Of the nearly 22 Million Americans who suffer from substance use disorder, only a fraction of them will seek the proper treatment at a certified facility this year. Though the numbers are submitted anonymously and kept out of public eye, the rough estimate of people who sought treatment in the year of 2017 numbered close to 4 million. While it is true that the strides made by the drug and alcohol treatment industry have flourished in the last year, most families who approach the thought of sending a loved one to treatment often times are either (a) skeptical of even sending them away or (b) not sure of what to expect.

That is why it is important to know what to expect when sending your loved one to treatment, and the first part of that has to do with the question of whether or not they need detox. Detoxification services serve a vital role in the success of a client because they allow them to comfortably begin their treatment by comfortably and safely guiding them through the physical and mental withdrawals that come after cessation of substance abuse.

In fact, substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines are deadly to detox from, and if not monitored properly, can prove to be fatal from the detox. Most detox services can range from 3 to 8 days, with common substances such as opiates like heroin usually taking around 7 days to fully medically detox from.

Once the detox services have been completed, the next question for you and your loved one has to be centered around referral sources which lead to inpatient treatment services. Studies have dictated that while treatment is not an end all cure all, effective long-term recovery is often times not obtain from a simple detox. During a 30 – 45-day duration in inpatient treatment, the client has the ability to explore several different aspects of substance abuse, all aligned with a whole array of knowledge that ranges from harm reduction to abstinence-based recovery. It is here where the client will have the opportunity to explore different resources within their own community that allow for long-term success, such as support groups and after-care options like outpatient programs and sober living.

Above all else, the most important thing to remember when sending a loved one to treatment is that you are allowing them the opportunity to gain a new perspective and allowing them the opportunity to have them educate themselves on substance abuse. This, in turn, allows them to make the decision for themselves; do they want to make a change or not?


-J. Dalton Williams