Detox Alone Isn’t Enough to Treat Addiction

Fighting addiction is not a hopeless cause. Even if the process seems very challenging, or you’ve relapsed in the past, you can still come out on top and lead a healthier and happier life. Although much of the discourse around treating addiction focuses on detoxification, therapy, counselling and other steps are needed to fix the underlying social, emotional, and mental reasons for addiction.

Today we will explain detoxification and why it’s often not enough to help you fully overcome addiction.

Why Isn't a Detox Enough to Treat Addiction?

Detoxification is a process where, under medical supervision, you gradually remove a substance and other toxic elements from your body. Taking a slow and controlled approach is essential since going “cold turkey” and suddenly cutting all ties with a substance can adversely affect your health. The detox process can last days or weeks depending on the severity of the addiction, the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, and the specific treatment methods the rehabilitation centre is following. You will remove or significantly reduce your physical dependence on a substance at the end of a successful detox. However, even if physiological cravings were part of what kept you dependent, they are usually not the underlying cause of addiction, and it is these causes that need addressing when you are to get rid of the habit permanently. There are many social, emotional, and mental factors which increase the chance of relapsing, such as:

  • Issues with mental disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger issues
  • Unresolved trauma
  • Family issues
  • Social rejection
  • Loneliness

Many people turn toward addictive substances as a coping mechanism for an underlying emotional turmoil or unresolved mental issue. For example, people with depression often turn toward alcoholism as an escapism tool that helps them numb their psychological pain. Furthermore, it’s widespread for an examination for addiction to highlight a mental disorder along with addiction, such as anxiety. . For example, many undiagnosed people with ADHD self-medicate with alcohol and opiates to cope with symptoms of the condition.

It can’t be denied that some people develop purely physical addictions; an unfortunate turn of events and a few unforeseen events can lead them down that path. However, in most cases, serious addiction is associated with additional emotional and mental health issues that ought to be resolved after detoxification.

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How Do I Treat Addiction Post-Detox?

Your fight with addiction doesn’t end once you are done with detoxification. Even after detox, many people are at risk of relapse because many of the underlying causes which began and fueled their addiction remain unresolved. The inability to cope with stress, triggers by specific environments and people, unresolved trauma, and negative emotions all increase the chance of relapse. You can protect yourself from them once or twice and push through with willpower, but eventually, the distress and cravings will wear you down and turn you back to addiction. Such situations require you to gradually learn strategies to manage cravings, effectively cope with highly stressful situations, and take intentional steps to change your social and physical environment.

Success in your fight with addiction can best be achieved through meetings with a qualified addiction counsellor and the use of other therapy and community-based tools of support. The most effective treatment for addiction, especially in more severe cases and dual diagnoses, is through a programme in a private rehabilitation centre. At our medically-supported centre in Bournemouth, you will receive 24/7 supervision and medical intervention, if necessary, to manage withdrawal symptoms during your detoxification. More importantly, you will receive a personalised plan that continues your recovery journey through various types of counselling, depending on your unique needs and health condition. Individual therapy with a qualified addiction counsellor is essential to uncover the underlying reasons for your addiction and craft effective coping mechanisms.

In the beginning, the counsellor will help you open up and share your doubts, insecurities, and struggles in life to understand better what drives your addiction. They will encourage you to participate in activities planned by your personalised programme, help you build healthier habits, and keep you motivated even if you are in a slump. A private rehabilitation centre will also provide group counselling. While with individual therapy, you can learn coping mechanisms and rely on the counsellor’s expertise, in group settings, you can feel more comfortable and secure knowing that you are not alone in this turbulent journey. The progress of other people in recovery can be a significant motivation to keep going.

After detoxification and individual and group counselling, you may receive other types of counselling based on your unique needs. For example, some people are encouraged to participate in family therapy, where they come to terms with how addiction hurts close ones and reconcile over mistakes in the past. Once your visit to a private rehabilitation centre is over, you will likely receive an aftercare plan to ensure you stay on track with your goals and avoid relapse. You will probably transfer to an outpatient programme to continue visiting your counsellor. Hence, they keep you accountable and give you their expertise on how to cope with distressing situations and build healthier habits.

Either on your initiative or with your addiction counsellor’s suggestion, you can join communities that help your recovery. For example, there are many 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous where you can bond with people going through the same, seek solace and motivation, and find a one-on-one sponsor to keep you on track with your goals.

Moving on into Recovery

clients holding hands during group therapy

Detoxification removes or reduces your physical dependence and cravings and treats withdrawal symptoms from a substance, but in many cases, it doesn’t resolve the underlying cause of addiction. Private rehabilitation centres allow you to safely go through detoxification in a supervised environment and continue your journey through individual and group therapy. Your meetings with an addiction counsellor will allow you to better spot behavioural and environmental triggers, employ effective coping tactics, and make healthy lifestyle changes to reduce the chances of relapse over the long term.

Are you struggling with addiction or know of someone who is? Want to stop abusing substances but don’t know where or how to begin? You may be reading this and feeling like there’s no way out of th...
For more than 26 years, at the Providence Projects, we have made a significant contribution to helping people struggling with addiction. Our team gets countless requests for assistance every day. Ever...