The first step towards overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol is detoxification (detox). This is a critical step when trying to overcome addiction and must be completed before the client can move onto any sort of long term addiction treatment program. Many times the detoxification process requires medical intervention. Medications and even holistic interventions can help the detox process move along smoothly. A well trained and empathetic staff, along with properly managed medications help to make sure that all steps are taken to keep clients safe and comfortable. The human body is very thorough at cleansing itself of impurities and returning itself to a healthy state. The speed at which the human body can do this when left to its own devices is truly amazing. During the actual physical detox process, the body will efficiently cleanse itself of the toxins that have built up from continuous substance abuse. This process will allow the body to find its equilibrium without the chemicals it was used to receiving daily. Time can truly heal all when it comes to the human body and the detoxification process. A body affected by chronic substance abuse will need time to fully return to homeostasis. Once the body has returned to functioning properly without drugs or alcohol in the system, the client’s physical well-being will be in a much better place to proceed in recovery. It is important that the physical aspects of recovery take place so that the client is fully prepared to work on their emotional recovery and the deep rooted issues of why they use.

The purpose of a medically-managed detox program is to cleanse the body of the toxins accumulated from continuous alcohol and drug abuse. The goal of adding medication into the mix is to comfortably manage the unpleasant and sometimes painful withdrawal symptoms. There are also more natural methods in the form of holistic medicine that can be used to aide during the detox process. Both types of interventions will keep the patient comfortable during the unpleasant withdrawal process. Medications and holistic methods can help to take away the painful and just plain miserable withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes a client will request medication strictly for comfort measures and it is left up to them to make the choice. There are other times where a client in struggling with addiction to a certain substance where medical withdrawal is a necessity and not a choice. There are a few substances that require a medically assisted Detox for safety reasons. If a client went through withdrawal from one of these substances without the assistance of medication they could suffer deadly consequences such as a heart attack, seizure, or stroke. There are a lot of times that clients do want to get clean, but are afraid to go through withdrawal. The fear of the discomforts they will experience during detox keeps them from attempting to get sober at all. Medically assisting their detox will alleviate the fear that is keeping them from getting the help they need, and truly deserve.

The detoxification process contains three steps; evaluation, stabilization and guidance (entering addiction treatment). Each one of these steps brings the client closer to recovery.

Evaluation – Each patient must first be evaluated. This will happen upon admittance into the facility, and will be performed by a trained staff member. The initial evaluation includes being drug tested to see which specific substances, and the amounts, are currently in their bloodstream. This will give the staff a better indication of what they are working with. They will be able to advise if a medically assisted detoxification is necessary or not. This is also the point at which a staff member will assess the underlying factors that influenced the addiction, including possible dual-diagnosis and co-occurring disorders. It is important for staff to get a brief, but thorough understand of the patient as a whole person during this process.


Stabilization – Second, each patient must be stabilized so they are comfortable and they are safely able to proceed through the detox process. In this stage, the patient is literally guided through the process of detoxification. This part may be completed with or without medical intervention and the option to have a medically assisted detox comes into play. Some substances demand medication to help the patient combat the dangerous and sometimes deadly withdrawal symptoms. Other times medication is a comfort measure. Comfort medications and round-the-clock surveillance are given to patients that need it. Safety is the number one priority. Patients are also given the options of resting or participating in relaxed groups and activities.


Guidance – Once the patient is stabilized, staff members will help to mentally and physically (if needed) guide the patient into a treatment program. It could be a residential treatment program, with varying durations of 30-90 days. It could also be an out-patient or intensive out-patient program that varies in length of time as well. It will all depend on what the patient’s individual needs are, and what their lifestyle can maintain. This is the final phase of the detoxification process, but the beginning of their addiction treatment journey. Guidance is where the addict will explore the underlying factors that influenced their addiction. This is a crucial step, and must be taken by an individual to successfully complete an addiction treatment program. If the underlying factors or past traumatic events are not dealt with and addressed, the urge to use drugs to cover the pain will surface time and time again. It is imperative that the client’s reason to use is resolved and replaced with healthy coping behaviors.

If you or your loved one has a pet and needs to enter a detoxification program there is no reason that addiction treatment needs to be delayed or an attempt be made to detox on your own because there are no arrangements for your animal. At California Pet Friendly Drug Rehab we work with a number of residential treatment centers that provide industry leading detoxification services and permit clients to bring their trusted companion along with them. We understand that in the early stages of treatment, especially through detox, anxiety levels can be extremely high. It is imperative that clients feel as comfortable and secure as possible during this crucial first step. We believe by allowing clients to have their companion animal with them it reduces stress levels, improves relaxation and helps to alleviate feelings of depression.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself” –Josh Billings

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