Days

Detox Treatment Centers

After detox, it’s time to begin a new, drug-free life.

The first 30 days after leaving a detox treatment center can be difficult, as the brain re-learns how to regulate the body’s processes without the effects of drugs. Since the brain has yet to reestablish any sense of chemical equilibrium, a person’s thinking and emotions will likely remain out of sorts until chemical levels start to even out.

Most all detox treatment centers try to prepare those in recovery for the changes they’ll experience once they complete detox treatment. These physical changes will also be met with a desire to fall back into the old habits and routines that characterize the addiction lifestyle. Once you realize you can’t live that life anymore, a very real sense of confusion and grief may take hold.

Feelings to watch out for during this time include –

  • A sense of loss over having lost old friends who still use
  • Feeling emotionally flat with no foreseeable means for enjoying life
  • Feeling punished
  • Feeling lost
  • Having nothing to look forward to
  • Depression
  • Anxiety episodes
  • Feeling stressed and overwhelmed
  • Muddled thinking

For these reasons, detox treatment centers draw up aftercare plans based on a person’s ongoing treatment needs. These plans provide you with a roadmap for navigating the challenges and obstacles that so often come up in recovery.

Undoing Addiction’s Aftereffects

Even after the first 30 days have come and gone, addiction’s aftereffects can still have a considerable influence over a person’s thinking processes. During the course of an addiction, the effects of drugs alter the brain’s reward system, the area that regulates a person’s priorities, motivations and sense of purpose.

These changes inevitably affect where you invest your time, effort and attention. While addicted, everything began and ended with getting “high.” After completing a detox treatment center, the aftereffects of these changes can linger for a long time.

More oftentimes than not, a detox treatment center will include individual psychotherapy and group therapy as a part of a person’s ongoing aftercare plan. These forms treatment enable those in recovery to confront faulty thinking patterns and belief systems and replace them with a healthy mindset.

Lifestyle Considerations

A lifestyle encompasses people, places and activities. As with any type of lifestyle, addiction comes with its own sets of friends, hangouts and doings.

Once a person leaves a detox treatment center, the life he or she left behind before entering treatment remains the most familiar. Unless you make a concerted effort to replace the addiction-based lifestyle, the potential for an unexpected relapse runs considerably high, according to the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services.

More oftentimes than not, detox treatment center programs address the importance of developing new interests and activities as part of the recovery process. In effect, a person’s lifestyle choices become the determining factors in term of whether ongoing abstinence will be possible.

The Need for Support

While detox treatment centers function mainly to help addicts overcome the physical withdrawal effects that develop, these programs nonetheless emphasize the importance of having social supports in place throughout every stage of recovery. For this reason, most detox treatment center programs require patients to participate in 12 Step support groups on a daily basis.

Even after a person leaves a detox treatment center, ongoing participation in 12 Step groups is highly recommended. These groups help a person stay engaged in the recovery process, which can mean all the difference during times when the urge to use becomes overwhelming.

Twelve Step support groups operate in much the same way as the group therapy model, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In essence, group therapy provides a setting where recovering addicts work through destructive thinking patterns and behaviors and in the process, learn to deal with conflict in a constructive manner. The 12 Step model also incorporates a personal development approach in terms of having members work through stages of recovery.

Ultimately, a person’s social circle can greatly influence his or her outlook on life. This becomes especially true once you leave a detox treatment center program.

To find treatment centers near you, search our directory or call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) to speak with a treatment specialist. 

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