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Is Detox Enough?

When someone is recovering from an addiction, the most successful treatment will not only help him or her to eradicate toxic substances from his or her body, but it will also pinpoint and treat the issues that caused the addition. When you view the situation this way, it’s easy to see why detox alone can never be enough. If you never get to the root cause of the addiction, a relapse is virtually inevitable. Nobody wants to go through all the stress of withdrawal only to succumb to a relapse later. This is why it’s vital for anyone in rehab and his or her family to realize the deeper level of care that is required to treat any substance abuse disorder.

Understanding Detox

If someone uses drugs or alcohol for an extended period, the brain’s delicate chemical balance can be affected. When he or she then goes through a detox, that balance becomes disturbed. The chemicals that the brain has relied on for so long are withheld, and this leads to withdrawal symptoms.

These symptoms include:

  • Strong cravings
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Appetite fluctuations

When it comes to dealing with the process of detox, it is better if it is done under medical supervision. Doctors can help in the management of the discomfort that the symptoms produce while offering emotional support to help deal with the anxiety and depression that are so common at this time.

Which Factors Drive Addiction?

Although some rehab treatment programs focus solely on detox, it is better and more productive to think of detox as only an initial step toward a full recovery. The journey to full rehabilitation is a long and complex one since those who are struggling to overcome addiction are not only fighting the substance abuse disorder itself, they are often also combating mental health problems. This is termed a dual diagnosis?

Dual diagnoses are not uncommon, but if they remain untreated, they will almost always make the process of recovery more complicated. If someone has developed a problem with drinking or drugs because of self-medicating to handle mental health issues, it could escalate into an addiction that is hard to overcome since the individual has no other way to control the symptoms of his or her mental health issues. The result is an ongoing cycle ? addiction followed by detox and then a relapse because the underlying issues have not been addressed.

Why Treat Psychological Issues?

In a great many instances, those who use harmful substances do so in an attempt to help cope with mental health problems. If someone goes through detox without treating the underlying disorders, the chances are high that he or she will return to abusing substances shortly after returning to his or her normal life when leaving rehab. There are many benefits to treating the psychological issues that lie behind an individual’s addiction, and anyone who commits to long-term rehab and changes in lifestyle will be much more likely to steer clear of a relapse.

Overcoming Addiction Forever

Going through a medical detox will remove the body’s physical dependence on alcohol or drugs. However, in most cases, it has absolutely no effect on the mind. If the mind is constantly craving the substance that was abused, the temptation to return to drugs or alcohol will eventually become too strong to resist. The mind must be healed just as much as the body. Therefore, a good quality recovery program is essential to find the psychological independence free from substances that allow for mental, spiritual, and emotional healing.

Facilities that only offer detox as a form of treatment are unable to offer sufficient support for addicted individuals to overcome the issues that have led to their addictive behaviors in the first place. Patients who only go through detox and receive no further treatment to pinpoint the deeper issues and address them are setting themselves up for failure and to fall back into a cycle of co-occurring problems.

Putting in The Effort

Although some treatment programs still take a 30-day approach, evidence(1) has shown that this is nowhere near enough time to address the deep-seated issues that have resulted from addiction. When you think about it, addiction does not occur overnight. Therefore, putting the same amount of time and energy into your recovery as you put into getting addicted in the first place will be necessary. It is very unrealistic to expect a complete recovery to happen after just a few days of detox without finding new ways of coping with problems that don’t involve using harmful substances. People who have those expectations are even more at risk of a relapse since they are sure to be disappointed by the emotions that they experience when they return to their normal lives following rehab.

SOBA’s Treatment Program

SOBA College Recovery Addiction Treatment Recovery Center takes an innovative approach to treatment, helping young people to explore the issues that lie behind their addictions to drugs or alcohol. By taking the necessary time to pinpoint the emotional or mental issues that have resulted from the addiction, and then working through those issues, it is possible to then focus on ways to cope with those issues and find healthier approaches for handling them than using substances. Treating those mental and emotional issues alongside the addiction itself is the best way to promote the right environment for long-term recovery and will equip young people with all the tools and skills that they need to face the challenges that everyday life will present once they leave rehab.

SOBA’s skilled therapists and doctors know the best approaches to take to help young people through the challenging process of detox and the other elements of recovery that go with it. By taking a multi-pronged and individualized approach that has been tailored and customized to meet each person’s unique needs, SOBA’s rehab programs give everyone the best possible chance of living a long and positive substance-free life with a minimal fear of a relapse.


  1. Simpson, D & Joe, George & W. Fletcher, Bennett & L. Hubbard, Robert & Douglas Anglin, M. (1999). A National Evaluation of Treatment Outcomes for Cocaine Dependence. Archives of general psychiatry. 56. 507-14. 10.1001/archpsyc.56.6.507.

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