Drug and alcohol detoxification, otherwise known as medically managed withdrawal, is a process in which alcohol or one or more drugs are eradicated from a body in a supervised manner to ensure that it is being done as safely as possible. Also, detox allows the body to start learning how to function effectively without those substances although do note that the entire recovery process usually lasts much longer than detox does.
In fact, detox is often just the first stage of a weeks- or months-long rehabilitation period. However, it is arguably the most important step and, in many people’s opinions, the most challenging.
In most situations, detox takes 3-7 days although this time estimate varies, depending on what substances were used, how much was taken and how long they were consumed. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe in some cases with death even being possible, particularly in an unsupervised setting, depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
Fortunately, there are a number of facilities in New Jersey that are able to safely oversee detoxes as well as provide long-term rehab.
Table of Contents
- 1 Drug and Alcohol Addiction and Treatment Statistics in New Jersey
- 2 What Is Drug and Alcohol Detox?
- 3 What to Expect During Detox
- 4 Detox Options in New Jersey
- 5 Importance of Support Systems
- 6 Transitioning From Detox to Long-Term Recovery in New Jersey
- 7 Conclusion
Drug and Alcohol Addiction and Treatment Statistics in New Jersey
According to New Jersey’s Department of Human Services, there were 87,745 substance abuse treatment admissions in 2021. Most who were included in that number had used heroin or alcohol as their primary drug, comprising 38% and 36%, respectively, of the total figures. Meanwhile, 21% had engaged in detox in a residential setting with 0.3% participating in hospital-based detox.
Of the total number of admissions, 69% were men while 31% were women. The largest 10-year range by age was 25-34 at 32%. More than half – 53% – referred themselves while 50% were treated in their county of residence.
What Is Drug and Alcohol Detox?
Drug and alcohol detox consists of the cessation of taking those substances, which may be done in a “cold turkey” manner or more gradually, depending on which method is safest and most effective in your given situation.
Detox usually consists of doing this while being medically supervised. This is often done while in an inpatient setting, but it can also be an outpatient process. Factors playing into this decision include how significant the drug or alcohol use was and if it is safe to detox while not under 24/7 supervision.
The entire rehab process involves you getting used to a life without alcohol or drugs, both physically and mentally. Ultimately, the goal is to change the neurotransmitter connections in your brain away from how alcohol or drugs had wired them.
Do keep in mind that detox in and of itself will generally not be enough to cause an individual to recover from an addiction. This is not just because of the physical and mental elements related to the alcohol or drugs, the science behind that, but, in many cases, factors related to your mental health or the social aspects of your life that you need to change as well as the ones that you should try to hold on to.
What to Expect During Detox
The first step of the detox experience is usually the taking of a medical exam, which will be done partially to determine the alcohol and drug use that has taken place in order to create a detox and overall rehab plan for recovering from it. The exam will also determine what other factors may be playing roles in this, such as any unrelated underlying medical issues that may cause alterations in the detox and rehab plan for safety- and efficiency-related reasons.
Side effects, which will depend significantly on what substance or substances are no longer being used, can include a runny nose, fever, nausea, dizziness, headaches, sweating, anxiety, depression, confusion, disorientation, anger, panic, seizures, shaking, muscle tension and craving for what the body is no longer receiving or is receiving in substantially smaller amounts if it has been judged that tapering is the safest and most effective way to wean you off of what you have been taking.
In essence, during a detox, your body is very strongly telling you that you must have the alcohol or drugs that you had been consuming in order to be well, something that your brain needs to be untaught.
One of the main intentions behind a detox program is to eradicate and lessen these side effects as much as may be possible. Staff members will also know how to help you get through the unpleasant aspects of detox that remain uncomfortable, in some cases extremely so.
You may be prescribed medications to assist in your detox experience. The intent of that is to make yours as effective of one as possible. General nutritional and rest-related needs will also be assessed and acted upon.
The length of a detox experience varies considerably. Although it does last 3-7 days in most cases, it can take much longer than that. Also note that withdrawal symptoms related to opiates, benzodiazepines, alcohol and cocaine can last a month or even longer in some cases, which may lengthen your time in detox beyond a week.
During detox, particularly towards the end of the process, you will experience a transitioning to further treatment, to the non-detox portion of your rehab experience.
Types of Detox
Medical detox involves the use of medication, such as methadone or suboxone, which are sometimes prescribed to those who are withdrawing from opioids.
Social detox does not focus on the medical aspect of this stage of the recovery process. In other words, medication will not be prescribed. Its focus is more so on the social aspect, on ensuring that those recovering have access to interpersonal support. With that said, medical supervision is usually available.
Holistic detox focuses on improving your overall health while your body is being purged of the substances that you had been taking and want to stop consuming. For example, regular exercise, nutrition counseling, meditation and acupuncture may be elements of this treatment method.
Should You Detox at Home?
Generally, no, you should not detox at home.
The most significant reason why you should not detox at home is because it can be quite dangerous. One of the most commonly stated examples of this danger is related to detoxing from alcohol. Doing so can cause delirium tremens, which may result in a heart attack or stroke and possibly death. Another factor to note is that most struggle much more so with not relapsing when attempting to do this on their own.
Detoxing at home can be safe in some situations, but it is essential to get a professional opinion before attempting to do so since this is usually not the case.
Detox Options in New Jersey
According to the 2020 numbers of the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, there are 68 facilities that are in the Garden State that offer detox, 20 of those in a residential setting, 11 in a hospital and 37 on an outpatient basis. Here are a couple of those options:
- Sunrise House Treatment Center – Lafayette Township – (662) 305-1499
- Discovery Institute – Marlboro – (844) 478-6563
Note that although many of them are located in the more densely populated areas of New Jersey, they are spread throughout the state.
It is important to fully research places that you are considering for detox. You want to ensure that the one that you select offers treatment methods that you are comfortable with and that provides you with a place where you will feel safe and taken care of.
Of course, you also want to consider the financial aspect of this process. This not only involves how much care will cost, but it also consists of the impact of any health insurance that you may possess as well as any financial aid that may be offered. Also note that receiving treatment without insurance or cost to you is possible although you may have to wait a while for one of those spots to open.
If you are not sure where to start, call IME Addictions Access Center, which may be reached at (844) 276-2777. It is a service that is operated by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care that offers screenings and referrals on a 24/7 basis.
Importance of Support Systems
The importance of support systems for those battling addiction in New Jersey cannot be understated. As much as this is ultimately your battle, it helps to have others in your corner with you, such as family members, friends and perhaps those who you meet at meetings that have been scheduled by organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
Having others supporting you during your detox and throughout your rehab and recovery experience will help you feel like you have something stable to hang on to while you push through one of the most challenging times in your life.
This applies to people who have not experienced an addiction to drugs or alcohol as well as those who have, such as individuals who may be going through detox with you. One significant benefit of being around those in the latter group is that they understand intimately the experience and challenges that you are going through. That shared experience can help everyone who is involved progress.
Transitioning From Detox to Long-Term Recovery in New Jersey
What will comprise the next step, the one that follows detox, will depend on a number of factors. Perhaps your detox experience was in an inpatient setting, and you will be continuing your rehab on an outpatient basis, meaning that you are moving back home now. Or maybe you are remaining in the facility for the next several weeks or even months. In any case, this adjustment will be significant as well.
Regardless, it is important to keep in mind that you will most likely continue to experience cravings, which may result from various triggers. Essentially anything that your brain has connected with the drug or alcohol that you had been consuming has the potential to be a trigger and to cause those cravings to rise back up. One of the most important things to do as you make this transition is to learn how to respond to these types of situations.
If you were prescribed a medication to help you experience your detox as efficiently as possible, you will most likely continue to receive that during your long-term recovery, at least at the start of it.
Behavioral therapy may also be an element of your long-term recovery. This can help you learn how to limit triggers as well as how to respond to them in an effective manner when they do occur. Treatment for other issues, such as PTSD, depression or anxiety, may be a part of this process as well.
Simply put, a long-term recovery plan will be developed that takes into account your specific experiences, related partially to your entire life prior to this point, the alcohol- or drug-related aspect of that and what happened during your detox.
It may feel intimidating to think of going through detox, but trust that this necessary step for getting to the other side will be worth it in the end despite it generally being quite a challenging process to go through. And focus on taking things one day at a time, one moment at a time. First, contact rehab centers or IME Addictions Access Center and find out more about the process and about what these places have to offer, and go from there.